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Do We Still Have A ‘classless’ Society?

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The Tories supposedly gave us a classless society. Yes the rich were getting richer but the poor were also getting richer. We had 'right to buy' which overnight gave hundreds of thousands of families assets and wealth which they never thought possible. The working class were buying and selling property like the middle and upper classes. It was an era of equal opportunities, equal rights for women, gays and blacks. No discrimination, no class.

So is it still the case today?

I suggest not. I suggest that we are going backwards not forwards, here are my reasons:

1. ‘Chavs’. The term; ‘Chav’ started out as a nickname for the hoody/baseball cap wearing thugs that were menacingly roaming the street. Now the term has become a mainstream label used by the press for the working class:

http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30400-13462049,00.html

2. The rich have become richer than ever before. A lot of people have made a lot of money from the property boom of the last 7 years. Tax shelters for the wealthy such as SIPPS has also contributed and will continue to contribute to this.

3. The infamous 66 tax rises of Labours government has turned the screws on the ordinary person in the street making them poorer. Add to that rising energy costs and household bills have grown out of all proportion when compared to pay increases.

4. House Price Increases of the last 7 years has put home ownership out of reach for a whole generation. The FTB is priced out of the market. Students building up huge debt can’t possibly contemplate buying until they are well in their 30’s.

5. A new breed of racism has been born. We have race battles between black and Asians on the streets of Birmingham. Middle Eastern conflicts has caused a resentment towards the West and some misguided minorities in the West resent the Muslims.

This is a very worrying trend. Mervyn King prophesised that we will have ‘bumpy times ahead’. I think this will be as much socially as financially.

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I don't think there's ever been a classless society in Britain. We've always been acutely conscious of class.

I'm not a Labour supporter, but I think the minimum wage has probably done more to alleviate inequality than anything else. And I'd agree that HPI has a lot to exacerbate it.

I still hear stories of people being asked "where do you ski?" in job interviews to determine whether they're the "right sort"; I think this always went on. In the 80s there was simply more money around, so pointless yuppie wealth was more evenly spread around. I don't think that constitutes "equality of opportunity" or a "classless society".

"A new breed of racism has been born. We have race battles between black and Asians on the streets of Birmingham." - This has always been fairly acute - I remember such tensions where I grew up in the 80s and 90s (E London).

But you might be right, in relative terms. When the debt-ridden realise they've been had and they're little more than modern serfs there could be trouble.

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Hi,

I really don't like to engage in the class debates because for one, having experience and feet in other nations during my life and career, the particular slant of it in Britain is quite different to the way it is discussed in other places around the world. It disinterests me to the extent that I just can't be bothered with it in the British context, I really don't wish to play the "game" of it all.

I do really agree with your point though. When the mass of people wake up to the current situation, the man on the street may not be a happy bunny in the next few years.

Boomer

Edited by boom_and_bust

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To be pedantic, we first need to know what you mean by the term class.

You see it can mean different things to different people.

Officially it's based on what job you do.

I always thought it was based on a persons upbringing when I was younger.

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I don't think there's ever been a classless society in Britain. We've always been acutely conscious of class.

I'm not a Labour supporter, but I think the minimum wage has probably done more to alleviate inequality than anything else. And I'd agree that HPI has a lot to exacerbate it.

I still hear stories of people being asked "where do you ski?" in job interviews to determine whether they're the "right sort"; I think this always went on. In the 80s there was simply more money around, so pointless yuppie wealth was more evenly spread around. I don't think that constitutes "equality of opportunity" or a "classless society".

"A new breed of racism has been born. We have race battles between black and Asians on the streets of Birmingham." - This has always been fairly acute - I remember such tensions where I grew up in the 80s and 90s (E London).

But you might be right, in relative terms. When the debt-ridden realise they've been had and they're little more than modern serfs there could be trouble.

I may be wrong, But I cant see how the statement about the minimum wage can be true?

It is only £5.05p and most job were paying more than that 10 years ago where I live. I used to earn £4.50 an hour in 1995 waiting tables.

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We have less of a classless society than ever before when it comes to people's backgrounds but when it comes to income/wealth distribution society has become more polarised over the past 25 years.....

In other words we're more like the U.S. now!

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I may be wrong, But I cant see how the statement about the minimum wage can be true?

It is only £5.05p and most job were paying more than that 10 years ago where I live. I used to earn £4.50 an hour in 1995 waiting tables.

I was paid 2.85/hour when I was a student to carry stuff around for barristers (1994). Happy days. I was then told by some public school c0ck the same age as me that "the bar is the ultimate meritocracy".

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Officially it's based on what job you do.

I always thought it was based on a persons upbringing when I was younger.

Yes, that's true regarding the official definitions.

Your second comment brings in the elements of beliefs and attitudes.

Thus a marked attitude of the middle classes was thought to be deferred gratification and a strong belief in the value of education, supported in the home.

This was seen as not so prevalent across the working class.

The phrase nouveax riche, of course, describes the attitude of the traditional middle class to those who become wealthy but don't exhibit the correct attitudes.

There has been, no doubt, some dilution of the traditional class divisions but I would contend that this is not to the extent that some claim.

It's a useful soundbite for politicians trying to gain favour with the electorate.

Ask yourself, if tomorrow you had the same wealth as the Duke of Westminster, would you be truly accepted into that aristocratic circle?

I suspect your family would take several generations to achieve that, if ever.

Class is a subject we could discuss forever!

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Yes, that's true regarding the official definitions.

Your second comment brings in the elements of beliefs and attitudes.

Thus a marked attitude of the middle classes was thought to be deferred gratification and a strong belief in the value of education, supported in the home.

This was seen as not so prevalent across the working class.

The phrase nouveax riche, of course, describes the attitude of the traditional middle class to those who become wealthy but don't exhibit the correct attitudes.

There has been, no doubt, some dilution of the traditional class divisions but I would contend that this is not to the extent that some claim.

It's a useful soundbite for politicians trying to gain favour with the electorate.

Ask yourself, if tomorrow you had the same wealth as the Duke of Westminster, would you be truly accepted into that aristocratic circle?

I suspect your family would take several generations to achieve that, if ever.

Class is a subject we could discuss forever!

You sound like the kind of person who buys their own furniture.

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To be pedantic, we first need to know what you mean by the term class.

Ooh, great

Middle class?: born into it. Expect a standard of living, like it's their right. Think they have some kind of higher social conscience, but in reality very naive. pompous, conceited. Take on global issues as some kind of self-indulgent pastime, only if it suits their 'lifestyle' of course. Bang on about it like self-appointed experts, "oh the rain forests, GM food" but expect a decent pension and the right to drive down Sainsbury's in the Land Rover. Underestimate others because of where they're from or how they talk. Presumptuous. obtuse. Lap up media hype. Boring. Somehow get ill more than the rest of the population. allergic to f**king everything. This and that intolerant. Feng shui bo11ox talking crap. Can't cope with the slightest crisis, like running out of balsamic vinegar or grissini. Uptight, can't relate to their kids, self obsessed, men's group, "do lunch" pretend to like football, crap drivers(due to lack of attention) and generally a shower of $hit.

What you reckon?

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Eh?

Do you mean you lease yours?

It was an allusion to Alan Clark's put-down of Michael Heseltine. Of course, Clark himself was an arriviste since his money was from the industrial revolution. The de Spencers brought down Edward II - now that's proper class!

Bit of an obscure reference, I know. Sorry.

Edit: that de Spencers as in Lady Di. None of your imported German royal family nonsense.

Edited by the_duke_of_hazzard

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Ooh, great

Middle class?: born into it. Expect a standard of living, like it's their right. Think they have some kind of higher social conscience, but in reality very naive. pompous, conceited. Take on global issues as some kind of self-indulgent pastime, only if it suits their 'lifestyle' of course. Bang on about it like self-appointed experts, "oh the rain forests, GM food" but expect a decent pension and the right to drive down Sainsbury's in the Land Rover. Underestimate others because of where they're from or how they talk. Presumptuous. obtuse. Lap up media hype. Boring. Somehow get ill more than the rest of the population. allergic to f**king everything. This and that intolerant. Feng shui bo11ox talking crap. Can't cope with the slightest crisis, like running out of balsamic vinegar or grissini. Uptight, can't relate to their kids, self obsessed, men's group, "do lunch" pretend to like football, crap drivers(due to lack of attention) and generally a shower of $hit.

What you reckon?

Sums it up quite nicely. :D

Edited by Quokka

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It was an allusion to Alan Clark's put-down of Michael Heseltine. Of course, Clark himself was an arriviste since his money was from the industrial revolution. The de Spencers brought down Edward II - now that's proper class!

Bit of an obscure reference, I know. Sorry.

Edit: that de Spencers as in Lady Di. None of your imported German royal family nonsense.

No need to say sorry, a reference I was not aware of, thankyou for the education. Alan Clark was one of those I could never make my mind up about. Admire because of his "I'll do my own thing" or condemn because of his dubious morality. He was, though, a vegetarian like me, so must get some points!

So, to be accepted as "one of us" one's furniture must be heriditary.

Well, that stuffs it for most.

:)

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It was an allusion to Alan Clark's put-down of Michael Heseltine. Of course, Clark himself was an arriviste since his money was from the industrial revolution.

Quite. There's an apochriphal story that upon hearing said comment a Tory peer was hear to remark that it was "a bit rich coming from someone whose father had to buy his own castle".

Alan Clark was one of those I could never make my mind up about. Admire because of his "I'll do my own thing" or condemn because of his dubious morality. He was, though, a vegetarian like me, so must get some points!

Anyone who can show such a callous disregard for other humans while breaking down in tears after shooting a heron is an unforgivable git IMO.

Anyway, back OT: I agree entirely with the OP. My plan is simply to opt out of the economy if it becomes too irrevocably skewed in favour of the rich (I can live very frugally indeed if necessary).

Edited by Rave

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There will always be Class - Aristotle wrote about a ideal society of a growing empowered middle class 3000 years ago, unlike Plato's ideas of a republic.

The bigger the middle class the better by definition. The idea of a 'classless society' is therefore everyone becoming middle class. Trouble is - how many BTLs would that take?

Edited by brainclamp

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Anyone who can show such a callous disregard for other humans while breaking down in tears after shooting a heron is an unforgivable git IMO.

I think Clark pitied the defenceless. When in court on a charge of driving through a police cordon, he gave a fiver to a beggar to prevent him going to jail. He's a classic noblesse oblige aristo in attitude, who believes it's his duty to protect the "weak" while he gets all the benefits.

I find Clark fascinating. An utter git, but dead clever, incredibly articulate and ludicrously open. How he got into politics at all, never mind getting the Kensington & Chelsea constituency is mind-boggling.

Bank OT, Orwell went "down and out" partly to try and find a classless society, but discovered hierarchies and deference and oppression even there. Apes have social hierarchies too. It's pretty hard to avoid, it seems.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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