POSH.  Just four little letters but a whole lot of punch! 
The adjective ‘posh’ is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as meaning ‘Elegant or stylishly luxurious’; a gentle description alluding to the upper class.  Similarly, the romantic notion has its origin in the term ‘Port Out, Starboard Home’: seemingly the more well-to-do passengers sailing between England and India used to have POSH written against their bookings indicating the more desirable cabins in terms of shade.  Sadly, there is no evidence to support this story plausible though it sounds.  However, one cannot help but think of Titanic and the image of the ‘posh’ passengers accessing the lifeboats as those of a lesser class fought to escape the lower decks …
What does it actually mean to be ‘posh’ in the shallow, materialistic world of 2018?  Well, in short, the ‘accusation’ seems to be fired at those who went to public school and those who have mastered the Queen’s English – tend to go hand-in-hand.  What does that say?  I have just looked up ‘inverted snobbery’ in the dictionary and, apparently, it is ‘the attitude of seeming to despise anything associated with wealth or social status.’  Why don’t we cut to the chase?  It has little, if anything to do with money.   It is all about class!  Problem is, it is not for sale.
I have mentioned before my love of the great Eighteenth Century poet, Alexander Pope,  and, in particular, his Essay on Man, which serves as an expose on the moral shortcomings inherent in human nature.  Thought provoking and ever relevant, greed is always there but, to my mind, inextricably linked with jealousy; a bitter and damaging combination. 
This is harder than I thought, endeavouring to put together a coherent reasoning, but it shall all become clear – I hope.  My point is that, today, the word ‘posh’ is used as an insult; an attack borne of jealousy.  Moreover, in a world obsessed with political correctness in which one can scarcely open one’s mouth for fear of committing offence – and God forbid one has an opinion contrary to the majority – there would appear to be no problem calling – nay, accusing someone of being posh.  Think about it.  Spencer Matthews did.  Yes, famous for being in Made in Chelsea and, more recently, as the brother-in-law of Pippa Middleton, I would like to shake his hand following his recent appearance on Loose Women.  One of the panelists happened to mention that she referred to him as ‘posh Spencer’ which led her to question whether he thought the term derogatory?  Did it bother him?  Spencer, genially, replied ‘no’ but went on to ask her how she would feel if he were to prefix her name with the adjective ‘common’?  Superb!  He is so right.  Why is it acceptable to call somebody posh and yet unacceptable to call somebody common?  Yes, the argument would be that the latter could be construed as an insult – but the former is accusatory and never intended as a compliment.  Can you imagine the uproar, however, if Spencer had casually told one of the Loose Women that he thought of her as common?  Once again, inverted snobbery rears its ugly head ‘free of charge’!
I applaud Spencer for his courage.  I am so sick of this attitude that one should apologise for one’s education or the way in which one speaks.  To whom?  Those who are envious?  Turn the television on and there are constant swipes at ‘the posh’ and public schools.  David Cameron’s government was forever harangued for the number who had been to Eton but what was the real reason?  Intelligent, educated and well-spoken, those in question were not representative of the majority in this country and for that they were condemned.  Considered, with a sweeping generalization, each to have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, there was no room for lenience nor any question as to the origin of said spoon.  Funny that.
I have mentioned before moving to Cupar, as a child, in 1964; the excitement and all the friends we made, until … the parents learned that we were not going to the local school. Social suicide.  Yes, we had all played together and had fun for weeks but, no matter.  We were now different.  We were regarded as ‘posh’!
Whatever happened to freedom of choice?  We all have it; just a case of how one uses it.  In my case, my parents chose to put their children first.  My father studied for years to become a Consultant Psychiatrist – and, I’m sure, would thank his own parents for the part they played – and both he, and my mother, worked hard and sacrificed much to pay for the education we enjoyed.  I am proud of that education and forever grateful to my parents.  How dare anybody judge me for it!  Small people motivated by envy.  Sadly, the world is full of them.
I feel compelled to mention journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a regular panelist on The Wright Stuff, who never ceases to attack those she calls ‘posh’ and who went to public school.  Born into a Ugandan Asian community in Kampala, her mother was from East Africa and her father moved there from British India in the 1920s.  Her stance is nothing short of aggressive as she sits with her arms folded and freely berates those, she considers, ‘who have’.  She used to make me so angry but not anymore.  I have learnt to feel sorry for those so embittered who merely label themselves.
Jane Moore, journalist and regular panelist on Loose Women grew up on a council estate.  And?  I have no idea as to where any of the other panelists grew up or from what type of background they come – with the exception of Janet Street-Porter, perhaps – so why is it that I am a party to that of Jane Moore?  She wears it like a badge of honour in the assumption that she is deserving of a pat on the back; she has pulled herself up from the brink.  Now, imagine if Spencer hammered on about his back garden or, rather, country estate?!  Different standards.  Thing is, he never would.
I wrote to Charles Spencer, following his talk in St Andrews the other week, just to say how much we had enjoyed it and how lovely it had been to meet him.  Two days later, a hand-written envelope stamped ‘Althrop’ dropped through the letterbox.  He had written straight back to thank me for my kind letter!  Today, there would be many who would dismiss Earl Spencer as being posh; born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  In truth, he is an aristocrat, possessing of inherent class, who also happens to be intelligent, well-mannered and humble.  Oh, joy!
Therein lies the rub.  The big house, swimming pool, servants, flash car and a couple of years at public school may dupe the ignorant but the problem remains: money has nothing to do with class.  Sadly, envy is pernicious and the term ‘posh’ will continue to be used, freely, as a hooded insult.  Freely because those so accused choose to rise above; freely because those so accused are so much more.
‘You have to be taught to be second class; you’re not born that way.’   Lena Horne
This is Trish, signing off.