Jonathan Isaby asks whether recent events have put an end to Labour's class attacks on the Conservatives. I think it's unlikely that all Labourites will be able to resist the temptation to have a pop at the backgrounds of David Cameron, George Osborne and others - if only because they are motivated by hatred - but I don't think it's going to fly with voters. And the exposure of Labour plans to smear Tory MPs helps crystallise why.
The point is that there are two types of class.
The first, social class, is by no means wholly trivial. Economic circumstances can greatly affect a person's wellbeing and life chances, and New Labour have failed to usher in a new age of greater social mobility. Many of us still sneer at 'common' people and are suspicious of the upper class. But I also think it's clear that people are much less concerned than they once were about the social class of their politicians.
John Prescott may whinge and moan about the Establishment, but he became Deputy Prime Minister. Contrastingly Tony Blair went to Fettes, the so-called 'Eton of Scotland'. Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher and John Major smashed the Tory mould. Gordon Brown's social class would be pretty hard to define. Today the front benches are awash with Oxbridge graduates from various types of secondary school. Social class didn't stop them getting to the best universities in the country, and it hasn't impeded or advanced their political careers.
The country isn't obsessed with this stuff as some left wingers wish it was. But there is a kind of class that matters a great deal in politics, and which will determine who wins the next general election.
This class is a binary phenomenon - a person either has it or they don't. There are no shades of grey here and social class impacts on it not a jot. There are politicians in each of the mainstream parties who have it and some who do not. No extremist has it, however. It can't be bought and, critically for politicians, it can't be faked.
Tory MPs Ann Widdecombe and John Baron have it. So do the Labour MPs Paul Flynn and Frank Field. Former Labour leader Michael Foot has it. Estelle Morris showed she had it when she resigned as Education Secretary. Liberal (sic) Democrat (sic) MP Vince Cable (for all that his status as an economic sage is overrated) has it. US Presidents Andrew Shepherd and Josiah Bartlet had it, and so it's a shame that they are fictitious.
This kind of class relates to two things only: dignity and decency.
The Conservatives were sunk by 1997, by which time far too many of their MPs had shown that they lacked class. Theresa May's misrepresented 'Nasty Party' speech was a tacit acknowledgement of that. Labour's problem is that it has become clear - after years of lies, expenses fiddling and smear campaigns - that a huge proportion of their ministers, MPs and officials don't have the class that counts.
They are going to lose the next general election - I'm sure of it - as a direct result of this.
The challenge for David Cameron is to show the country as Prime Minister that he and his team are class acts. That's not the same as being a class actor and people will eventually see the difference, as Tony Blair ultimately found out.
Next year Gordon Brown will lose his job, and a slew of his ministers will lose their seats, and a whole bunch of malevolent officials and hangers-on will be cast into irrelevance. They will deserve it. No class, you see.