"Champagne socialist" is a pejorative political term originating in the United Kingdom. The phrase is used to describe self-identified socialists whose comfortable upper middle class lifestyles are perceived to be incompatible with their professed political convictions. Other phrases with the same implication include "Gucci socialist" and "salon socialist".
In the UK, the term typically refers to affluent Labour Party supporters, who stereotypically live in Inner London and read The Guardian.
Australia and New Zealand
In Australia and New Zealand, the variant "Chardonnay socialist" is often used. When the term was coined around 1989, Chardonnay was seen as a drink of affluent people. It became more generally consumed during the next decade and hence the term has lost some of its sting.
Australian left-wing "true believers" levelled the term at supporters of the failed republic referendum of 1999, where the vote was split not along conventional party lines but very much along socio-economic divides, with the rich overwhelmingly supporting the change while the less well-off were opposed. Staunch Australian right-wingers, on the other hand, level it at those who support such things as government funding for the arts, free tertiary education, and the ABC – all causes which are described by critics as "middle-class welfare."
- "Champagne socialists 'not as left wing as they think they are'". The Telegraph. 14 Jul 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- "So what's the problem with champagne socialism?". The Guardian. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- New York Times
- "Ken Follett: Novel activist". BBC News. BBC. 3 July 2000. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
Taking "Champagne socialist" jibes on the chin - "I've always been enthusiastic about Champagne" - the Groucho club member is no fair-weather friend of the party.
- BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-32708630
- "Australian Words: C-G". Australian National Dictionary. Australian National University - Australian National Dictionary Centre. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
- AAP: Australian Associated Press (25 January 2003). "Have a Captain Cook at this new Strine book". The Age. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
- Dale, David (12 November 2003). "Raise a glass to the big white". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
- Rolfe, Mark (2007). "Days of Wine and Poseurs: Stereotpypes of Class, Consumption & Competition in Democratic Discourse" (PDF). A Paper Delivered to the Australasian Political Studies Association Annual Conference 24th-26th September 2007, Monash University. Monash University. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
(from pages 24-5) From his first day in parliament as leader in March 1995 until the election, Howard courted the strong public perceptions of Keating arrogance that were evident in party polling. This was the context to the ad hominem of ‘chardonnay socialist’ that was extended to any Labor speaker and to the whole ALP in an attempt to undermine their ethos through associations with self-indulgence, selfishness and lack of concern for the people. Frequent deployment of these terms by the media provided a further convincing context for this rhetoric. Kim Carr was called a ‘Bollinger Bolshevik’ by Vanstone (Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates [CPD], Senate, 13 May 1997) and there was ‘Chardonnay Cheryl’ Kernot, the ‘shadow minister for the selfish “me generation” yuppies’ with her ‘list of hors d’oeuvres for the next caucus radical chic soiree’, said Richard Alston (CPD, Senate, 4 March 1998; 23 March 1998; 30 March 1998). She could be seen with Mark Latham, said David Kemp, ‘on the patio sipping their wine, complaining about the excesses of capitalism’ (CPD, Senate, 22 October 1997).
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