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THE FOG

The economy, politics and current affairs Money, power and its guiding forces

There are only two classes now

Our reaction to the BBC Lab UK’s Great British class calculator

 

Yesterday, Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with talk of a new class calculator created by the BBC Lab UK and a pair of academics that claimed it could grade the position of each and every one of us in society.

 

Gone, they say, are the 20th century definitions of working, middle and upper classes and the restrictive Downton Abbey type pigeonholing of individuals by birth and social standing. In their place, modern Britons, they suggest, are identifiable by an astonishing seven categories that range from the “elite” to the “precariat”.

 

The concept of "class rankings" blurred into a middle ground long ago even if the likes of David Cameron still get tarred with them
The concept of “class rankings” blurred into a middle ground long ago even if the likes of David Cameron still get tarred with them

The questions in this test seem flawed as the results they produce are heavily weighted around such things as home ownership and incomes. They ignore other important factors such as where individuals fit with those around them and the inherent advantages and disadvantages one is born with.

 

John Prescott, once the doyen of the working classes, announced: “We’re all middle class now” in 1997. He was met with derision but he was in fact right.

 

Such things as the coverage of the case of Mick and Mairead Philpott, jailed today for killing their six children, are illustrative of the divides in our society. As consumer goods have become cheaper and education has become more accessible, the working classes and the upper classes have morphed and merged into the middle. Yes, indeed, there is a wealthy elite in financial terms but their money does not buy them class. Equally, people like the Philpotts will always be the deadbeats of society and sadly there are many other decent individuals who will struggle on the breadline.

 

There are, in fact, really only two classes now: the middle class and the underclass.

 

Try the BBC’s Great British class calculator at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22000973

Comments

7 comments on “There are only two classes now”

  1. There are indeed two classes in the UK these days. Those that work (formally middle class) and those who don’t (formally upper class and underclass). The latter two can still be differentiated easily though: those that behave better, and those that have slightly gay sounding accents.

  2. Money can’t buy class. Class comes from a good wholesome upbringing, embracing the values of respecting oneself and others. Believing in the principle of a day’s work for a day’s pay. Conduct that is within the social acceptable norms of society.
    Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross harassing and abusing a 80 year old man on BBC national radio is concrete evidence that money cannot buy class.

  3. I thought the old British notion of class was gone, but I was surprised recently to hear of young Australian travellers to Britain (I’m now in Australia myself) who felt that class was quite prominent in British society.

  4. Samantha Cameron hosts lavish parties at 10 Downing Street for the elite such as Sir Philip Green, Anna Wintour and the rest of the rich list. Husband David Cameron insists the welfare system is to blame for the United Kingdom’s dire financial status. He forgets to mention the Trillions of untaxed Pounds in the Virgin Islands.
    The upper classes think that they are smarter, and they do take care of themselves.
    The state of the British economy is due to the consequences of the unscrupulous greed of the bankers (upperclass). Anti-social behaviour and criminalty as part of the welfare system is a entire different matter.
    There are many decent citizens struggling on the breadline. Hope Nick Clegg enjoyed his holiday.

  5. Legendary British actor Robert Morley had a flair for portraying the pompous English gentleman representing the “Establishment”. Morley was recognisable by his heavy bulk, bushy eyebrows , thick lips and double chin, he was particularly effective when cast as a pompous windbag. Former Bullingdon Club Member Boris Johnson has a uncanningly resemblance to Robert Morley.
    Robert Morley knew his art and place in the world, Toff Boris Johnson knew how to eat and burn money.

  6. Terry Thomas was another notable English actor famous for playing a variety of exuberant malevolent silly upper class characters. He was mostly cast as the disreputable member of the upper class.
    His gap in his front teeth, cigarette holder and smoking jacket was the tools of his trade. His catch-phrases were “What a absolute shower”, “Good Show”, “you dirty Rotter” and Hard Cheese”
    The upper echelons of society have a tendency to lie, cheat and endorse unethical behaviour. They expect the working class to pay all the taxes. However, they provide good comedy.

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