Sunday, March 20, 2011

3/4 of the UK convinced they are middle class

Most Britons describe themselves as 'middle class'

With six distinct tribes of the middle class, ranging from retirees with annual household incomes of almost £47,000, to young people who spend their spare time watching soap operas and struggling to make ends meet on less than £30,000, overall those who describe themselves as 'middle class' have an average household income of £37,000 a year while the typical working class household income is £24,000. Overall I can't help wondering what sort of house the middle classes can buy on a total household income of 37K as there a lot of deluded people out there.

Posted by enuii @ 05:01 PM (2857 views)
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31 thoughts on “3/4 of the UK convinced they are middle class

  • sibley's b'stard child says:

    Looks like the Thatcher/Blair indoctrination has been a swimming success. Convincing most of the populace that they’re more affluent than they really are whilst making each generation more impoverished than the last.

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  • Come on now, even David Beckham is now middle class. lol

    If you tried explaining it to the deluded confused mind battered folk they still wouldn’t get it.

    I say belong to no bloody class, but do try to be classy, which is another thing entirely.

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  • ‘un-employed described as working class’

    That’s funny, I thought you had to be working to be working class.

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  • Btw, very good sibley @ 1.

    May I also add, education, edjucation, educassion. More expensive too.

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  • they wont be so middle class when they have to renew their insurance, OMG just had to renew my car it has gone up 30% in 12 months, I have a full no claims, no convictions yet they have the cheek to increase beyond normal inflation

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  • ROFL at the following comment on the Telegraph website:

    “My partner and I (both Oxbridge-educated) have a household income well north of six figures, but we still live in a flat in east London. We have some assets (including the flat, which is owned outright) but our quality of life would suffer immensely if we just had to rely on our assets to try and generate income. I regard us as both working class”

    With an income “well north of six figures” they haven’t got a clue what the real world is like let alone what “working class” means.

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  • the number cruncher says:

    SBC @ 1, I concur

    My simple guide to class:

    If you work for a living you are working class.

    If you relay on assets or the hard work of others to provide your income, or in a protected profession, own a business etc you are middle class

    if you can phone up Dave Cameron and tell him what to do, you are upper class

    If you are poor and do no work your are the underclass

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  • [email protected] I completely agree, my thoughts as well, if you work for a living and require money coming in every month you are working class. To be truly middle class would require a degree of financial independance, something that is clearly lacking for 90% of those who think they are. Perhaps they should be called the new working classes.

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  • What Sibley said.

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  • tnc, sbc,

    It’s not just an economic metric, it’s also a cultural one. Do you read a broadsheet newspaper? Do you listen to radio 4? Is your job largely desk-based rather than manual/physical? Nearly 50% of young people go to university; I expect most of them consider themselves middle-class.

    That said, tnc’s definition is probably the best I’ve seen anywhere yet.

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  • …..the point is, why does it matter?…….should it matter?……….or are we all so obsessed with being able to look down on SOMEBODY, that it’s still possible to sell the shittiest ex-cahncil flat, and call it a ‘rung’?

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  • markj69 str05 says:

    @tnc 5… Agreed. But i’d tend to add a ‘working-middle’ class to capture the masses, aspiring to become true R4 listeners.

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  • markj69 str05 says:

    @braindeed 9… From a good old 2Ronnies clip – ‘I know my place’!

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  • happy mondays says:

    Harry say’s it all…

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  • @12 happy mondays

    love that sketch.

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  • Harry depicts the true underclass. So pathetic and sad.

    If you know who you are, or more to the point ‘are not’ class becomes totally irrelevant.

    You are free.

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  • I always thought being middle class was about knowing what iambic pentameter was, or getting the Spectator (or in the old days, Marxism Today or The Listener) delivered.

    Now it seems any chav with a tattoo that has correct spelling is middle class.

    If I’d known I’d never have wasted all those hours reciting qui, quae, quod or learning the main grape varieties used in AC French wine regions, and spent the time watching soaps instead. (Well, not really but you get my drift …).

    Seriously though, if this survey is correct the majority of those who consider themselves middle class have no conception of the meaning of the word. Consequently, the term is now without meaning at all, and should be abandoned. A, B, C1, C2, D etc is reasonably useful but clearly not granular enough – I certainly don’t want lumped together with some brickie in a 4×4, just because he managed not so spend all his wages on chips but bought a few BTLs instead.

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  • 14. montesquieu said…I always thought being middle class was about knowing what iambic pentameter was, or getting the Spectator (or in the old days, Marxism Today or The Listener) delivered.

    Now it seems any chav with a tattoo that has correct spelling is middle class.

    If I’d known I’d never have wasted all those hours reciting qui, quae, quod or learning the main grape varieties used in AC French wine regions, and spent the time watching soaps instead. (Well, not really but you get my drift …).

    ~ LOL. you are a funny snob, and as such you are just as despicable and predictable.

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  • The whole concept of class should be considered archaic in the 21st century, unfortunately, it is not. I wonder why?

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  • general congreve says:

    @14 – I believe you are what is commonly known as a snob Monty! I’m not sure how to categorise myself, as I enjoy looking down upon everyone, chav scum and toff-idiot alike. Is this still plain old snobbery, or something different? Any one here who can clarify?

    @1 and @5 – Spot on.

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  • 15. novice pete said…The whole concept of class should be considered archaic in the 21st century, unfortunately, it is not. I wonder why?

    ~ As you know pete. It’s the old divide and rule system and all so called classes have been suckered into it.

    It took me years to get out of that vortex, thankfully I had a very ecletic class related childhood which ‘eventually’ helped me to see the

    light. Humanity still has much to learn.

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  • Discustedbyhouseprices says:

    There is an easy way to tell who is middle class. If you spell ‘professional’, ‘proffessional’ and ‘professor’ ‘proffessor’ you may think you are middle class. Anyone else noticed ‘proffessional’ filled in the box spelt incorrectly? ‘I am a proffessional’. He he he.
    The irony is, of course, that if you are ‘working class’ and have served a good old fashioned apprentiship in plumbing, electrical work or joinery, you are probably much more intelligent than the average ‘middle’ class person, could easily have made a fortune over recent years out of the property bubble and you are definately more useful than ‘yer average Mr middle class. And I suspect more interesting.

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  • We are clever monkeys, but still, monkeys with nulclear weapons? How clever will we be?

    heavy music time… sorry

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  • [email protected]

    Perhaps I failed in what I was trying to say, but I was making a half-serious point that class is not (and never has been) about money.

    Add in the fact that this survey provides a demonstration that the lower orders fail to grasp this simple fact, and the whole thing becomes hilarious.

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  • sibley's b'stard child says:

    Drewster, I fear that’s the danger though. Just because one reads a decent broadsheet or enjoys a spot of ballet does not a middle class make. However, this is where the definition of ‘middle class’ has been convoluted. Short of winning the lottery, let’s face it, class is down to wealth.

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  • sibley's b'stard child says:

    …or lack of.

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  • Class is for the deluded and educated cretin. Or in my opinion ‘Fascista’.

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  • SBC at 19 & 20 (and number cruncher at 5)

    Totally wrong! Class is a mindset, with a relationship to money for sure, but money doesn’t define it.

    There are plenty of far-from-wealthy middle class academics, journalists, artists, musicians. And plenty working class – in attitude, mindset, personal habits, diet etc etc etc – very wealthy people.

    Given the benefits of their parents’ money (not least getting a decent education) their children may well turn out to be middle class, but the self-made lorry driver, plumber or chip shop owner, or suddenly wealthy footballer, lottery winner, is very unlikely ever to be – at least in the eyes of those that matter: the middle classes. ‘Twas ever thus, and always will be!

    Posh & Becks middle class? Don’t make me laugh. Don’t forget the ‘Posh’ was intended to be ironic.

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  • 22. montesquieu said…Posh & Becks middle class? Don’t make me laugh. Don’t forget the ‘Posh’ was intended to be ironic.

    ~ Strange you should mention this couple, see my first comment now posted.

    All is forgiven if you if were being facetious earlier.

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  • the number cruncher says:

    montesquieu @ 22

    I too used to think that class was as you described, and most middle class people will want to associate class with values and behaviours that define their self identity.

    But with an economist hat on I think both your income and the likelihood you have of sustaining that income for yourself and future generations is the best metric for class (my previous comment was a slightly glib and aimed at this preposterous article).

    While there are intrinsic factors such as better genes etc, I think the idea of class is purely for a person to engage in securing their economic advantage. This can be enshrined in legal systems of ownership such as the way alnd is owned and land assets are poorly taxed and IHT can be avoided. It can be also enshrined in ensuring better education for yourself and your offspring. Or it can be enshrined in speech, social values and dress codes that will help you get a job and increase your income.

    Class is very important as it is the key mechanism by which one person tries to exploit another and ensure an advantage for themselves and their children. As a ‘free market’ socialist I think government policy should be based on the removal of systematic class advantage through the removal of resource monopoly rights and economic systems that enshrine advantage. My political ideal is to crate a recycling of ‘wealth’ allowing everyone’s economic potential in society and division to be geared towards economically meritorious behaviours such as being a clever and hard-working and this advantage should be secured as much as possible through as pure a free market in personal labour as possible.

    This is the Georgist model and one favoured by many on this site, most notably Mark Wandsworth. (where I differ from others in what proportion of the states income should provide social safety nets in education and health and how they are best provisioned)

    Class as you state is often a set of social norms that can allow distinction and segregation, which is reflected in income levels, while there are many exceptions as you state, these are not ‘normal’ and over time they often equal out or the individuals will acquire the ability to maintain a generational economic advantage and thus learn the social norms that go along with this economic advantage. There is no ‘chicken and egg’ but just harmonization over generational time. So you can have a lord in a bedsit who’s children become bricklayers or you can have the 1st Duke of Marlborough rise up from obscurity as a lowly page at court and then have a line of well know politicians firmly in the upper class, but this is rare and mostly the the upper and middle classes work hard to enshrine their advantage through legal, educational and social systems, above and beyond there intrinsic economic worth and with little social mobility.

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  • Judging by the number of comments posted, is class a more important topic than house prices?

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