Monday, 21 April 2008

Study claims millions of the UK’s working class ‘wrongly’ think they are middle class

There is some absolute drivel written about ‘class’ in the UK. Today the Telegraph adds some more horse manure to the compost.

They are reporting money­ claim that around 15 million people - a quarter of the population - are in denial of their true working class status. They apparently base this on income alone.

They probably didn’t notice that virtually everyone works these days (except for the State’s Welfare clients). So by certain definitions that would make virtually all of us ‘working class’.

If you are talking in terms of aspirations and outlook then things probably tend to flip the other way, though many who like to think of themselves as ‘working class’ would hotly deny it. One suspects that by this measure then much of the population is firmly middle class.

In any event, historically speaking, when the classes really still existed, Britain had always been relatively open to mobility between the classes.

Money­‘s study seems to be largely based on income alone and puts the average income of a ‘working-class’ household at £23,000 a year and a ‘middle-class’ household at £33,000 for middle-class homes. To be ‘upper middle class’ you need a household income averaging around £52,000 a year.

This is, to put it kindly, twaddle. There will be many who see themselves as working class who might regard as ‘upper middle class’ and many who see themselves as middle class the study would claim were working class.

Who appointed as the arbiters of the UK’s fading class system. Just a new version of U and non-U speech. Or maybe reading entrails…


TC said...

I agree that the old British class system has largely faded into insignificance. But there are still two clearly identifiable classes.

The underclass - and everyone else…

obb said...

Ive always thought; working class are those who live exclusively (or near to it) from the value of their own labour. I think of middle class as a factory owner, for example, who benefits from the surplus labour of others. According to this definition most of us are working class including myself for that matter.

Phil A said...

Obb I tend to agree, both TC and Obb. All this just shows how difficult it is to define 'class' in the UK, if it exists at all as you will tend to get different definitions, or none, depending on who you speak to.