Iain Duncan Smith – Gentleman Ranker?

I think I may have discovered a phrase, which neatly sums up IDS’ career in the forces.

Looking through Partridge’s Dictionary of Historical Slang last night, I found the phrase ‘Gentleman Ranker’. This meant ‘A broken gentleman serving in the ranks’.

Until quite late in the 19th century, officers bought their commissions. This policy was abandoned after the mass incompetence of the British officers during the Crimean War, and competitive exams were brought in, so that aptitude, rather than just material wealth, gained you promotion and a position of leadership in the British army. This was duly sent up by Gilbert and Sullivan in their song, ‘I am the Model of a Modern Major General’.

It also seems to describe the military career of the current mass-murderer now head of the DWP, Iain Duncan Smith. Despite his claims to have been an officer in the British army, there are rumours that he never passed as the course, and was instead Returned To Unit, hence his nickname on this and other blogs as ‘RTU’.

Smith clearly fancies himself as an aristocratic gentleman, complete with a farm in Scotland. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lost all his money, and so had to face poverty and actually having to go out and work for his living like the rest of us. But if he was Returned To Unit, to serve as a soldier in the ranks, then clearly he was a ‘gentleman ranker’.

It more or less accurately describes him. Plus there are the overtones of the Cockney rhyming slang term, ‘J. Arthur Rank’, which also fit him and his squalid personality and policies.

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6 Responses to “Iain Duncan Smith – Gentleman Ranker?”

  1. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. maxwell1957 Says:

    There is also a word ( now redundant – it was in use up until the eighteenth century ) that adequately describes IDS and that word is
    ” Wancel “. I cannot remember if the ‘c’ was hard or soft; as in ‘see’ or ‘kay’.

    It was used to describe a person who was considered to be so incompetent as to be beyond redemption.

    • beastrabban Says:

      I like that one, Maxwell. I haven’t heard of it before, but it does seem a very apt description.

  3. maxwell1957 Says:

    I wish that I could remember where I left that particular dictionary! It is full of REALLY useful words that were in common usage up until the time previously mentioned. Apparently it was not considered to be ill-mannered or illiterate to use words that are today considered to be taboo. Choose your own epithet for IDS 🙂

    • beastrabban Says:

      Yes, you can find terms that are extremely shocking or obscene now, used quite freely without any kind of feeling of obscenity in Chaucer and Shakespeare.

  4. A6er Says:

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

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