That such traces of ancient difference still subside in our breasts became clearer many years ago with the first acquaintance of a lifelong friend I met at university. He is a Cavalier from Worcester - I a Roundhead from Suffolk. It is not a conscious self-definition and we have rarely even spoken of it, but it remains ingrained nonetheless. There is a strong trace of 17th century East Anglian Puritan in me that rejects all corruption, asserts the responsibility of privilege, loves Justice over Law and above all strives for an equitable (but not equal) Realm. My great friend is a scofflaw, a shameless abuser of privilege and position, a serial breaker of road traffic regulations and an unembarrassed wielder of sharp elbows, not above undetectable petty theft. We are, as the Irish say, fierce friends.
For those who imagine our common past allegiances are so distant as to be diluted to homeopathic proportions in our blood, don't be so sure. Allister Heath in the Telegraph also finds echoes of the 17th century in the divisions I have also described so comprehensively in previous posts. Against the hubristic decadence of the New Elite are
... the New Radicals: a heterodox bunch who are often uncomfortable revolutionaries. They look on, aghast, at our elites’s fin-de-siecle delusions, at their breathtaking self-satisfaction, and dream of the day that they can put them back in their place. Many New Radicals used to trust our institutions and were once small-c conservatives themselves; today, they believe the “system” to be broken, controlled by a selfish, morally-corrupt establishment committed to lining its own pockets.The next stage of course is for our political allegiances to align with the nation's new bipartisan divisions - Roundhead or Cavalier, Caesarian plebeian or Pompeian patrician. Our Commons chamber is made for it, and every atom of DNA in our being is hard wired for a two party political system. Heath fears some form of destructive Corbynism, but, Puritan leveller that I am, I see in Corbyn a potential ally to the New Radical cause. I find myself nearer in many things to Jeremy Corbyn than to Boris Johnson. And if that surprises you, you still don't get it.