My experiences have been rather different to the majority here, indeed I was not initially sure whether my experiences would fit, because they seem to be the polar opposite of what the project has predominantly showcased, but I felt that they highlight the issue, rather than detracting from it.

I had an unusually privileged upbringing, growing up with family with the Indian Army accent and  in the top end of the public school system, then attending Sandhurst.  I am resultantly eloquent and, whilst my childhood accent, which was very much Upper Received Pronunciation, has very much dulled down over the last 15 years or so, I still certainly speak with Received Pronunciation or perhaps even a ‘plummy’ accent

I am, at the same time, a pretty scruffy, long haired, portly, middle aged man with a bald spot which I am working hard to deny.  Living on the coast I often return from dog walks in a truly disreputable shape and look every inch the vagabond about town. On occasion this has lead to conversations with the local constabulary and often this elicits a poor reception in shops.  I have, however, found that the very moment I begin speaking all that goes away. It is like a magic wand which makes problems go away a lot of the time, particularly with authority.

Although this has generally made my life markedly easier in almost all scenarios, the stories here are supposed to be actual anecdotes, so I will recount an occasion where a police constable stopped myself and a friend, genuinely believing that he had just apprehended two muggers who vaguely fitted our descriptions and who had been seen running into the alley I was passing through. My chum repeatedly told the policeman that we were innocent, and remonstrated, but to no avail.  When I spoke, simply telling the officer that I was not the mugger and we had other places to be immediately had us released, with a profuse apology.

I am not going to pretend that this is not privilege and and I am not going to lie and say that it is not incredibly useful at times, but honestly I think the way that authority treats me, the ease with which I can engage prospective clients and partners and all the opportunities afforded me by my voice are not an advantage, but that the bigotry surrounding accents leads to others being disadvantaged.

That is not to say that I do not have an advantage, but rather that everyone should be afforded the same respect, trust and welcome, regardless of their accent, and regardless of whether they are wearing a dinner suit or a tracksuit.