We won’t admit it but the truth is most of us love a posh boy.
And a badly behaved one throwing the antique crockery around, vomiting and braying loudly even better.
However much we seek to deny it, there is something alluring about that sense of entitlement and lordly arrogance which sends otherwise perfectly sane people all gooey.
How else to explain the success of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and now its latest manifestation in Laura Wade’s hit stage play Posh, now hitting the big screen as The Riot Club?
The film which stars Max Irons, son of Jeremy who starred in Brideshead, is about the drunken and often violent antics of Oxford’s legendary Bullingdon Club.
Appalling behaviour is their sine qua non. When Waugh wrote Decline and Fall in 1928 and Brideshead in 1944 he undoubtedly had their outrageous bullying in mind with the former even boasting a Bollinger Club.
In the public’s mind the sound of breaking glass and the braying voices of the upper classes have gone hand in hand ever since.
The breaking glass aspect goes back to 1894 when members smashed all 468 windows in Christ Church college’s Peckwater Quad.
Just in case someone had missed it they did it all over again in 1927, their only punishment being banned from meeting within 15 miles of Oxford.
Its notoriety was given fresh life when David Cameron, Boris Johnson and George Osborne swept to power.
They were all members and there was much cringing in Downing Street when photographs of them, cocksure in their tails, emerged in the papers.
Poor Cameron, who has had to defend his Eton-educated, privileged background from his entry into public consciousness, must rue the day he ever became a member.
We might like nothing better than relaxing on a Sunday evening watching the latest Downton Abbey drama but our politicians, even Cameron’s colleagues on occasion, rarely let go a chance to remind him of his ‘posh boy’ status.
So The Riot Club has yet again sparked a debate about our favourite subject – class, which appears to have an endless fascination for us.
I suppose it must be something to do with why we love to gawp at rare species, whether it’s lions, tigers or pampered aristocrats.
They are the contemptuous lords of the jungle and appear to exist in an almost wholly separate universe, largely unregulated by puny rules.
And, although we might tut tut, given half the chance many of us would like to be part of the club, a debauched, glamorous elite, because it sounds like great fun.
We are secretly rather thrilled by excess and, anyway, someone will always be on hand to pay the bills and bandage the heads. And class and celebrity have an even more insidious way of burrowing their way into our consciousness.
Bad behaviour by a Lord will always make a paragraph or two in the national press. Think of our obsession with Lord Lucan, for example, while the same offence committed by a nobody would be lucky to merit so much as a semi-colon. Even in little, insignificant, ways it creeps in.
Think of the hilarious occasion in 2008 when Paul Weller criticised David Cameron for listing the 1979 song The Eton Rifles as his favourite tune.
He wrote the song after watching a television report about Right to Work unemployed marchers who were jeered at by a group of young Etonians.
Weller told the New Statesman: “Which part of it doesn’t he get? It wasn’t intended as a jolly drinking song for the cadet corps.”
George Bernard Shaw famously remarked that the greatest happiness to be had in life was completing 12 hours work in six.
Over the years there have been many attempts to calculate this elusive concept but that is my favourite.
And now we hear that Panama, the Central American state, has overtaken Denmark as the world’s happiest country with its neighbour Costa Rica hitting the runner-up spot.
I have never visited Panama but I have been to Costa Rica. It’s a beautiful, peaceful country with high standards of literacy and, as far as I can recall, no standing army.
What of glum Great Britain, way down the list at 76? Apparently our lowly position is down to workers not enjoying their jobs. Sad but undoubtedly true.
Joao Magueijoa, a Portugese professor resident in London, has written an entertaining book detailing our faults.
We drink too much, we eat disgusting food and as for our sexual mores ...
In Undercooked Beef he writes: “It is not unusual to drink 12 pints, or two huge buckets of beer per person.
“Even a horse would get drunk with this but in England it is standard practice.”
Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello, says: “I learned it in England where indeed they are most potent in potting.
“Your Dane, your German and your swag-bellied Hollander – Drink, ho! – are nothing to your English.’’
Cassio asks “Is your Englishman so expert in his drinking?”
Iago replies: “Why, he drinks you with facility your Dane dead drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain. He gives your Hollander a vomit ere the next pottle can be filled.”