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Is that a car backfiring? No, it’s the urban elite sneering.

The argument is well rehearsed: people who drive big, dangerous, polluting cars are selfish and their behaviour makes life worse for everyone else. But Giles Coren, writer for The Times, goes further. He argues that the attitude that lies behind driving a “nasty little tank”, one of his more polite descriptions of an SUV, is the same as that which drove people to vote for Brexit and which in America heralded the election of Donald Trump. And if that isn’t enough for you Coren goes on to suggest that drivers who feel the need to spread out in luxury whilst the rest of us cram into Ford Fiestas are no better than apologists for Adolf Hitler’s Lebensraum.

And of course, in part, he’s right. It’s the very nature of a market economy to allow those who can afford it to consume the most. It’s only human to compete. Supermarkets are only a few evolutionary steps away from a jungle, after all.

But he rather misses the point. Giles Coren (Westminster School, Keble College Oxford) is at the heart of the privileged elite. His father, Alan Coren was, for a generation, an acclaimed writer on The Times, his sister is the presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell, married to David Mitchell. He lives in Kentish Town and he has a house in the country. He is the “Establishment” that people voted against in 2016, the year of almighty rebellion. It may be naff, one might say crass, it may even be a reflection of some sort of psychological need, but people who drive SUVs are not evil people. Some of them may even be nice to their mothers.

And for people like Coren to discriminate against one sort of consumption, whilst conveniently forgetting about others, is not really fair at all. What about that marble kitchen worktop, the wardrobe full of clothes, the skiing holiday or, come to that, the children? Even people who went to Westminster and Oxford can be responsible for pretty ugly carbon footprints, and spitting bile at people we don’t like is not that different from spitting exhaust fumes.

Giles Coren’s article wasn’t attacking people because they drive SUVs. He was attacking them because that’s the sort of thing urban upper middle class intellectual snobs in Kentish Town do. He was attacking them because he thinks that they are jumped-up lower middle class, newly rich, comprehensive school educated, plebs. Plebs with the temerity to have been successful despite being, as that other arch-elitist Alan Clarke once sneered, the sort of people who buy their own furniture. He wouldn’t be seen dead in an SUV, or wearing brown in town, or using a serviette, or a lavatory (or should that have been a toilet? I can’t really remember, there are just so many silly posh-people rules). It’s got absolutely nothing to do with the environment, it’s just snobbishness. After all, it’s not the environment that we really need to worry about, it’s the grubby little working class who get above themselves.

The popularity of SUVs might well be systematic of excessive consumption, but the real problem is that we live in a country where the social class that we belong to still has a massive impact on our life chances. Until we address that problem the urge to conspicuously consume isn’t going to go away. What the environment needs is a more inclusive Britain where people don’t feel the need to buy status or respect by driving a fancy car, or by using complicated German words that most people don’t understand. And it means less sneering from the rest of us.