I’m afraid being well spoken does work especially if you are someone of immigrant parentage. It has helped me to get into Uni (as well as having the qualifications), definitely helped me to get jobs (and to work in Harrods) and when I spent some time in the States, the Americans were overwhelmed with the way I spoke; when I lived in South Africa, again the same thing; when I moved to Manchester and then eventually Glasgow, locals would say I spoke well and wished they could speak like me.
For some reason, speaking ‘well’ milks down what the ‘viewer’ sees before them and helps put aside the fact that you are not quite one of them and makes them believe, even if it’s temporary, that you are.
As Cheryl has found out, in this day and age, it’s not enough just to look good, your delivery must be faultless (check the Finance Minister of France Madame Christine Lagarde and Michelle Obama) and of course, you must be able to do something. As I read somewhere, just after the incident occurred, that America and the rest of the World, expect if and when they arrive in the UK for the first time in England for everyone to speak as if they are a character from the movie Gosford Park or The Queen etc. anything else is not acceptable.