Class, My Ass

The Class SystemDriving back from Reading tonight, following a great day with my son, his fiancée and his mum, I was listening to Radio 4. Following a rather interesting program about credit, the good and evil aspects of borrowing and the social stigma of bad debt, there was an article about the BBC part-sponsored, BBC Lab UK’s Great British Class Survey.

I had heard about the new classes, seven in all, that had been observed, following the compilation of the survey, in which over 161,000 people took part. The seven classes range from the Elite, the most privileged group, set apart from other classes because of wealth. Highest scoring economically, socially and culturally, to the newly classified Precariat the poorest, most deprived class who score low economically, socially and culturally.

I’m not convinced about all this, so I decided to conduct my own little one man survey, to see whether it stood up to scrutiny. I went to the BBC Class Calculator page and entered my current details, with all the financial, social and cultural options. I came out as an Emergent Service Worker, who are typically young, have little money, but are very social and cultural. Well they got the bit about little money right at least.

Then I entered my details from a few years back, before I was made redundant, lost my home and my marriage failed. The social and cultural options haven’t changed, only the earnings and the property, but amazingly I used to be Elite.

It is complete twaddle. Money doesn’t give you class, nor does losing it take your class away. All this little test proved was that we, as a society, value people far more for what they earn and own, than who and what they are as people. I know several people who don’t really have two pennies to rub together, yet they ooze class. On the other hand, I know lots of people who have more money than sense and who wouldn’t have any class even if they could buy it.

Why don’t we try to conduct another survey, where people’s class is measured by their sociability, their altruism, their compassion and their caring for those around them. That’s what gives a person class, not obscene amounts of filthy lucca tucked away in tax havens, or tied up in second and third homes, pushing prices still further out of the reach of the people who really need them.

We are being governed and controlled by those people who are, by and large, in the Elite class, and who will do their utmost to keep themselves there, not to say, keep the rest of us as far down the ladder as they possibly can. The UKIP results this week may be a protest vote, but by all that’s holy, it’s time for a serious shake up in the way this country is structured.

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