Julian Assange And The English Middle Class.
Try as I might I can never understand the English middle classes.
I am probably somewhat at a disadvantage in understanding their attitudes and fixations, but Julian Assange’s release on conditional bail has revealed another peculiarity.
Assange is staying at the Manor house of one of his backers, Captain Vaughan Smith.
Smith is the founder of the Frontline, a journalist club, and presumably not short of a penny or two, as he is standing surety with others for Julian Assange, yet the Sydney morning Herald reports that Captain Smith will be charging his guest during the stay:
“Ellingham Hall, he told the court yesterday, was a perfect location for Mr Assange as it was around a mile away from the nearest police station.
“It’s a short distance on a bicycle. I can cycle it in about 15 minutes,” the Guardian reported Captain Smith as saying.
“It’s an environment where he would be surrounded. We have members of staff. My parents live in proximity as well. My father was a Queen’s Messenger and a colonel in the Grenadier Guards.”
The manor has been in the Smith family for 225 years and was previously owned by the Johnsons, who the Smiths married into, Captain Smith told the Guardian before the court hearing.
“Some of the buildings are even older. On the walls are paintings of the people who bred me,” he said. “My grandfather liked shooting and I’m partial to it myself.”
Paying guests at the large estate can spend their days shooting pheasants and partridges and dine on the produce grown in an organic farm on the grounds.
Mr Assange would also value the privacy of the large estate. The nearest train station is Diss, the Guardian reports, while the nearest city, Norwich, is a half-an-hour drive away.
But there’s a catch. Captain Smith says the Australian has to pay for his stay at Ellingham Hall, and at starting rates of £10, it might burn a fairly big hole in his pocket. “
How true that is I can’t say, but it seems strange to charge a house guest, or at least it does to me.
What peculiar middle-class customs they have in Norfolk?