When I was at university, I used to laugh with my friends at the Monty Python sketches ridiculing posh English accents and the army officers that used them. This was in the very early 90s. The Monty Python sketches were getting really old themselves, and the accents we were laughing at were fast dying out.
One of my reasons for joining in this humour was less honourable. Being young I hankered after friendship. When I got to university I found a lot of my fellow students going in a political direction I knew I couldn't follow. Today we'd call it the "progressive" Left. But I found that when I played Graham Chapman's sergeant major character, some of those friends laughed very loud*. I didn't share the political bent that made them laugh at some things rather than others - but social pressure encouraged me to laugh at that parody
How we laughed at the posh-speaking army officers. Except that those officers were the ones that were actually in charge of one of the best militaries in the world, widely respected.
I've been thinking about this again when I watched a documentary about Britain's campaign in the Falklands. It is their sort who ran half the world. They were not much like today's breed of Englishmen: who all seem to hate each other, who are negative about themselves, everyone around them, the future, our past...negative about everything, really, which they seem to think is a badge of honour
* my student friends even seemed political at what they'd laugh at. Maybe that's true of some of the things those of us on the centre-right laugh at. But I do think that "progressives" took the phrase "the personal is the political" excessively seriously. A huge number of them were obsessive about their politics. It was hard to talk to them about any subject without them relating it to the struggle against the Tories. This cultist frame of mind is incredibly inimical to the imaginative life