Here's the leader from the Guardian, last Friday, 26 April 2002:
Chattering classes RIP - The home secretary needs your help
During the course of his "swamping" interview on Radio 4 yesterday, David Blunkett coined a new phrase to describe the sort of soggy liberal who feels squeamish when the home secretary switches into his sub-Richard Littlejohn mode. Veering at the last second from using the tired cliche, "the chattering classes", he instead dismissed them as "people who chat to each other".
It is, we confess, not snappy. But it is a brave stab at coming up with a new, and much needed, piece of terminology. Once upon a time this group was known dismissively as "Hampstead intellectuals", until property prices in NW3 became a barrier for anyone whose salary was not at least 2,000 times their IQ. "Guardian readers" served tolerably well for a number of years, especially with any one of a number of well-loved prefixes. These included a) brown-sandal-wearing, b) muesli-eating, c) Citroen-driving, d) dungaree-wearing, e) tree-hugging and f) wispy-bearded. Bonus points could be scored for the additional use of one or more of: black, disabled, lesbian, save the whale, pinko, bicycling or social worker.
After a while, N1 replaced NW3. These Islingtonians no longer ate muesli while imparting their dripping wet opinions, but grazed instead on sun-dried tomatoes, often drizzled with balsamic vinegar, preferably in trendy wine bars. Given the prime minister's own roots in Islington, this stereotype was not without its own risks. Some felt more comfortable with the generic formula, "North London bien-pensants".
The chattering classes had a good run for their money, as did the politically correct brigade. Jack Straw rather more directly managed to infiltrate "liberal" as a straightforward term of abuse. And now, courtesy of his successor at the home office, we have "people who chat to each other". It is too early to say whether this will catch on. Readers with alternative suggestions might contact Mr Blunkett directly. It feels as if he's struggling a bit.