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British politics is a grotesque and decidedly unfunny comedy of manners, but occasionally the actors produce moments of self-satire that are quite illuminating. Last week Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson’s understudy, was at a loss while standing in for his boss at Prime Minister’s Questions; in desperation he turned to an “expose” by Tory rag The Telegraph, that — shock! horror! — Raab’s opposite number, Angela Rayner, had attended a performance of Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro.

Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, has a political identity strongly tied to her working class background. For Raab, this cannot be squared with her visit to the Glyndebourne Opera House; cue accusations of “champagne socialism”. As many observers have pointed out, the assumption here is that opera is only for a certain class of person — that it is snobbish and elitist (qualities implicitly celebrated by Raab and his ilk). ..

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