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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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