Better clubbing than be a club member

Some hollowed circles in London, such as Seth Alexander Thevoz, author of Behind Closed Doors: The Secret Life of London Private Members’ Clubs, seem to be moping about the incoming British PM – in opinion polls we still trust – lacking one credential: being a member of a club in the city he lives-works in. Thevoz mentions in an X post: ‘As far as I can tell, Keir Starmer will be the first British Prime Minister since 1763 to not be (or have been) a member of one or more London private members’ clubs….’ Conservative and Labour PMs alike have been, we are told, members of social watering holes like the Athenaeum and Carlton, Churchill apparently finding time and energy to be a member of nine clubs. What this moping lot seems to be unable to register is that being a member of a club, especially a posh one (the whole point of a club, really), has become infra dig – or, in club Latin, infra dignitatem (beneath dignity). Even the occasional clubbing – going to nightclubs – is far more suitable for a head of government than lounge with G&T and natter on about the indignity of IPL.

Which is why Starmer, unlike his most probably to-be-predecessor Rishi Sunak, member of Carlton Club, has got it right by being a Marxist, a Groucho Marxist, for not wanting to belong to any club that will accept him as a member. Barring Arsenal FC, that is.


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