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Periodically I enjoy reading the Telegraph's online Obits. Many are sraight forward and matter of fact and occasionally in the late Hugh Massingberd tradition of being a disguised left hook.

Today, I was reading Lord Ashton of Hyde's obit. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/2634159/Lord-Ashton-of-Hyde.html

My first Americanized reaction was of a picture of England past. But then I got to the middle of the story. I quote "Modest in both stature and manner, Ashton never stood on ceremony or gave himself airs; he wore the same suit at his first job interview and his last board meeting."

Again my first thought was what a great testiment to keeping fit, country life and British tailoring. Then my Telegraph eye focused. Was that a way of saying that this was a man of short arms and deep pockets?

Hugh, where are you now that I need you?
 

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Periodically I enjoy reading the Telegraph's online Obits. Many are sraight forward and matter of fact and occasionally in the late Hugh Massingberd tradition of being a disguised left hook.

Today, I was reading Lord Ashton of Hyde's obit. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/2634159/Lord-Ashton-of-Hyde.html

My first Americanized reaction was of a picture of England past. But then I got to the middle of the story. I quote "Modest in both stature and manner, Ashton never stood on ceremony or gave himself airs; he wore the same suit at his first job interview and his last board meeting."

Again my first thought was what a great testiment to keeping fit, country life and British tailoring. Then my Telegraph eye focused. Was that a way of saying that this was a man of short arms and deep pockets?

Hugh, where are you now that I need you?
Ah well, you can take the boy out of the North but not the North out of the boy!

I suggest it means both - a sign of a man not too proud and not too bothered about place and privilge but also a man with a rather mean streak financially - he was a banker after all!

Ironic too - a man not to bothered about place and privilege and yet benefitted enormously from both - definitely it was not just what he knew but who he knew that elevated him in Barclays Bank.

It is my firm belief that those days are not gone - the old boy network just operates differently now and in harder to spot ways. It is still not what you know but who you know and where you went to school and university - in fact under New Labour it has got more so not less so!

In any case the description of Lord Ashton of Hyde is typical of many a person who came from that part of England with a non conformist background in that era - I've met a great number of them, coming as I do from the Manchester area.
 

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I believe the Telegraph has published a book of some of its obituaries.

As the generation that fought WWII dies off, there have been some great military obituaries in the Telegraph.

I remember one about a Major 'Stingo' Buffy, who stormed the Normandy beaches armed with a bow and arrow...the sad thing about these obits is that they detail great exploits and bravery during the war, usually followed by 'after the war he went into stockbroking and settled in Godalming, Surrey'.
 

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