Employment pattern in Downton Abbey makes modern-day comeback | Larry Elliott

Equivalents of Lord Grantham and his family are hedge fund financiers and City lawyers

Christmas Day telly has not been quite the same since there stopped being a Downton Abbey special to savour. For many families, it was part of the yuletide ritual to watch the soap opera centred on the lives of the Grantham family and the servants who waited upon them.

Downton was an idealised high-Tory view of the world. The aristos – Lord Grantham in particular – were paternalists, seeing it as their duty to look after the people they employed, provided they worked hard and knew their place. There was harmony between rulers and ruled; devotion to duty was rewarded; wrongdoing punished. It was David Cameron’s big society in microcosm.

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