03 April 2011

A Different Class

In a previous post I asked whether or not anyone else had noticed how apt the quote from Animal Farm,
"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
was when John Prescott went to the House of Lords. A person who everyone (apart from him) pretends to think of as working class becoming enobled.

Thinking of Prescott one thinks of class. He once said in a radio interview that he was middle class, famously, this caused a rift between himself and his father,
"The rift was said to have begun in 1996 when Mr Prescott told a radio interviewer on the BBC programme, Today: "I'm pretty middle-class."

His father, Bert, who is 89, disagreed, saying that his son was working class. He claimed his son had barely spoken to him since."
as reported in the Guardian.

This obsession with class runs deep within the British psyche where a very large number of Britain's middle classes, particularly the petit bourgeoisie, irrationally believe that they are working class. They may certainly have working class origins but that doesn't mean that they're working class now.

Unfortunately this belief has a negative effect on the politics of this country. The negative effect manifests itself when the middle classes vote for the labour party, a party supposedly for the working classes. This leads to politicians pandering to the middle classes, sometimes disingenously called middle England. Unfortunately, this 'we are working class' myth leads to an entitlement mentality which appears to be beyond criticism. An egregious aspect of this phenomenon is seen with the rigging of the UK economy so that the price of houses does not fall. If this was seen as a policy of pandering to the middle classes it would not be feasible; as a policy of pandering to the working classes, this policy is accepted and acceptable.

So, if the working classes are really middle class; what of the real working classes? They are describes as the underclass. As such they are alienated from the economy, their only function being to support the currency through need, they are dehumanised and objectified. They are a valuable source of income to a fairly large section of the caring middle class economy (health, education and social work) and the not so caring, eg landlords who live off housing benefit.

Expect this situation to continue as long as the myth remains alive.

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