I'm one of those cranks who judges every issue in terms of 'class' and by class, all we mean is classification, and by classification, what we really mean is 'social/economic opportunity.' The myth that there has only ever been three types of class in Britain - upper, middle and working - was a handy way for the social engineers and slave masters of the 19th century to disguise their brutality and greed behind a smokescreen of abstract notions such as 'nationhood' 'civilisation' and 'the work ethic.'
The old class system is the same class system is its always been. My grandads were both semi-skilled workers in heavy industry, my dad was an unskilled worker at the docks, I was a pen pusher for the civil service for 20 years. I've got a mortgage, my kids went to the local comp, I've never earned over 30k in 30 years of working for a living. I like museums, I read fancy books, I eat well. How does that classify me? In my head, in my bones, in my blood, I will ALWAYS be working class, no matter how much money I make or what kind of house I live in. (And anyone who 'loses' their accent - "where is it, I left on the mantlepiece?" - is a traitor and a fraud).
Well, why don't I fill in the BBC's 'Great British Class Survey' (the class off? ) see below :
After questioning more than 161,000 people online via a 20-minute survey, the London School of Economics' Mike Savage and the University of Manchester's Fiona Devine have concluded that we should now do away with the out-moded working, middle and upper classes and instead adopt seven new classes. They are in, ahem, descending order: Elite; Established Middle Class; Technical Middle Class, New Affluent Workers; Emergent Service Workers; Traditional Working Class; and Precariat
The 'precariat?' That's right, you can't call em the underclass, the non-working class, the sink estate scroungers, the great unwashed, the scum of the earth any more, no, they're the 'precarious proletariat' and they're exactly the same people depicted by Hogarth 250 years ago, by Dickens 150 years ago and by Shameless or People Like Us last week. The 'undeserving poor' who are only fit for the workhouse or the colonies, the ones who live day to day, hand to mouth, cheap sensation to cheap sensation. Let them wither away and die on their diet of scratch cards, cheap lager, drugs and horsemeat burgers.
It is the 'undeserving poor' who are the enemy of both left and right, now entirely foused on appeasing the prejudices of 'hard working families' across the land. These HWF of 'alarm clock Britain' as Nick Clegg described them have to get up and go out to work and pay their taxes and their national insurance and their council tax and their mortgages or rents and their petrol and their food and their insurance and their gas and lecky and water and their licence fee and their car tax and their food and their drink and they don't moan about it do they?
It's easy to play this divide and rule game because it relies upon often justified resentment of those people who are content to claim their various benefits and never offer anything in return. I'd say that accounts for roughly 1% - 5% of those on long term benefits. I calculate this on my own day to day experience of working with these members of the 'precariat' who may have never had a 'proper' job and are now in their late 40s and early 50s. Those who left school in the late 70s and early 80s in Merseyside and maybe did their own type of work and have never paid a penny in tax or those who weren't capable of work because they were 'grafting' to pay for their habits.
These were the people betrayed by everyone from Neil Kinnock, Alan Bleasdale, Tony Blair, Carla Lane, Gordon Brown, Joe Anderson, Ed MiIiband, the 'non-people' who don't vote because either they can't be arsed or they realise that either way, they're fucked. Which in a way, is the same thing and remember that benefit cheat, Salford Labour MP and minister, Hazel Blears who called this attitude towards politics as 'a cynical cancer.'
Their lives weren't worth a carrot because the votes were either in the bag in traditional Labour areas or weren't 'strategic' enough to balance the floating voter constituencies that win general elections. This betrayal by Labour of their core voters allowed the BNP and the EDL in as the 'voice' of the marginalised white working class, those who blame the poor for their problems and not the rich who manipulate the media.
The Daily Mail naturally appeals to the outraged 'silent majority' who never fucking shut up with its hate filled diet of horror stories and victimisation. You get the press you deserve I suppose which is why this 'tolerant, fair and law abiding' country of ours is ruled by prejudiced, corrupt and incompetent halfwits who inherited their money and have never worked in anything but nepotistic 'careers' sorted out for them by their daddies yet have the balls to turn around and lecture US on hard work, self-reliance and moral responsibility.
Here's what that Goebbels of the Tory right has to say on the tragic case of the Philpott murder trial in today's Mail :
But where did all this evil come from? Evil no doubt comes from the heart of human beings and we are all capable, in one way or another, of wrongdoing.
And yet, and yet... throughout this painful trial, as the evidence was so slowly and painstakingly heard, it was impossible not to think of it as a hateful parable of our times.
Those six children, burnt to a cinder for nothing, were, in a way, the children of those benevolent human beings who, all those years ago, created our state benefits system.
That's right, it was those 'do-gooders' like Clem Attlee who REALLY burned those six innocent kids not a monumentally cruel and greedy scumbag like Mick Philpott. No, Mick was also a product of the same system, a man who leeched from the state and had many kids to many women and claimed money for all of them, a bit like the royal family then.
No, not the Royle family! That was the joke see, the Royal/Royle Family. Indolent, skiving, dim, dependent, scruffy bastards the lot of em. Not that Ricky Tomlinson, aka Jim 'My Arse' Royle sees it this way. In today's Guardian he goes on the attack explaining how not all those on benefits are job shy, lazy, settee bound scroungers like er, Jim Royle. Caroline Ahearne joins a long list of working class writers, performers and actors who have shit on their own once they became successful. That's what I call being a 'class traitor' enriching yourself on the back of taking the piss out of your own families, your own neighbours, your own communities.
The 'working class' has always been fluid and stratified between trades, between communities, between sexes, between generations yet I still define myself as 'working class' whether that's 'tradtional' or not. I still hate people like AN Wilson with a passion. I still class them as the enemy, the REAL enemy, not the commies or the muslims or the Romanians or the North Koreans. It is THEY who use selective warfare to retain their wealth and power and who use the media, particularly the BBC to spin their web of hate.
So, listen to the BBC news tonight because this 'class' issue is a hot spud now that Philpott's been convicted and Duncan Smith's on the warpath again. Y'know how the girl on 6music has just pronounced 'class?'
'Clars' - How very RP. How very BBC. How very Tory.