Who are these 'godless intellectuals' so beloved by journalists

Sunday Times columnist Minette Marrin (also a broadcaster and fiction writer) wrote memorably that the Archbishop of Canterbury s recent interview had united opponents ... from Anglican vicars to godless Hampstead intellectuals . The phrase Hampstead

Sunday Times columnist Minette Marrin (also a broadcaster and fiction writer) wrote memorably that the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent interview had united opponents ''... from Anglican vicars to godless Hampstead intellectuals''. The phrase 'Hampstead intellectuals' is used regularly by journalists. For example, the Conservative MP Oliver Letwin has been thus labelled.

There is a historical basis for this. Various websites show that the village was home to 'intellectuals' from the 1920s, presumably including Jewish emigres. But estate agents also say that rising property prices have driven them (''the non-conformist types who smoked pipes, wrote books that often didn't sell and made a fuss about nuclear disarmament'') to other suburbs.

As to 'godless' intellectuals , I know no basis for the term, and as a Hampstead resident I do not know where to look for those that Ms Marrin believes to exist, and she has failed to tell me. Would one of your erudite correspondents enlighten us?

Bryan C Diamond


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