Coffee House

Class warfare is back, and not just in politics or from the left

20 October 2012

5:16 PM

20 October 2012

5:16 PM

Class is back with a vengeance, and not just thanks to the Andrew Mitchell saga. Today’s newspapers are chock full of stories across the news spectrum linked back to class. The Mail, for example, has declared all-out war on the government, with a splash of ‘Who do you they think they are?’ — a front page one could expect to see from the Mirror. The Mitchell-Osborne matter receives the double page treatment, lambasting both affairs with ‘Exit Mitchell, four weeks late’ and ‘Move Mr Osborne? But he can’t possibly sit in standard class’. Their coverage is summarised in a strong op-ed by Simon Heffer discussing class attacks on the Tories.

The Telegraph has also splashed with both ‘plebgate’ and ‘great train snobbery’ lines aimed at Mitchell and George Osborne, continuing onto p4 saying the Chief Whip has seen ‘decades of work undone in a fleeting moment’. Even Peter Oborne  says ‘Conservative ministers think they are above the law, and that the rules which apply to ordinary people simply don’t apply to them.’

Towards the centre ground, the Times has a double-page spread on Mitchell’s resignation, entitled ‘How a proud man lost his swagger and his authority among MPs’, suggesting the developments now places Cameron’s government on a par with the late-era Major government. The next page leads on the Osborne train scandal.


Not to be outdone, the Guardian’s splash proclaims ‘Mitchell finally quits over ‘pleb’ row in blow for PM’ but they have attempted to accentuate the class angle on their page three lead: ‘How a standard class ticket on the 3.11 drove chancellor into a first class row’.

But much else of what we read in the British press is a class row. Set aside Mitchell. Take this random selection of other stories from today’s papers. The Telegraph has a page lead on ‘BBC biased in favour of grammar schools, academics claim’. The Times has run with ‘Class warrior gets six months for boat race protest’ and ‘Cambridge takes in more state pupils’, as well as an article devoted to Pippa Middleton’s new party planning book (also tackled by the Mail with a double pictorial spread) for those wishing to follow in her family’s footsteps. The Guardian Weekend magazine even has a feature on Jane Austen-esque relationships that straddle class divides. That’s just a random selection; many similar stories can found by browsing any paper on any day.

The coverage in the media today shows that everyone, across political divides, is just as concerned about class. This is not in a passing Ed Miliband North-London-comprehensive-schooling fixation, but a growing idea about the us vs them. The political attacks are particularly ironic when it is the Conservatives who are fighting to bring down class divides with education and welfare reforms, as Fraser noted in his Telegraph column recently.

The return of Sir George Young as new Chief Whip has been greeted with cries of another toff joining the government: as the Guardian said ‘the old Etonian bicycling baronet’. His schooling would not have been pointed out when Young was first appointed a minister in the Thatcher government thirty years ago. Being an Old Etonian seems to matter more now than it did then. Almost two decades since John Major announced the ‘classless society’, it still seems to be one of the biggest issues in Britain today.

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Show comments
  • WIlliam Blakes Ghost

    Us – People who are involved in making and distributing goods and essential services (when they can) for a living

    Them – People who mainly talk (mostly without thinking) for a living and create little or nothing of value for our society. i.e.

    Polticians (of all colours in Westminster)
    Media and ‘Commentators’
    ‘Academics’ (Its all academic really)
    Senior Public Servants and Corporate Managers
    Think Tanks, Unions, Federations, Institutes, Pollsters and Lobbyists etc
    Celebrities and overpaid sportspersons
    PR and Advertising
    Financial ‘Services’
    Lawyers etc etc

    ironically all the major scandals seem to involve ‘them’ (Hackgate, Expensegate, Plebgate, Terrygate, Hilsboroughgate etc etc) and none involve ‘us’ which makes their sanctimonious preaching to us about how we should behave all the more hypocritical and infuriating.

  • John Zorn

    Well china, with a name like Sebastian we know where you’re coming from.

  • Daniel Maris

    The recession has stripped bare naked class interest. Before, it was disguised in as much as the proceeds of growth could be spread around as increased benefits, more home ownership and increased profits.

    The Tory party has been captured by old and new money and has lost any pretence to be a populist party.

    • Newsbot9

      Well, a decreasing share of GDP has been going into capital rather than ages since the 1970’s. This crunch was inevitable, it’s simply accelerated things roughly a decade.

      Either workers have to accept that security of those little non-essentials like food and shelter is going to be something which is past, or the system needs to be changed. Not even that much, but changed.

  • Jonathan Hill

    Just because the Media thinks class is a big issue, doesn’t mean that it is. Although certain elements of the public are only too willing to be whipped up into some sort of class-warfare frenzy, that has always been the case. This is, perhaps, another case of the Media living in their own little bubble. They choose editorial lines, they choose to run class as the story, but that doesn’t mean it’s what everyone, or even a sizeable proportion, in the country finds important.

    The sad part of the Media’s decision to go all out on class and toff-bashing is this: it will begin to believe it’s own rhetoric, some of the public will grow to believe it, it will embolden the class-warriors of the Left, the government will become fixated on the issue when it should be concentrating on deeper problems, and we will become distracted from these deeper problems that do far more to influence opportunity, employment and happiness: namely, deficit, debt, the Euro and governments that still believe they are where all solutions both begin and end.

  • David Lindsay

    Labour was never the party of anything like the whole of the working
    classes, nor did those classes ever provide anything like all of its
    support. Britain has neither a proletariat nor a bourgeoisie in the
    Marxist or Continental sense, but several working classes and several
    middle classes.

    There was never any incongruity about the presence of
    middle or upper-class people in the Labour Party, and not least among
    Labour MPs. Nor about their having come from, and far from cast off,
    either Liberal or Tory backgrounds. Especially in Labour’s early years,
    those backgrounds routinely included activism, and indeed parliamentary
    service, on behalf of either of those parties.

    Herbert Morrison
    professed never to have seen any conflict “between Labour and what are
    known as the middle classes”. Aneurin Bevan denounced class war, calling
    instead for “a platform broad enough for all to stand upon” and for the
    making of “war upon a system, not upon a class”. Both served under
    Clement Attlee (Haileybury, Oxford, the Bar and the Officer Corps), who
    was succeeded by Hugh Gaitskell (Winchester and Oxford).

    Wilson was a Fellow of an Oxford college, and the son of a chemist and a
    schoolteacher. Jim Callaghan was a tax inspector. Michael Foot’s public
    school may have been the Quakers’ Leighton Park, but it was still a
    public school, which duly sent him to Oxford; he and his brothers
    indicated just how far the sons of a provincial solicitor could climb if
    they were sent to the “right” schools. Neil Kinnock’s father may have
    been a miner, but he himself was a lecturer. John Smith was a QC. We all
    know about Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband.

    And why not?

    Whereas the present Cabinet is drawn from the
    overclass, which emerged in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of the
    same processes as produced the underclass, and which is at least as cut
    off from life as it is normally lived. But it is much less numerous, it
    is concentrated almost exclusively in one corner of the country, and it is
    much more pernicious economically, socially, culturally and politically.

    related to the old aristocracy, its members have no social conscience,
    rather regarding their enormous wealth as “merit”, and as entitling them
    to behave in absolutely any way they see fit, not least with regard to
    drugs. At different times, David Cameron has
    defined both secondary schooling and “a normal university experience” as necessarily including
    illegal drug use.
    What next? And when is someone going to take him on?

    1688 at the latest and 1914 at the earliest, the political life of the
    United Kingdom and of her predecessors was defined by the struggle
    between the expanding middle and the top. There might have been dire
    consequences for the emerging working class, but the process eventually
    delivered it the means of redress. Yet the middle class has now been
    conned into believing, both that its own interests are identical to
    those of Cameron or of George Osborne,
    and that the skilled working class, so comparable in income, concerns,
    and often even tastes these days, is indistinguishable from the
    characters on Shameless. The actual median household income is
    around £23,000: that is the real middle.

    Thank God that Cameron
    has not seen the last of that Bullingdon Club photograph, and therefore
    cannot carry on selling himself, Blair-like, as just an ordinary, if
    vaguely upper-middle-class, husband and father in early middle age. No,
    he is not. That Club is an organisation which exists specifically
    in order to commit criminal damage and other offences, even including
    assault, just so that its members can prove their ability to pick up the
    bill. Imagine if a group of youths the same age, but who got up at six
    o’clock in the morning to pay for universities, were to organise
    themselves into a club, complete with a membership list, officers, some
    sort of uniform, the works, for the express purpose of smashing up pubs.
    They would rightly be prosecuted as a criminal conspiracy, and could
    reasonably expect to be imprisoned.

    Well, living in rural
    England, as I have done most of my life and which is a very different
    matter from merely owning great swathes of it while living in
    Knightsbridge or Notting Hill, I suspect that the publicans of
    Oxfordshire are not without connections in the local constabulary and
    magistracy. How would it look for Cameron, Osborne and the preposterous Boris Johnson if the Bully Boys were to be
    locked up for just long enough to have themselves sent down? Or how
    would it look for the University of Oxford if they were not sent down
    under such circumstances?

    • Anthony Makara

      David, the problem Labour has is that Labour MPs would rather bow before the queen than huddle around a fire on a picket line. Labour has always been this way. The Unions would be far better served in fighting for standards in the workplace, case by case, rather than hoping a Labour government will deliver a workers paradise. Labour have played the Unions for fools for decades and the Unions are to blame for not breaking off the relationship. After all the Unions could manage without Labour but not vice versa.

      • David Lindsay

        The unions have themselves never been averse to bowing before the Queen. Nor should they be. Both King George VI and the Queen Mother were honorary members of the
        Transport and General Workers’ Union, the latter having accepting that
        honour from her friend great friend, Ron Todd, with specific reference
        to her late husband’s great admiration for Ernest Bevin.

        It was Thatcher who mounted an assault on the monarchy, since she
        scorned the Commonwealth, social cohesion, historical continuity and
        public Christianity, and who called the Queen “the sort of person who
        votes for the SDP”, arrogating to herself the properly monarchical and
        royal role on the national and international stages, using her most
        popular supporting newspaper to vilify the Royal Family, and legislating
        to pre-empt the courts on both sides of the Atlantic by renouncing the
        British Parliament’s role in the amendment of the Canadian Constitution,
        to abolish the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to
        legislate for individual Australian states, to end the British
        Government’s consultative role in Australian state-level affairs, and to
        deprive the Queen’s Australian subjects of their right of appeal to Her
        Majesty in Council.

        Whereas trade unionists and activists
        peremptorily dismissed an attempt to make the nascent Labour Party
        anti-monarchist. The movement that delivered social democracy was
        replete with MBEs, OBEs, CBEs, mayoral chains, aldermen’s gowns, and
        civic services; that movement proudly provided a high proportion of
        Peers of the Realm, Knights of the Garter, members of the Order of
        Merit, and Companions of Honour, who had rejoiced in their middle
        periods to be Lords Privy Seal, or Comptrollers of Her Majesty’s
        Household, or so many other such things, in order to deliver the social
        democratic goods within the parliamentary process in all its ceremony.

        Attlee appointed Mountbatten as Viceroy of India, and Mountbatten had been Wilson’s
        first choice for the new position of Secretary of State for Defence,
        which he had felt obliged to decline only because of his closeness to
        the Royal Family, no small part of the reason why he had been asked in
        the first place. The
        Silver Jubilee was held under the Callaghan Government. The Queen had
        famously good relations with Wilson and Callaghan, in stark contrast to
        her famously bad relations with Thatcher. Callaghan once threatened to
        resign as Labour Leader rather than contest a General Election on Tony
        Benn’s policy of abolishing the House of Lords as that House was
        constituted in 1980; abolition of that House is now the policy of the
        Coalition, although it is being resisted vigorously by Labour in both

        Peter Shore denounced the Major Government’s decision to
        scrap the Royal Yacht, and unlike John Redwood he did it at the time.
        Shore also supported Canadian against Spanish fishermen not least
        because Canada and the United Kingdom shared a Head of State. Labour MPs
        who opposed Thatcher’s cutting of Canada’s last tie to the Parliament
        of the United Kingdom, so opposing for the sake of the Aboriginal
        peoples and of the French-Canadians specifically as Her Majesty’s
        subjects. Bernie Grant vociferously
        supported the monarchy because of its role in the Commonwealth.

        Efforts to cut constitutional
        ties to Britain have been a white supremacist, and an anti-Catholic,
        cause ever since Thomas Jefferson. Which is to say, ever since Dr
        Johnson asked, “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty
        among the drivers of Negroes?” That wretched tradition has continued
        down through the foundation of Irish Republicanism by those who regarded
        their own Protestant and “Saxon” nation as the only true nation on the
        Irish island, through anti-monarchist attitudes to Australian Aborigines
        from the Victorian Period to the present day, through Hendrik Verwoerd
        and Ian Smith, through attempts to abrogate the Treaty of Waitangi in
        New Zealand, and through the patriation of the Canadian Constitution
        against the wishes, both of the Aboriginal peoples to whom the Crown had
        numerous treaty obligations, and of the government of Quebec.

        fact is that only a movement steeped in royal, parliamentary and
        municipal pageantry and charity, could preserve and celebrate the
        pageantry and charity of the City of London while ending its status as a
        tax haven and as a state within the State, Europe’s last great Medieval
        republican oligarchy, right where the United Kingdom ought to be. The
        liberties of the City were granted to a city properly so called, with a
        full social range of inhabitants and workers. The Crown should
        explicitly guarantee the hereditary economic and cultural rights of, for
        example, the Billingsgate fish porters in the same way as it guaranteed
        or guarantees those of Aboriginal peoples elsewhere in the Empire and
        the Commonwealth.

        Liberty is the freedom to be virtuous, and to
        do anything not specifically proscribed. Equality is the means to
        liberty, and is never to be confused with mechanical uniformity; it
        includes the Welfare State, workers’ rights, consumer protection, local
        government, a strong Parliament, public ownership, and many other
        things. And fraternity is the means to equality, for example, in the
        form of trade unions, co-operatives, credit unions, mutual guarantee
        societies and mutual building societies, among numerous that could be

        Liberty, equality and fraternity are therefore inseparable
        from nationhood, a space in which to be unselfish. Thus from family,
        the nation in miniature, where unselfishness is first learned. And thus
        from property, each family’s safeguard both against over-mighty
        commercial interests and against an over-mighty State, therefore
        requiring to be as widely diffused as possible, and thus the guarantor
        of liberty as here defined. The family, private property and the State
        must be protected and promoted on the basis of their common origin and
        their interdependence, such that the diminution or withering away of any
        one or two of them can only be the diminution and withering away of all
        three of them. All three are embodied by monarchy.

        Monarchy also
        embodies the principle of sheer good fortune, of Divine Providence
        conferring responsibilities upon the more fortunate towards the less
        fortunate. It therefore provides an excellent basis for social
        democracy, as has proved the case in the United Kingdom, in the Old
        Commonwealth, in Scandinavia and in the Benelux countries. Allegiance to
        a monarchy is allegiance to an institution embodied by a person, rather
        than to an ethnicity or an ideology as the basis of the State. As
        Bernie Grant understood, allegiance to this particular monarchy, with its role in
        the Commonwealth, is a particular inoculation against racialism.

        wonder that the National Party abolished it in South Africa, again
        lowering the voting age to that end. No wonder that the Rhodesian regime
        followed suit, and removed the Union Flag from that of Rhodesia,
        something that not even the Boers’ revenge republic ever did. No wonder
        that the BNP wants to abolish the monarchy here. After all, the Queen is
        descended, via the “Negroid” Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, from
        the part-black Royal House of Portugal, and, via Elizabeth of York and
        her Moorish ancestors, from Muhammad.

        • Austin Barry

          Lindsay, I spend all my working life reading EU Directives. These are marginally more interesting than your posts. Follow Orwell’s instructions on writing and cut, cut, cut.

          • David Lindsay

            “I spend all my working life reading EU Directives”

            Well, that’s a lie, for a start.

            “Working”? “Reading”? Hardly!

            • Austin Barry

              Er, no, I’m a lawyer for international robber barons. So, if you want to know about EU strictures on UCITS, ESMA, AMFID etc. etc. let me know or, if you’re American, FATCA and Dodds-Frank, as there I’m your man as well. So, as Rabbi Bloom observes, be short, be neat, be circumspect.

            • Amergin Selby

              David you must bear in mind that most of them here have the attention span of a glass of port.

              • Frank P

                Yes, perhaps you two commies should start a blog together: a prolix wankfest of abstruse bollix, in the style and dense prose that is obviously beyond the understanding of the plebs who visit this blog for light relief from real life. It reminds me of Radio Tass circa 1952 when I was obliged to knob their Morse-Code output. In fact I’m pretty certain much of it is lifted straight from their archives, comrade.

        • Oedipus Rex

          David, I’m sure you’re a lovely guy, and some of the points you raise are valid, but could you stop bleating on about the bloody ‘monarchy’ and all this ‘negroid’ descendance – it may be correct, but is totally irrelevant, certainly to an anti-racist like myself. i think you suffer from the inability to distinguish connection and causation. All things, through various degrees, are connected – but that matters not an iota. Stringing various historical events and situations together is fundamentally meaningless – history is so great that any other string of events is equally possible and possibly valid. What matters is the here and now. And don’t get damp eyed about Scandinavian society – lots of dark secrets there that are now emerging. (Like the acceptance of child pornography back in the day, for one…won’t bore you with any more)

      • Newsbot9

        Labour has shifted to the centre, and is fighting for Tory marginal voters, while the Left sit at home. They’re no longer the party of Atlee and Bevan.

        Time for a new party. One which really would represent the Union members. If that leaves Labour in the lurch, tough luck.

    • Austin Barry

      Oh, Gawd, Lindsay, prolixity is the enemy of argument. I confess I gave up after the second paragraph and subsequently became lost in a strange gin-laden sexual reverie in which Helen Mirren starred.

      • David Lindsay

        Then it wasn’t written for you.

        • Austin Barry

          Clearly not.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Churchill: On one side of a piece of paper….

        • Haruki Murakami

          Lazy. No true writer feel that about writing. The idea is to communicate idea not define readership. That is like political party wishing for different electorate.

          Personally I don’t mind the length of your prose or even dogmatic content but the over weening arrogance that is conveyed undermines its merit.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Doyou know, Linsay, your first few paragraphs were spot on. Then you began to gibber and I rather lost interest, but well done for starting well.

  • andagain

    “Class warfare is back, and not just in politics or from the left”

    Amazing isn’t it? You raise VAT, cut the top rate of income tax, and denounce mansion taxes on houses worth more than two million pounds. And all your most prominent people chose their parents wisely. And then people think that you are the party of the rich. I just don’t understand it.

    ” it is the Conservatives who are fighting to bring down class divides with education and welfare reforms”

    The education reforms come entirely at the expense of the Tories political enemies in the teachers unions, and the welfare changes mostly revolve around giving less money to poor people who vote Labour, whilst increasing the amount of money given to elderly people who vote Tory.

    Why does not everyone realise that the Conservative Party is entirely motivated by generousity and compassion when it does things like this?

    • Fergus Pickering

      The education reforms come entirely at the expense of the teaching unions. Well, that’s all right then. The other lot’s reforms came at the expense of the children.

      • andagain

        Indeed. But you can hardly prove that you are a nice guy by pointing out that you did something that will hurt your enemies.

      • Newsbot9

        Ah yes, gotta crush the ability of workers to talk to each other. Gotta make sure that those pesky educationalists don’t have a day in educating children, it’s got to be politically controlled, so only ideologically correct education and constant testing is done.

        And then you’ll whine like the dog you are when results drop. Your hatred for Britain’s children is just nasty, and your assault on free speech is odious.

  • Leslie Lumb

    classwarfare has always been around probably more prominent decades ago.
    what i dont like is injustice and favouritism.

  • voiceforlogic

    How many times are the conservatives, UKip etc [I do not support any party] going to stop churning out the most unthought-out claim in history:-

    “It is the public sector to blame for all the high costs – cut the public sector budget and then we can cut taxes leaving you with more money – hence the promised land”

    Well just like they do not know why private pensions are so poor for the pensioner but fantastic for the pension companies, they cannot see beyond the end of their nose.

    Water was privatised – what happened ? The same managers bought controlling shares, doubled their pay whilst restricting workers pay. And the cost has not stopped rising above inflation.

    All surplus land and property sold off and who pays for investment ? Just like with the railways the client is charged extra and the shareholders do not have to contribute but they will, and do benefit from higher dividends earned from your money.

    Should not the Inland Revenue step in and insist that any extra profits should be shared by the investors as it is capital not revenue – in this case the people that provided the money through high rates.

    That would be a right headache for the company as they would have to keep records of who paid what.

    The same with Electricity, gas, BT, tube etc.

    So every time public services departments are undertaken by private contractors we eventually see a sharp rise in costs and profits. But no rise in tax income from the companies – some of whom are overseas companies.
    So where is the benefit to UK PLC ?

    Indirect taxation is a blessing for the rich as they only pay the lower rate of tax. Where as if all tax was direct they wold pay the top rate [assuming we get all the loop holes plugged].

    Throughout all these claims and reshuffles I have NEVER heard of any proposals to first prove their claims by carrying out efficiency assessments to determine the level of efficiency and identify why any department is below 100% efficient.

    Until they do, how do they know what needs changing ? Just one example – look at Scarborough Hospital Catering.

    That type of assessment needs carrying out in every department before they start changing anything. Otherwise they are just going to perpetuate the same failings into any new structure.

    They just do not have a clue how to plan !!!!!

    • Newsbot9

      I’m not sure you can “plug” the loopholes. But starting a new system with the same base rates (in, say, 18 months) and spending 6 months with a commission of economists examining requests for exemptions…

      (Sure, some like lower-rate pension relief and entrepreneurs relief are no-brainers, but 90%+ of the special conditions would go!)

  • John_Page

    The toff comment about Sir George is just lazy journalism. Have people rejected Boris because he went to Eton? Not that I’ve noticed. It’s about how you behave. Lord Snootyism is unacceptable irrespective of background. It’s not where you came from, it’s how you are.

  • Stiffit

    I see Lord Tebbit has something to say about this lot in the Guardian:

    This dog of a coalition government has let itself be given a bad name and now anyone can beat it. It has let itself be called a government of unfeeling toffs. Past governments have had far more real Tory toffs: prime ministers Alec Douglas-Home and Harold Macmillan, or even in Thatcher’s day, Whitelaw, Soames, Hailsham, Carrington, Gowrie, Joseph, Avon, Trenchard and plenty more, without incurring similar abuse.

  • dalai guevara

    Read Bourdieu – get over this class nonsense, it is so last millenium it’s unreal.
    No wonder when a nation is stuck in the past mentally, it is stuck in the past physically.

  • Archimedes

    I wouldn’t worry. The whole class thing has caused too many irrational judgements in the UK for too long. It’s about time the public got it out of their system, and nothing can achieve that better, or more efficiently, than a media frenzy.

  • angela As Foreign Sec., David Miliband used the Royal Jet more than the Queen. Labour were just as stuck up, swanky and arrogant when they were in power.
    Boris and his aides were mocked by Lord Mandelson on the way to Davos for flying economy while Mandy was in Club class quaffing champagne. Ed wants it all ways.

    • Eddie

      Exactly – and you won’t meet a bigger stuck-up snob than Mandy and the rest of the leftie elite. Moreover, they are just as much into croneyism and nepotism as much as any member of the Eton-eduated minor aristocracy – just look at how Mandelson parachuted his godson into David Milliband’s team, hoping and assuming that’d give him access to the new Labour leadership (he expected David to win).
      The odd thing about Labour is how people who are really wealthy and privileged are constantly trying to prove their working class credentials – and they make fools of themselves in the trying (and boy are they trying!).
      Someone like Alan Johnson is from an ordinary and difficult background. Harman, Clarke, Chummi Umunga, are all privately educated and in the upper-middle class and rich – yet pretend to be ordinary. Offensive, that.

      • treborc1

        They are not left mate, lets be honest Miliband has to keep reminding us of his family suffering to make him look like he’s working class.

    • treborc1

      Or of course sitting on some oligarch multi million quid boat selling off factories in north Wales.

  • james102

    The only anti-class thing is the anti-political class.
    The Conservatives are feeling the brunt of it because they are nominally in power.
    The average citizen sees them all as the Ruling Class.Miliband ,with his background ,is even more of a hereditary member than Cameron.
    The public are losing patience with a political class that no longer shares their values. The media are just picking up the vibes and running with it.

    • Oedipus Rex

      Miliband ,with his background ,is even more of a hereditary member than Cameron.

      er…do a little bit of research before you come out with such inanities

  • Hexhamgeezer

    As a Civil Service peasant with a provincial accent working in Whitehall for 30 years I can say without doubt that Labour Ministers’ attitudes to the lower orders are far far worse than that of the so called toff Tories. With the odd honourable exception Labour’s attitude to folk like myself stank.

    • Anthony Makara

      New Labour was very Animal Farm-Agreed.

    • Newsbot9

      Yes, funny, when you’re hostile to people they’ll be hostile back. Thanks for admitting you were in violation of the condition of your job to be non-partisan, by the way!

    • Eddie

      Yes, that is my experience too of the few Labour politicians and Union officials I have met. They are really the most shameless pompous hypocrites. The Labour party has its own class system too – people like Benn, Kinnock, Gwyneth Dunwoody et al are their equivalent of Downton Abbey’s aristocracy.
      And if anyone from an ordinary background complains about what affects their lives – eg immigration – then they’re just ‘bigots’ and ‘Daily Mail readers’ and Jeremy Clarksons…

  • Ninth Legion

    Not all the fault of the “toffs.” A major part of the British people actually want to be subservient, obsequious and fawning. They “know their place” and they intend, by hook or crook, to stick to it. The upper classes know it too, and use it remorselessly. There isn’t one Britain, but many – each with different aspirations, outlooks and ideologies. Could never exist in other countries – too deeply entrenched!

    • dercavalier

      Definitely correct. I have always said the English are a race of forelock touchers and bend over merchants. Probably why it’s the shit that floats to the top instead of the cream at Westminster, the City and other large businesses.

    • Newsbot9

      Ah yes, that myth. Good eugenics.

  • Austin Barry

    Who would now be alongside Cleese, Barker and Corbett as a representative of the fourth class: the vicious, predatory criminal class that erupted in the London riots?

    • dercavalier

      Surely that would have to be a an unemployed blackfellow.

    • David Lindsay

      When did the City have a riot?

      • Augustus

        Black Monday?

      • Austin Barry

        2011, in’it bro, or is you dissin’ me man?

    • Newsbot9

      Yes, it’s terrible, we didn’t do anything during the financial crisis to the rioting bankers, the feral criminals who have cost this country trillions.

      The minor issues some years later? A blip.

  • Matt

    It is unutterably depressing because it brings down the level of debate to something that is really sterile. The trouble is that the real issue of the day is economic but most journalists – and indeed members of the public – don’t really understand economics so they go with this stuff.

  • Robert Hay

    Bring the Elit’s to their fucking Knee’s and let’s get Hanging them and their silver spoon Politician’s thieving bastard’s the lot off them.

    • Austin Barry

      Wasn’t I in your cab the other night – a fare from the Strand to Gospel Oak?

      • ArchiePonsonby

        “I had that Austin Barry in the back of the cab once. Hangin’s too good for ’em”

        • Austin Barry

          Leave it out, Guv.


      I see Fraser isn’t the only one who doesn’t always have a sub-editor to hand just when needed.

      • Austin Barry

        This may well be Fraser after one of those Speccie parties we hear so much about.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      I saw an Elit once. San Diego zoo, if memory serves. Didn’t know that that there were any over here!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Ah, a uneducated pleb I see. Did they not teach you to write English at the proletarian school you attended? The full stop and he apostrophe need your attention, Robespierre. Ify ou know who he was.

  • Anthony Makara

    The ideological right, the Neoliberals. who engage in so much benefit-baiting, have been the ones prodding the concept of class rather than the traditional right who generally have a paternalistic and decent attitude to poverty. The Labour Party has had its poor-bashers too with Gordon Brown mocking the unemployed for watching daytime TV all day, a sentiment echoed by David Cameron. If we really want to see an end to class distinctions it has to start with politicians who demonize the poor to court headlines and appeal to those voters who resent paying taxation. Voters who see taxation in terms of pay-as-you-go rather than as a contribution to the nation. As long as politicians play to the peevish mindset we will always have class prejudices with the City worker looking down on the blue collar worker who looks down on the fellow on the dole. Just like the famous comedy sketch, except in real-life such prejudice isn’t funny.

  • Austin Barry

    Class warfare never went away. It is as English as Marmite.

  • alexsandr

    and of course millipede isnt upper class is he? Silver spoon or what. F*cking hypocrite

    • telemachus

      Difference is that although he may be privileged he truly does want to spread privilege unlike the true hypocrite Cameron

      • Span Ows

        No he doesn’t.

        • telemachus

          Oh he cares
          He needs the opportunity to act

          • Eddie

            Well put him on the stage, dear!
            I’d suggest Pantomime…(or perhaps Farce…) – A double act with David for the ugly brothers (or comrades perhaps) would be a sight to see indeed!

    • Stiffit

      Since when was a professor’s son from North London and part-inheritor of a terrace house ‘Upper Class’?

      • IRISHBOY

        Well, in the sense that the Royal Crescent in Bath is a terrace.

        • Daniel Maris

          Didn’t Michael Meacher say his father was an agricultural worker – when he had a family farm…or some such…

          • Oedipus Rex

            Daniel: sure, Meacher has always been a fantasist – but no more than the hordes who in their thousands ‘slum it out’ and infest my part of London, pushing up the prices, living the most deluded ‘urban edgy’ existence at the expense of the rest of us. Tories (not in admission, only in act) and hypocrites worse than a maverick MP who nobody now takes seriously

        • Oedipus Rex

          F*king rubbish – the terrace house in N. London at the time was typical of many lower middle class families – it is only the Thatcher led property boom that has made them “upper class’ – hardly Mili’s fault, is it?

          • Hilton Holloway

            You mean the New Labour boom. Started in May 1997, blew up in 2008.

          • treborc1

            what about his homes now…..

      • Fergus Pickering

        Well.old chap, there are terraced houses and terraced houses. 10 Downing Street is a terraced house. And a professor doesn’t sound upper class, but neither does a stockbroker. I cannot actually think of a Tory member of the cabinet who is upper class, except perhaps Sir George Young. They are mostly rich, but then so are the top Lib Dems and the Labour Front Bench and most MPs..And if you don’t start rich in the Labour Party, you surely do end up so. Look at Kinnock the Pillock. Seriously rich and we paid for all of it. I don’t even speak of Blair. It would be interesting to know the net worth of bloody Brown and honest Alistair, landlords both..

      • Eddie

        Milliband is from the academic upper class – the intelligensia who see all non-academics as untermenschen, lower class, and maybe even lower caste – or even as a different species! Oh how these leftie academics – the socialists, marxists, trotskyists etc – HATE the way ordinary working class people are not JUST LIKE THEM, but actually (shock horror!) vote Tory, Liberal and Labour (though very few of them want a socialist state that’ll take their house away!).
        The most class-obsessed people I have ever met are all academics in the class system of academe. And if you don’t believe me, try calling a senior lecturer a mere ‘lecturer’, or perhaps forgetting to use the title ‘professor’ to a prof at a UK uni (‘professor’ is a title awarded in the UK to lickspittle sychophant administrator academics who get their prof-hood for nothing at all intellectual or academic, but by good ole-fashioned arse-licking and conformity and penpushing and sitting or dullard commitees…). Academics are obsessed by their place in this class system, however much theyr sneer at the dreadful class system outside in the real world – and they have their own honours system too: professorships, memebership of various talking shops and royal societies.
        So yes, Wet Ed Milliband is from the academic upper class and also from the wealthy upper middle class from Mittel Europa – and he is a millionaire like his father too.
        No matter how Ed’s spindoctors try to make him out to be an ordinary bloke who went to a comprehensive (which was a de facto grammar school for the kids of socialist hypocrite academics), he is anything but! Basically, his spindoctors are trying to deceive and lie to the public about his background, in order to placate the leftie class-obsessed union leaders (who earn more than £100k usually…)

        • Newsbot9

          As usual, complete nonsense. You’re peddling a myth to try and undercut an issue which people care about.

          You’re factually incorrect about “Professor”, of course, it’s not a protected title. And it’s so terrible, terrible that people handling large budgets are paid at a stable pay multiple, as opposed to the millions paid out to the CEO’s with soaring pay multiples.

          But who in your world needs facts when you can have hatred and prejudice!

          • Eddie

            I state the facts: in the UK an academic gets to use the pretty title ‘professor’ (which makes him/her of a higher class then mere lecturers) not by doing ANYTHING academic or writing a word: it is an administrative post, awarded to arse-lickers, bureaucrats, and those who love the office politics of meetings with other pompous stuck-up academics.
            No myth in what I say: Milliband is from a privileged background and went to a de facto grammar school (because the comprehensive system is in fact selective, with parents like his left wing middle class academic dad ensuring that their kids don’t go to crappy comps and have their lives ruined, but to elite comps where other leftwing hyporcites send their kids: Haverstock, Fortismere in Muswell Hill – London has a few).
            Handling large budgets? Well, most academics are so divorced from the real world – and have never ever lived in it of course or run a small business – that they really are not the best people to ask to do sums or run budgets: most are clueless with anything business-related; many don’t know the price of a bottle of milk.
            I take it from your outrage that you are an academic wiyth ambitions to rise up the class system on the gravy train of academe?
            Well, I used to be a lecturer too – which is how I know so much about the system and attitudes of academics.
            Nothing wrong with hating pompous hypocrites – which is what many academics are, who are mostly leftwing (often loonily so) and despise the class system in wider society whilst replicated it to the nth degree in their silly and pointless academic structures.

            • Newsbot9

              Of course you hate anything which smacks of the science which is one this country’s advantages, which helps stop the wage erosion you love so much.

              You try and make out that your Bankers are better than Academics who actually teach people, it’s pathetic. And I see, you’re a failed lecturer – explains THAT!

              Your self-hatred is nasty.

      • Newsbot9

        Since the equivalence attacks from the right wing seek to detoxify an issue which is political cyanide for the Tories.

        It’s pathetic.

        • treborc1

          You little fibber, you are a lefty, problem is only a few lefties left, right

          • Newsbot9

            Yes yes, you keep thinking you’ve nearly exterminated us.

            • treborc1

              You r doing that your self, you do not need any help from me.

              I have no interest whether the so called left lives or dies, to me it’s be a total pack of lies since the 1980’s

              • Newsbot9

                Yes, keep trying to deny your campaign. And I see, you’ve been lying since then? Sad.

                • treborc1

                  Well if it’s lying to call Miliband a rich bloke with nothing to offer, again it seems you lot in Labour are always on the look out for a socialist hero, you praise them up, when they fail as they normally do, you slip away to say nothing in the hope the next bloke (it’s always a bloke) will be the socialist hero you crave.

                  I see Miliband as a bloke who is in politics simply as a career move, he is a career politician who has little to offer except his parents hard life.

                  That not lying Newsbot or whom ever you are that’s a fact of labour life.

                • Newsbot9

                  As ever, you’re confusing “not like you” with “Labour”.

                  You’re the collectivist, I’m an mutualist (anarchist), I talk about you, you talk about groups.

                  Keep on sterotyping!

                • treborc1

                  I’m an mutualist (anarchist),

                  I can think of a much smaller word that sums you up….goes with spratt

                • Newsbot9

                  Of course you can, given your far right wing views. I can think of a word for you, which goes with totalitarian!

                  You really can’t stand any form of left wing view or democracy can you!

                • treborc1

                  Of course it’s better then being called a troll, which you seem to be these days.

                • Newsbot9

                  I see, your murdering is better than someone who calls you out for your murdering? I see. Keep stabbing!

                • treborc1

                  What are you mumbling on about now troll

                • Newsbot9

                  That’s right LB, keep up calling anyone not you a troll

                • treborc1


                • Newsbot9

                  Yes, you keep showing off your toffery, LB.

                • treborc1

                  Better then being a twat and what or whom is LB. I know being trebor is a bit hard for your education or intelligence but it’s Robert backward moron.

                • Newsbot9

                  Ah yes, now you’re claiming you don’t know who LV is.

                  And right, you of course think that someone who wasn’t born noble like you can’t use a given name. Why, we might not have permission to use it!

                • treborc1

                  Somebody said on here you normally speak through your ass, well that because it’s where your brain has slipped to.

                  I can keep this up for hours days weeks, I suspect since nobody much bothers with you on here, maybe you think your in a discussion.

                • Newsbot9

                  That’s right, you can keep up demonstrating your class warfare and your hatred for anyone who contradicts your Dear Leader’s party line.

                  I know full-well I’m simply harvesting quotes to use to discredit anything you say on other sites in the future.

                • treborc1

                  You win, it’s all true, your bonkers

                • Newsbot9

                  Ah yes, the social darwinist argument.
                  (And gee, that determination didn’t last long did Oh well, if you stop digging now I’ll have to wait for next time!)

                • treborc1

                  It’s OK it took me a while to understand your illness, I will let you alone now, so you can carry on trolling.

                • Newsbot9

                  That’s right, you equate not being a right winger to being ill, and disagreeing with you to trolling.

                  And of course you’ll really run away THIS time!

                • Keith

                  Democracy I can live with. It’s Socialism I loathe.

                • Newsbot9

                  Ah yes, you’re a fan of good old one-party “Democracy” then. Why am I not surprised?

    • George_Arseborne

      He never called anyone pleb or moron. Milliband is a decent Guy that commands a lot if respect. He keeps calm and ficus head in contrast to arrogant Cameron and Osborne who wil not like to mix with Plebs despite buying plebs ticket. How out of touch are they?

  • TomTom

    Britain is a Class Society where regional acccents are used to portray class not geography as elsewhere. It is a static society of status not performance and of advantage rather than earned superiority. That is why it is a non-dynamic economy and it is not unusual in Europe in having this feature – Germany does too and France much more so – but it is a Class System essentially rooted in the London Area to the disadvantage of the rest of the island.

    • telemachus

      it is in London that the coming true Class War began today

      Capital was filled with people furious with the assaults on workers from the
      government. And class anger ran through the demonstration.

      marchers delighted in yesterday’s resignation of Tory chief whip Andrew
      Mitchell after he called a cop a “pleb”. Everywhere people carried placards
      declaring themselves “plebs” against the Tories.

      anger also broke through when members of Disabled People Against Cuts occupied
      the road at Marble Arch at the end of the demo, blocking the way in to plush
      Park Lane.

      150,000 marched in London and 10,000 marched through Glasgow, with another
      10,000 marching through Belfast.

      was pure joy to see seas of placards and balloons and speakers were cheered
      when they talked of taking action against the coalition government.

      government is in a first class crisis. But that doesn’t mean it will stop its
      attacks. The potential for a real challenge to the Tories was there for all to
      see on the streets of London today.

      the potential needs turning into reality.

      revanchist Media including Mail and Telegraph are with us

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Dave Spart! Is that really you?

      • Augustus

        “… the potential needs turning into reality.”
        But not through income redistribution and class warfare. How does that promote prosperity? Not everyone can drive around in flash cars, wear designer clothes or live in five bedroom homes. People might begin to listen if Labour started talking about how to create wealth and spent less time talking about how to spend borrowed wealth. But Labour have alientated too many hard working people, and it’s totally in the pocket of the public sector unions.
        Your party is totally beyond redemption. It’s too much at war with the productive in society. That isn’t leadership, it’s manipulative and destructive.

        • voiceforlogic

          Well I am still waiting for any party to demonstrate they realise the mess we are in caused in equal parts by all previous governments.

          Which was exaggerated by by the professional incompetence and greed of the financiers – which still goes on.

          Yet this government now blames the Euro. At the same time they say Sterling is healthier than the Euro – so why is Sterling lower in value than the Euro ? Only Cameron thinks if something is falling behind, it is winning – glad I did not have a university education.

          If this government continues to ignore all the warning signs of distrust, we ARE heading to real unrest on a scale not seen in resent times.

          People will not take any notice of the out worn conservative saying
          ” If it is not hurting, it is not working”.

          People are numb with hurt and disparity of the classes.

          Throughout ALL the proposed changes in all sections introduced or proposed by this and former governments they have failed every step of the way due principally to the fact they do not know how to plan.

          Can you imagine what would have happened if they were in charge of building something like “The Shard”. Which, with all its complexities is the closest complex project one could compare to the erstwhile NHS fiasco.

          This could be the start of a winter of discontent or to use an up to date expression “the British Spring”.

        • Newsbot9

          But everyone can eat, have shelter and utilities.

          That’s what you are fighting against, what ordinary people are facing.

          Labour’s problem is they’ve accommodated the Tories, that they’ve made too many compromises to fight for the Tory fringe. The left have been sitting at home…it’s time for a new party of the left.

          You’re the manipulator trying to destroy British people.

          • Augustus

            You don’t get it, do you? How does ‘a new party of the left’ go about remedying your social and economic injustice? By overly aggressive policies against the better off? By undermining property rights and business confidence upon which the economic system rests? The net result of that is that redistribution can shrink the economic cake so much that even though the poor get a larger share, they are worse off because the absolute size of their piece falls.

            • Newsbot9

              Ohnoes, it’s so terrible that I don’t support your class-based contention that you have the right to starve and freeze the peons who can’t afford your cake.

              In fact, I actually believe in the free market, unlike your corporatist capitalists. Moreover, the evidence from the Nordic nations is you’re talking complete nonsense.

      • Gaverne

        Don’t get too excited-the total on the march equates to about half of the number of copies of the Guardian sold in a day (ie not that many). The ragbag of public sector unions, Labour party loyalists and SWP members (workers?) marching will have nil effect. It didn’t take them long to turn on Miliband, did it?

        • telemachus

          A beginning is a beginning
          The poll tax was defeated by the will of the people initially expressed I days such as this.

      • David Lindsay

        “The Revanchist Media including Mail and Telegraph are with us”

        Quite so.

        Any examination of
        the Mail and Telegraph newspapers confirms that the
        Coalition’s savage cuts in services and in spending power, the road to yet
        further economic ruin, are no more popular with Conservative supporters, Middle
        England, or what have you, than they are with anyone else.

        The Coalition of
        Resistance to them can and must include hitherto Conservative supporters,
        Middle England, the Mail and Telegraph newspapers, and what
        have you. The local election results pointed the way.

        • telemachus

          Rise up

      • Eddie

        You do know that ‘plush Park Lane’ is full of Arabs, don’t you? So why were the disabled people against cuts trying to reach them? Were they hoping an Arab multi-millionaire would take pity on them and let them take it in turns with one of his wives?
        Marching achieves nothing at all. A good day out (on expenses) for all the union official parasites of course, who can bring ‘their people’ (who have to pay for their own expenses) to the big city where they can point at wheels and black people – or sometimes both together as that drug dealer in a BMW whizzes by!
        Most British people are NOT with you: most people realise our economy is screwed and we need to cut back – and also that the benefits bill, which has risen exponentially, needs to be cut (housing benefit in particular whichis paid in billions to foreigners anyway, whose own EU countries wouldn’t give Brits any benefits): why do you support the enrichment of private landlords then?

        • Newsbot9

          Ah yes, it’s so terrible that Unions exist. In your world, why, workers wouldn’t be allowed to talk to each other…free speech is a foreign (literally) concept to you.

          You claim a mandate which is only for your radicals, who are leading a revolution against Britain. You’ve managed to make Labour the party of actual conservationism, well done!

          And you keep attacking those nasty pensioners, disabled people and working poor, who take over 85% of the budget. (JSA is a very small proportion of it)

          Of course you think that millions can go without homes..your social cleansing is already driving the working poor from their jobs into areas without them, where they’ll have to live on benefits. It’s idiotic.

          (Or we could think different – rent caps, taxation on empty brownfield land and empty houses, and a massive campaign of brownfield council house (and flat) building – say 100K per year, until we’ve made up for the deficit in housing Thatcher caused and Labour didn’t fix…but you’ll dismiss this, you’d rather have British people starving in the gutter!)

          • Eddie

            Calm down dear! I did not argue for the abolition of unions. It is not my fault that you are so desperate you have to use straw man arguments. And when you say ‘Your social cleansing’ I can’t help thinking that you’ve been at the meths again…
            Attacking pensioners, disabled people and the working poor? Where did I do that? YOu really are a nutjob fantasist, matey! But I do not believe in universal benefits and want people’s assets (eg property) to be added to means tests: I really do not see why people who are millionaires get child benefit, maternity ‘pay’, or any benefits – and a semi in west London is around £500k now, thanks to the insane British poperty market. I am a native of the London area yet cannot afford to live there – so I need no lectures from twerps like you, matey!
            How about thinking rewarding those who work and take risks by starting small businesses? I would support any government who cut the pay of public sector workers by 20% and 30%+ for those in senior management. That should save a few bob, non?
            Millions go without homes because of mismanaged mass immigration supported by the politically correct and loonie leftwing unions (who see lots of brown faces as more members and Labour voters), and an idiotic economic policy followed by all governments which encouraged the insane rise of house prices.
            ‘Your’ idea of building more and more homes in frankly stupid: can you not see that most will only go to immigrants, as 80% of new jobs do, sucking in millions from the EU and elsewhere?
            We need fewer people, not more house-building. We need rent controls; we need taxes on second homes; we need more property taxes, we need to stop foreigners buying houses for investment (the Chinese and Indians ban non-nationals from buying property); we need much higher interest rates and to stop the insane property market in which houe prices have tripled in 15 years. We also need reant controls and to top subsidising the buy to let market.
            THAT is why millions go without homes and your silly house building programme will not solve that.

            • Newsbot9

              Ah yes, shut up, don’t challenge your class-based privileges.

              And of course you describe an accurate description of the situation, which this country continues to condemn in other countries, as drug-induced, typical social darwinism.

              “Attacking pensioners, disabled people and the working poor? Where did I do that?”

              Try reading your post. Of course you don’t believe in universal benefits, the cheap and effective way of giving them (which you then take back in tax). No, you need massive and expensive state intrusion (and control) of the lives of the peons.

              And of course you want to ensure that workers have to pay for education and healthcare, and then get poor quality care from low-paid workers, because nobody with any sense will take the Govenrment jobs which pay 50%+ and more under the private sector for the same qualifications. (Which you’ll use as another excuse to slash at the social infrastructure, of course) Moreover, it would cost us billions, it’s a typical attack on value and society.

              Racist xenophobes like you blame the “other”, unable to do the basic statistics which show that immigration is a MINOR factor in the critical housing shortage we gave. You of course can’t allow the poor housing, and have no idea about eligibility criteria, preferring to launch more racist slurs.’

              Of course you want to kill millions. Your other policies are quite irrelevant, since you won’t have many houses left after the civil war. Can’t BUILD houses for the British you hate so much, why, that’s too easy.

              Go back to your native Hateland.

    • Anthony Makara

      The National Socialists eradicated the old Junker class and Hitler himself make a great point of wanting all classes to work together in the interest of the nation. This class never recovered after occupation by the allies. I don’t believe there exists Bitish style class syatem in Germany today, although of course the East still lags behind after the butchery of Communism, yet it has produced a rather austere and swaggering leader.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Mrs Merkel swaggering? She wouldn’t know how to. She is self-righteous and rather humourless, but then she is German so she would be.

      • Daniel Maris

        Rubbish – the Nazis never touched the junker estates. The East German Communists did confiscate their estates. There weren’t very large estates in the West I think.

        • Anthony Makara

          Your debating skills arent particularly refined. Do you really think anyone had anything after the war? Germany was at year Zero and many families lived in shacks and cellars for years and for a time were worse off than under the Weimar Republic. The Allies requistioned most of the infrastructure in their zones and imposed strict conditions on the accumulation of wealth. Of course the Western money and latter economic revival produced a plutocratic class, as it did under Yeltsin in Russia, but thats not the same as a landed aristoicracy.

          • treborc1

            Well it of course was not all like that, the super rich moved to other countries many of them ending up in America. Others who did not live in the cities recovered the lands and the houses they owned.

            Farmers in Germany made money hand over fist as my grand parents did.

            But the fact is the middle class struggled they were not poor enough or rich enough….

    • Eddie

      All societies are class societies; what marks Britain out in history is that we (and esp England) had a huge and growing middle class – which is why English people had surnames way back in the Middle Ages (you only need a surname if you own property really). Read some Chaucer and see that middle class.
      Many other European countries had a small artistocratic elite, perhaps a small borgeois, and a huge mass of the working class – hence the revolutions in France, Russia etc.
      I have know academics (themselves obsessed about their status, title, position – ie THEIR CLASS) who dream of a classless society and have even travelled on scholarships to places like New Zealand trying to find it! Idiots and hypocrites all.
      Fact is this:
      ALL societies are class societies, because it is human nature to want to be better than others. The criteria for what makes one upper class or lower class changes, but the instinct is innate. And if you don’t believe that, look at socialists and see the elite of the Left there on the podium at the TUC and LAbour conference.

      • clearvision

        good observation Eddie; if you’re confident enough not to need to exhibit your particular class label, perhaps you’re also more open to those from different backgrounds too ?

        • Eddie

          Yes, I think so. I do not call myself any ‘class’ – I know what a sociologist would say and what they would label me.
          But really it is academic types who endlessly call themselves working CLAAAHHSSS who ready annoy me – especially when they earn £50k and have gold-plated pensions and are unsackable from their jobs (no matter jow useless they are) and who ensure their kids get unfair advantage over others. These hypocrites deserve lampoonery.
          I also always chuckle at the American-style class labelling we have now, where 70-80% of people call themselves middle class because they have a mortgage (ie a debt to the bank) and a car…
          Traditionally, class in Britain was more about attitudes and culture, not money – so many from the traditional upper-middle-class are as poor as church mice (I used to know one of these specimens who lived in poverty in a bedsit) whereas uncultured common and vulgar persons (eg the Beckhams) live in mansions and has pots of cash yet are simply lower class uncultured people with money. There are simple tests: do you like showing your wealth in an ostentatious manner? Yes? Then you are lower class and common as muck!
          I lived Voltaire’s take on it: English society is like a cup of coffee – froth at the top, dregs at the bottom, but OK in the middle…
          The upper class are silly and useless, of course; the lower class are too.
          What we used to have in this country was something called the respectable working class – which my grandparents came fromL they left school aged 12/13 but I tell you what: they read books and could spell better than most graduates these days (at our Degrees R Us plastic-polytechnic-universities) and were more educated and cultured than a good few academics too!