Fluffiness is this year’s new thing

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In this age of litigation and accusation I’ve noticed much more softness, brushing along in the corridors of power, as I do.

There seems to be so much more cashmere about this year.

There was a time when you went out fishing in the Mid-Atlantic, or climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in January, and you tugged on an old woolly sweater, pulled up your socks, stuck on a bobble hat and off you went. When you returned and the King invited you around for a chat to tell him all about it you’d take off the bobble hat, you might even have washed your socks, but you’d no more have worn cashmere than ermine. But the days of lanolin and old wool, of scratchy tweed and static nylon seem to be on the way out.

It’s political correctness gone mad: whatever happened to the hard edge of steel this country once enjoyed? What happened to the stiff upper lip? The cut and thrust of the political barb has been replaced by a fluffy ball. Acrylic is out, cashmere is in.

For those of you still wearing sack cloth and ashes or who think that the Wool Sack is just a sack of wool, note this: there are many different types of wool, but some are posher than others. Cashmere is the poshest of all.

Technically cashmere isn’t “wool” at all, it’s hair: the ultra-fine insulating undercoat around the neck of a cashmere goat. They only spare a few ounces each year, which accounts for its high price and probably for some shivering goats in Mongolia, but if we all wore it we could use less heating and probably save the planet. Cashmere is eight times warmer than sheep’s wool, itself one of the best insulators we can wear, but it isn’t very durable so needs to be looked after carefully and probably shouldn’t be worn to play football, climb trees or vote Labour.

I worry that its apparent ubiquity portents badly for Jeremy Corbyn – a polyester socialist if ever I saw one. Cashmere is more of a Theresa May sort of thing. It’s probably the only thing that keeps her going.