Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You Know You Are a Political Chav When...

What an utterly ridiculous debate. And no, I am not talking about the debate on parliamentary expenses in the House of Commons, I am talking about the Fabian Society publicity stunt policy document which reckons the word 'chav' should be banned as it is kind of, well, racist. Utter bollocks. And as a linguist, can I just say that it is impossible to ban words. Language evolves and it evolves for a reason. The word 'chav' was invented to portray a social phenomenon. It could have been a different word, but it wasn't. Get over it. Anyway, by way of a bit of fun, read on...


10. You prefer Heat Magazine to The Economist
9. You don't merely hug a hoodie, you wear one
8. You sprinkle your party conference speech with a liberal use of the word 'innit'
7. You have more than three metal appendages
6. You wear your tackie bottoms in the division lobby
5. You start your maiden speech with the words, 'Well, I mean like...'
4. The Speaker awards you an ASBO for heckling at PMQs
3. Your drink of choice in the Pugin Room is Red Bull
2. You enter a bulldog in the Parliamentary Dog of the Year contest
1. You are a former Member of Parliament for Peterborough (and we're not talking Brian Mawhinney here...)

Feel free to offer more suggestions in the comments...


Daily Referendum said...

Burberry Briefcase

Anonymous said...

So come on then Iain, who's the politician you're describing in that run-down. It's Prezza again, is it?




Better call the thought Police!

Anonymous said...

A couple of facts.

* This isn't a "policy document"; its a short comment piece in the Fabian Review magazine by Tom Hampson.

* Nobody calls for a word to be banned. How would you do that?

The piece says: " From now on – embarrassingly PC though it may seem – we shall audibly "tut tut" and wince whenever we hear the word used. You should too".

So perhaps it is intended as a "nudge" towards a new social norm. I thought there were takers for that over on the right these days?


Or do you want to defend the epithet 'chav'?
Perhaps there's nothing to worry about. But, by coincidence, there was a report of a murder trial on Tuesday where the court was told that "a man accused of murdering a teenager told police he was not upset to hear his victim had died because he had a strong dislike of 'chavs'"

One of the reasons many of us are pleased that casual racism and homophobia are much less acceptable than 20 years ago is the concern that that could help to legitimise hate crimes against black, Asian and gay people.

Why is this so different?

Anonymous said...

You appear in Readers' MPs in a porn mag.

Unknown said...

I can't believe the pissed their funding away on this crap.

Some people need to be victimised, and Chavs are a classic example...

Anonymous said...

I like wearing my hoodie. Must be a chav

Banksy said...

"some people need to be victimised..."

That's an extraordinary view to hold. And perhaps one best held by someone hiding behind the convenience of blogging anonymity.

Underclasses do not create themselves, and our discomfort at their very existence in our midst leads to the use of abusive terms like chav.

Of course you'll never ban the word. But if you throw it around, then it says more about you than the people you apply it to.

Akheloios said...

Nigger is just a word with a socially constructed meaning too, so is Kike, Wop, Paki and Gyppo.

Just because they have a specific meaning doesn't mean that they are used to evoke prejudice.

Grow up, calling people names just to degrade them shouldn't be tolerated in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

Sunder Katwala said...nothing of any interest whatsoever.

We must not say unkind things and risk hurt feelings.. Boo hoo, Boo hoo
If only you weren't such a nerd you'd be boring.

Piers said...

Wasn't there a court case recently where someone sued someone for calling them a pikey as it was racist against travellers. Or something along those lines?

Anonymous said...

Well it seems that all three members of the Fabian society are here to fisk you Iain.

Anonymous said...

"Nigger is just a word with a socially constructed meaning too, so is Kike, Wop, Paki and Gyppo."

First of all, several of those words I have never even heard before.

Second, the ones that I have denote race not behaviour. It is completely boker for some people to equate the term chav with underclass. There are many wealthy chavs. Half the chavs are celebrities.

Anonymous said...

I'm obviously a complete innocent, I thought chavs only applied to white people.

Still, if the Fabians are going to tut-tut at the use of 'chav', may I suggest we on the Right do the same when the words 'snob', 'toff' and 'upper class git' are employed?

Anonymous said...

You really can be terrifically bitchy, Iain.

Don't stop, it's funny,

Anonymous said...

You can't ban names; you can merely try to argue against their use.
Jesus, what a bunch of humourless TWATS you have on this site Iain.

Anonymous said...

Can't we just call them scum and be done with it?

Unknown said...

banksy said... "But if you throw it around, then it says more about you than the people you apply it to."

David, clearly the word Chav is shorthand to describe a set of values and behaviours, styles of dress which can be ascribed to a person, or group of people.

Are we now to be judged for using shorthand rather than the longhand to describe someone?

As I recall, my C&A lecturer was full of right on crap as well.

Roger Thornhill said...

Fabians know the power of newspeak, er, I mean words. Boy, do they know the power. They jealously guard their "bitch" just as Yasmin Alibi-for-Brown does with minorities. Words are the Fabian's bitch, and nobody is allowed to make free with it.

As with most things, Fabians are re-writing history to suit their own twisted, self-loathing agenda. They are also talking out of their sphincters. So no change there, then.

"Chav" is a derivation of "charver" which is a name given originally in the NE of England (IIRC) to aggressive entropic scumbags who still attend educational establishments but go out of their way to enforce negativity and nihilism amongst all those around them, with force if necessary. It was not a name given by one class to describe another, but within a class to describe a sub-group.

Anonymous said...

Sunder Katwala, the movements against homophobia and racism were purely targeted towards the action. To target words completely obliterates the purpose of opposing what the word supposedly stands for.

Regardless, without chavs the word would (obviously) have no purpose. If you wish to eliminate the word "chav", then I suggest you tackle the subjects themselves, not the nation's attitude to these little thugs.

This reminds me of the rebranding of the mentally challenged as "special" in schools. Guess what word now shares the ill connotations of thickies in the playground?

Anonymous said...

I have some sympathy, Iain. In Scotland we use the term 'ned', which basically means the same thing, and the PC brigade don't like that either. Shame.

Banksy said...

Paul, you're not being judged, but reaching for convenient shorthand is a bit lazy.

C&A lecturer? Not sure what you mean.

Banksy said...

No Tom, Ned definitely doesn't have the same tone as Ned, it's a subtle thing, but it just doesn't equate.

Banksy said...

Sorry Paul, I've just re-read that, and yes, you are being judged.

Banksy said...

Tom, correction, Ned doesn't convey the same meaning as Chav.

Daily Referendum said...

You will never stop the word chav being used as it is better than F*cking ignorant, scrounging, lazy, scum. And for all you pretentious pr*cks out there it has nothing to do with class, I'm from a council estate in Barnsley and I know what a bloody chav is. Usually they are the oxygen thieves that spoil every community and form the layer of scum floating on the surface of the gene pool.

There you go, I think Oxford could use that.

John M Ward said...

There's nothing wrong with the word "Chav". It is understood by the population at large, and has the merit of being its own word -- rather than "stealing" an existing word and attributing a completely different meaning to it, which introduces ambiguity.

Yes, I like the word Chav.

Anonymous said...

Right then, all you Fabian lovers here`s a quick question...would you be happy if a load of chavs moved in next door to you?????

Answers on a postcard pls..

Anonymous said...

Sunder Katwala "One of the reasons many of us are pleased that casual racism and homophobia are much less acceptable than 20 years ago is the concern that that could help to legitimise hate crimes against black, Asian and gay people."

What a typical, weak argument. People don't choose to be born black or gay or Asian. That is how they are. The people you are trying to defend however do have a choice. They choose to be chavvy scum.

Sounds to me like the only reason the Fabian Society is complaining is because they didn't get to choose the name for their little pet creations themselves.

Chris Paul said...

"chav" wasn't invented recently as you suggest

it is an established term - "chavi" as in "mee chavi" - for the children of pikeys and gyppos

toerags, vandals, sandboys and hooli's never had it so good as to be buried under or supplanted by the racist term "chavi/chav"

Anonymous said...

Here in Oz we call them bogans or westies (the latter being a reference to the Western Suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne in which the lower socio-economic groups live. The point is, however, that one can be a bogan or westy and live anywhere. Such people are just crude, uninteresting, unimaginative cretins with no taste and no culture.

Anonymous said...

Using the word chav is so snotty. Sooooo non-U.

'You are what you are'. If you're not - then you're a snob. i.e.; insecure about your own social standing.

Anonymous said...

"toerags, vandals, sandboys and hooli's never had it so good as to be buried under or supplanted by the racist term "chavi/chav"

Complete and utter bollocks! Chavs aren't a race, they're scumbags who have chosen to live in the manner they do. They could choose to get a job, to wear smart clothes, to stop swearing and drinking, to use condoms, to stop sponging off the dole, to stop making the lives of decent people a misery. But they don't!

FFS! You people must live on another planet.

Anonymous said...

Am not entirely sure you are on the right track here Iain.

Im not PC nor keen on banning any word; but having attended a prestigious university and now working in an environment where many people attended public school, i get the impression that Chav as a phrase has come to resemble, say, "Oik" as a generic term for the "lower orders".

And to be quite frank, I find it disgusting when people who have benefited from a fantastic education and literally a world of opportunities seek to humiliate and insult those less fortunate than them for no other reason than their outlook is less broad and their manner less refined. Invariably we are not talking about "scum" or "hooligans" here, but merely people whose horizons are so limited they aspire to be like Jordan or (and why not) David Beckham.

If many of those who use hte word chav - lots of them on this blog - had attended the kind of sink schools these people did, where leaving at 16 was common place and ambition and aspiration were rare, i would like to see them dressing in their Ralph Loren chino's and chatting "chappilly" at Lords or the Polo.

In short: its not the word, its the people that use it, I'd outlaw them!

Big Andy

kinglear said...

I take issue with Roger Thornhill. He mentions one likely derivation of chav. However, there are at least a couple more. Firstly, Cheltenham Ladies College used to refer to "CHeltenham AVerages" ie people beneath their own standing, on the assumption the Ladies Collegers were above average.
Secondly, there is a school of thought which says it stands for Council House And Violence ( or indeed Van).
My own CHAV experience was when staying at a hotel near Guildford. There was a wedding on, and the wedding was in the "tastefully decorated" main reception room ( OK is just wasn't my tatse). All was ready, including the bride, waiting at the altar - in this case a massive pile of DVDs ( I don't know why either).
With a screech of tyres a Police car drew up outside, and out stepped the Groom, manacled to an extremely burly policeman. He'd been done for drunken driving whilst over the speed limit and assault on the police when they apprehended him.
But at least they had the heart to let him get married before throwing him in jail( and removing all his extraneous gold chains, necklaces, rings and earrings).

Johnny Norfolk said...

Is a Chav someone who wears a baseball cap back to front ?

Chavs are different thing to different people.

How do you spt a Chav ?

Anonymous said...

Your mummy in law has to get you a job.

Vienna Woods said...

...and the latest new word is "BROWNIES".

It no longer refers to a young Girl-Guide, but instead applies to the lies and downright misleading statements made by our dear leader. More and more journalists are bringing "Brownies " into daily usage, the latest being Fraser Nelson over at Coffee Shop.

Maybe you could write a book around this theme would not be short of material!

Daily Referendum said...

Big Andy,

Complete and utter b*llocks. I attended a sink school and left school at sixteen, but I'm not a chav. I chose to make something of my life. In my case I joined the Navy and became an engineer. No one, repeat, no one has to dress and act like a scumbag just because they came from a poor background. It's a choice they make. They chose to scrounge off the tax payer and they think it is their right to do so. They chose to dress like rap stars covered in tacky bling because they think it is cool. They chose to swear at their kids in public because they don't give a flying f*ck about acting with decency and they have no shame.

Apologists like you are the reason we are in this situation now. It is their bloody fault that they are the way they are. It is all down to personal choice. Many decent people are living on minimum wage and are pretty skint, but they are decent and they are contributing to society. Chavs just feed off society.

Cameron was right to make his speech on this subject the other day. Just because you come from a poor background does not mean you have the right to act like a scumbag and sponge of the tax payer.

It's time we stopped making excuses for lazy ignorance and people started taking responsibility for their actions. However this will never happen while people like you are saying "It's not their fault"

Anonymous said...

You support David Davis

Anonymous said...

Something makes me think that it is more worrying that the Fabians are choosing to define poor people as a different race.

Philipa said...

You're Labour deputy leader?

Roger Thornhill said...


"Council House and Van" does not even BEGIN to describe what a chav is. Many people working in the trades are not even remotely Chav. I suspect that is reverse engineering by someone making things up to suit their own narrow insecure prejudices (A Chav would only have a van outside their house if they had just nicked it to steal the tools, for a van signifies WORK). The "averages" again does not even come close to the modern usage, for that would suggest that a top stream pupil in a Grammar School was Chav. Hardly.

No, Chav as used today is a particular type of person - entropic in thought and deed. A waster, someone who will actually attack another for wanting to better themselves. No wonder Labour love them.

Anonymous said...

You wear a baseball cap at Alton Towers.

Your baseball cap has your name on the front, because your irresponsibly high intake of E-numbers since birth means you can't remember how to spell it.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with the word "chav". It's good that society turns its nose up at anti-social behaviour and those who carry it out. And chav isn't synonymous with "working class" - it relates to a specific, deeply unattractive attitude and lifestyle, rather just than being a term of abuse for the poor. The vast majority of working class people despise chavs as much as anyone else!

I actually think it's healthier for society to deride "chavs" than "toffs". It's rather lemming-like and dysfunctional to attack successful people, whereas at least by vilifying chavviness we can provide potential chavs with some kind of incentive to make something better of their lives rather than become the butt of everyone's jokes!

Anonymous said...

Bulldogs are middle-class Iain! If you want to be a chav, get a staffie or a pit bull.

Dick the Prick said...

Iain me ol' bean. I read the interview in the Guardian with DFC yesterday and when asked about his religion he used "sort of" 3 times in one sentence!!! Does that make him a chav? Very funny tho - needs to get one of the boys to get him 10 words on that pronto.

Anonymous said...

You Know You Are a Political Chav When... you blog from Essex about East Ham and cars on an almost daily basis :¬)

Seriously though, I'm enjoying your chav-fest today!

Anonymous said...

lord burleigh or viscount suirdale?

Anonymous said...

Daily Referendum

Surely you misunderstand Big Andy? I suspect the people he is referring to would consider you to be a chav.

Anonymous said...

Sunder Katwala has made quite an effort with that comment at 9:12pm, almost as if he/she laboured under the impression that someone was bovered.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, cannot "chav" be a term of endearment?

Unknown said...

I think I might be a C&A lecturer, if Paul means constitutional & administrative law.

Anonymous said...

re piers july 16th @10.15
you are possibly thinking of this, viz were reported to the police by some one indentifying himself as a 'traveller'who took exception to a viz strip involving what were refered to as 'thieving gypsy bastards',a court case followed, viz lost and had to print an apology - i don't know if if there was a fine.

the story goes that,somewhat embarassingly a few months later the complainant was up in court accused of receiving stolen property.oh how we laughed !!!

for the benefit of any interested student of politically correct stupidity the story was on the viz site and may still be there

Anonymous said...

I wish Mr Katwala would make up his mind. Being the CEO of the Fabians you can understand him leaping to the defence of his staff but come was a throwaway comment in their in house magazine and yet he comes over all Alistair Campell (without the charm) when defending it despite it not being a policy statement.
If the "Fabs" really believe this is a problem then let them lunch launch it in Westminster and have Caroline Flint and Hazel Blears tap dance to "keep young and beautiful" while the gathered press huddle around for the news line they always try to push at these events.....
Come on Sunder...I'll play the piano in my hoodie while chewing a pastie..........

Bill Quango MP said...

Scribbler said...CEO of the Fabians

Thanks for that. I had no idea Sunder Katwala was CEO of the Fabians.
Like others I thought he was another
pointless, dull, patronising, tedious nannying git.

But now I know that its actually his job to be a pointless, dull, patronising, tedious nannying git, I can appreciate the points he makes.

Anonymous said...

Banksy, C&A is constitutional & administrative law.

But, surely you knew that, right?...

kinglear said...

Roger T - I was only trying to indicate where it might have come from originally - I accept your criticisms.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Language lesson.

"Mush atchin up a kie, chavvy"

This is pikey-speak for:-

"There's someone coming up the way, child"

Orig Romany aka Pikey.

(but don't cut me benefits bruv, just cos I'm in an illegally erected permanent dwelling)

Translates to Modern english as :-

"Somebody's coming, son"

(keep yer 'ed down, or they'll see us nicking this lead orf the roof).

So a chav (or chavvy) originally referred to a lying, thieving, good-for-nothing, low-life pikey.

Now it refers to a lying, thieving, good-for-nothing, low-life pikey - and any other form of underclass.

For once, I feel sorry for the pikeys. Their culture is being seriously undermined.


Anonymous said...

You progress from nannying to bullying.

Anonymous said...

Loved it lolol
You embroider Pikey on your burberry polo shirt