A good cad is easier to find – and much more fun – than a good gentleman

20 June 2014

4:27 PM

20 June 2014

4:27 PM

Country Life’s ‘Gentleman of the Year’ awards were announced last week, and contrary to the bookies’ expectations, David Beckham has finished in second place. The winner, their panel decided, was another David. David Dimbleby, in fact, for being: ‘an anchor in every sense of the world’ and ‘holding the nation steady when the water gets choppy’.

But is either of those Davids really worth of the title? Country Life’s judges have, apparently, decided that tattoos are allowed, since in the 19th century ‘it was quite a gentlemanly thing to do’. I’m not sure everyone will agree with their decision, particularly Sarah Vine, who recently compared tattoos to ‘a form of self-harm’. But I wouldn’t dare to quibble with Country Life’s panel.


One thing that Harry Cole and I found when we debated the ‘return of the cad’ (and whether this was a good or a bad thing), was just how hard it was to find a ‘true’ gentleman. Dan Snow, who writes our Diary this week, is a very good example of one. But David Beckham, we decided, had certainly displayed some truly caddish behaviour in the past, although to all extents and purposes he now appears to be reformed character.

Either way, here at The Spectator, we decided that although gentlemen might be all the rage at the moment, a good cad is easier to find  – and much more fun – than a good gentleman.

In this week’s magazine we have published a selection of nominations for Cad of the Year, among which there are some fantastic entries. Nigel Farage crops up as, strangely enough, does Theresa May.  Even Kevin Pieterson, despite being ‘divinely attractive and a wonderful cricketer’ (according to Jilly Cooper) can’t escape our attentions.

You can read a selection of nominations here, but if you disagree – or can think of people who have displayed far more caddish behaviour, then please do submit your own entries by Monday to

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Show comments
  • Liz

    What’s fun about being given the run around by a selfish and dishonest promiscuous person? Cads are only fun in the media, in real they’re boring.

  • StephanieJCW

    I much prefer gentlemen.

    Although a good cad is probably good for a Friday night…and not much else.

    Gentlemen are a lot more fun to be around.

  • Darnell Jackson

    Wasn’t James Hewitt a cad?

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Dan Snow is a monumental snob.

  • Kitty MLB

    But what about the reformable charming rogue such as George
    Clooney.Don’t know what’s the fuss is about him myself but
    he most certainly was a rogue and a gentleman.
    But I suppose a cad is something different and they change
    with time.I have seen old films with the likes of Terry Thomas
    who I assume was a cad and a gentleman.
    The same for that heroic cad Flashman you mention above,
    but its best remembered cad is a word used to amuse
    but on a more serious note not to be excused or used as a word
    to use for those with harmful intensions.

  • Ron Todd

    As somebody who is certainly never going to be confused for a gentleman I would not have considered Dimbleby as a gentleman either. My expectations of a gentleman would be somebody who would not be so open about his partisan political views

  • Mark Bailey

    Dan Snow a gentleman? The gracelessly unaware recipient of the fruits of narcissism and a boorish bully when it comes to religion.

    • Blindsideflanker

      He also expressed some pretty extreme Marxist views on the subject of nation on Question Time, which I thought was a bit rich for someone who was making his nepotistic career presenting historical events, that mostly revolve around our nation. But worse, I felt he was a rank hypocrite to accept the role as compare to the D Day celebrations. I would expect many of the veterans would have thought it an insult that the person introducing them thought the nation they fought for was an irrelevance.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Dan Snow is a kompelte cnut. When he gets the chance to interact with yer average UK pleb he runs a mile.

        And did I say he’s a complete cnut?