Mums who teach children to avoid 'chavs'

Published Friday, 22 February 2013
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Apprentice star Katie Hopkins has joined Eamonn and Ruth on the This Morning sofa to defend herself against accusations of snobbery, over choosing 'suitable' friends for her children - and strictly ruling out anyone with a 'common' name.

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Katie's brood - daughters India and Poppy, aged eight and seven respectively, and four-year-old son Max - won't be befriending any Charmaines or Tyrones any time soon, if their mum has her way.

Writing for the Daily Mail, Katie recalled how her heart sank over a birthday party invite given to one of her daughters. While none of the details appeared to meet her high standards, she added:"The name of the birthday girl told me all I needed to know".

The name in question was Charmaine. Apparently, "at the risk of sounding snobbish", Katie prefers good old-fashioned names like Henry and Victoria.

"And, if a child has a name with a Latin or Greek derivation such as Ariadne or Helena, all the better. It indicates the parents are well educated," she adds.

Basically, Katie wants to screen her children from "bad influences" - children with pierced ears, those who are dropped off late to school by parents still wearing pyjamas, and so on.

And all her efforts are because: "Pupils 'catch' cleverness from their friends."

I see lots of people in Belfast and they get their hair done and everything and they go out in their pyjamas to the shops - and they think they're gorgeous.

Eamonn Holmes

But is it just shallow snobbery?

"I think it depends how you qualify 'snob' now. Over the number of things I've been called yesterday (in response to the article), snob is actually rating as a compliment!" Katie told This Morning.

Journalist Sonia Poulton was pretty strong in her opposing views though and pronounced the cherry-picking of children's friends to be "everything that's pretty much wrong with the world".

"It's a very shallow perspective on life," she said.

"I believe it takes a village to raise a child, so that includes all manner of different people in there. And once you start cherry-picking, if you surround yourself with people of a certain type, you end up with one-dimensional characters ...

"Cleverness is no more infectious than a broken leg."

It wasn't an argument that was going to sway Katie from her views.

"I've heard all this and I've heard this kind of idea that 'it takes a village' and all this sort of yoghurt knitting stuff from the left-wing," she said.

"And frankly, people say: 'Ooh, the rich tapestry of life that your children are missing out on ...' Well, actually it's more like a soggy wet blanket when you come into the playground and I don't need my children to be part of that."

When it was revealed that more than 70% of viewers disagreed with Katie's approach, she shrugged it off and added: "I suppose a lot of my type of people would be at work ..."

The remark left Eamonn rolling on the sofa with laughter, while even her debate opponent had to laugh at the subtle insult.

"As opposed to my lefty shirkers!" she declared incredulously.

"Yes, they'll be at home in their onesies, sweetie," Katie smiled.

Snobby or setting standards? Leave a comment to have your say on the parenting debate!

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