David Cameron Says He's Not 'Posh' On 'Peston On Sunday', And Says It's An Old Empire Shipping Term

'Other people would probably say I'm posh.'

David Cameron denied he is 'posh' by claiming the term comes from exclusive travel on ships during the Empire - arguably the most 'posh' explanation he could muster.

The Prime Minister - the Eton-educated son of a wealthy banker who grew up in leafy Oxfordshire - was appearing on ITV Political Editor Robert Peston's show when he was a confronted with the most Googled questions about him.

Allegra Stratton
Allegra Stratton
Peston on Sunday

Co-presenter Allegra Stratton stripped out the ruder questions and revealed most were about his seemingly privileged background.

Stratton added: "It's pretty annoying for him about his wealth and his privilege that after 10 years at the top he is still having to convince them he is one of them."

Asked by Peston whether he thought he was 'posh', Cameron said:

"I can't hide my background or upbringing, and I never have done so. Other people would probably say that.

"It's a funny expression, it can mean lots of different things.

"It originally meant which side of a ship you were on when you were travelling to India."

The premier was referring to the claim that it is an old nautical term: 'Port Out, Starboard Home', or 'POSH'.

One explanation for the word's origins is that in its Empire-era pomp the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company - which became P&O ferries - issued tickets for expensive cabins on the Britain-India route with the letters POSH.

The Tory leader went on to thank his parents for an "amazing start in life", adding: "What I want is to do as much of that for other people."

Political commentators quickly seized on the remark.

Peston: "Are you posh?" Cameron: "Others might say that... It originally meant what side of ship you were on travelling to India." Yep, posh

— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) May 22, 2016

David Cameron reveals he is SO posh that he knows what POSH stands for ("Port Out, Starboard Home" on ships to India). #Peston

— Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton) May 22, 2016

But has Cameron mis-spoken? Did it really mean Port Out, Starboard Home?

@MattChorley DC has been suckered in by a popular myth: https://t.co/1zMdExJ3HO

— Ben Rathe (@benrathe) May 22, 2016

Another claim is that 'posh' stems from: "Posh, meaning ‘smart, stylish, splendid, luxurious’ is first recorded in 1914, with the chiefly British strand of meaning, ‘typical of the upper classes; snooty’, following soon after."


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