When ruling classes lose the confidence in their own legitimacy, they start to believe in signs and wonders. Confronted with the collapse of their 500-year order of tsardom, the Romanovs put their trust in Rasputin, the first mad Monk. When the Iran-Contra scandal broke the Reagan presidency in 1986, Ronnie and Nancy became devoted to their astrologer to tell them how to deal with Gorbachev.

So in an era when the financial pillars of the Western world have been shaken, when the East is rising, when success and fame can be gained as much through putting the entire St Kilda football team through the plot of Moll Flanders, it is perhaps inevitable that class confidence would falter.