As some of you may know, the BBC, in their infinite wisdom decided to get together with some sociologists, and interview over 160,000 in an attempt to re-define the British class system and came up with the Great British Class Calculator http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22000973 so that we could figure out where we sit in the hierarchy of who is better than whom.
Out of sheer curiosity I decided to take this test.
It is divided into three sections, Cash (money/property) Cronies (social i.e. who you hang with) and Cultcha (culture – what you do in your spare time).
The end result? I am apparently part of the Established Middle Class ‘the most gregarious and second wealthiest of all the class groups’.
People in this group apparently:
- Enjoy a diverse range of cultural activities – OK
- Went to university – WRONG
- Are comfortably off, secure and established – COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG
I’m actually jobless, living in quite a rough area of London and have never ever related to or felt a part of the Middle Classes. Hyacinth Bucket I ain’t.
How come I still remember my piss poorest-of-the-poor upbringing in the arse end of nowhere? Why are my heart, psyche and roots still deeply embedded in my working class upbringing? Why do I still worry, like my mother did all those years ago, about losing my home and ending up on the streets (thanks again for the worry gene, Mam…)?
I decide to go back over my answers and see what sense I can make of these findings.
OK I’m not earning now, so had to use my previous salary as they don’t have a box to tick entitled ‘Jack Shit’. How can an organisation like the BBC assume that everyone is working in this economic climate?
I do ‘own’ a flat, although my mortgage holders might feel that they own it a little more than I do so I’m not exactly a property magnate.
I have savings which I squirrelled away for a ‘rainy day’ due to mum inherited paranoia, and now the monsoon has hit, it is decreasing rapidly day by day.
So, in sum, the test assumes that I am comfortably off.
So, apparently the fact that I know and socialise (when I can bring myself to go outside) with a variety of people from different working backgrounds is a middle class trait.
Intrigued, I have a bit of a fiddle and change all of my choices and watch the coloured area filling this section of the graph get bigger and smaller as I select and deselect.
It seems to assume that only the higher classes know artists, software designers and university lecturers, and the lower classes rub shoulders with farm workers, secretaries and nurses.
So are all artists minted? Unless you are Banksy or that dick who sliced a cow in half, I don’t think it pays that much. And whilst I know the farming industry isn’t exactly booming at the moment, farmers are usually upper/middle in my experience?
Blanket assumptions a-go-go….
Again I have a bit of a fiddle with my choices and watch the colours on the graph yoyo alarmingly.
Visiting stately homes increases one area, presumably the posh bit. Listening to jazz increases the same area. Watching sports or listening to hip hop increases the other area.
Don’t poor people listen to jazz? I get that maybe they can’t afford to go to the opera (let’s face it, who the hell can?), but they can just about pay for a download or CD of Chet Baker surely? And all the people who are into hip hop that I know wear significantly more designer clothes, expensive shades and bling than I do.
Socialising at home seems to be working class, but surely people with bigger houses and gardens are more likely to throw dinner parties, BBQ’s and what have you? Museums and galleries are free, but fall under posh, so this is blatantly assuming that poor people aren’t cultured or able to appreciate such trips. Nice.
I know that I’m shooting fish in a barrel, and if I’m honest, they’ve hit an inverted snob nerve here because I’ve been told I look ‘like a lady’ (whatever that means) or a bit posh numerous times, which I hate, but surely that’s about someone’s style, how they hold themselves and how they prioritise their spending rather than a sign of a persons background or wealth? Trust me, whilst I have some nice things, I am not draped in designer gear 24/7.
And, suffice to say, anyone who’s every assumed that I’m proper and demure, has usually lost that allusion once they have spent an hour in my company, but why try and hang onto and worse still rejuvenate class divides when what we actually need right now is to break all that down and pull together?
I recently had a conversation with the learned MrMarymuthafuckingpoppins (http://aspoonfulofsuga.wordpress.com) (bet you wondered where MP went after leaving the Banks’ hey? Now you know. So go tidy your room, spit fucking spot….) about feminism and we agreed that as time has past and things have changed and improved, the original definition is lost and what it means to be a feminist is very much open to interpretation. Much the same can be said about the class system.
Is the penniless peer living in his knackered old country pile, without heating and on benefits upper class or working class?
Is the rock star who was brought up in a council flat but now living in a mansion complete with swimming pool and fleet of vintage cars working class or upper class?
Is the middle class Hyacinth next door with the manicured lawn, German car and new conservatory middle class or up to her working class tits in debt?
And more to the point, who fucking cares?
To my mind the only people that do are social climbers and those twats, the upper/middle upper class hunting fraternity, who seem to think that hanging onto a hideously sadistic ‘sport’ in the name of countryside ‘tradition’ will keep them heads and shoulders status wise above the nouveau riche who have impinged on their self appointed superiority and made them the dying breed that they deserve to be.
Get over yourselves fox botherers, it’s over!
Enough people. There are enough things that divide us including sex, race, colour, religion, why hang onto this long defunct socioeconomic model?
If nothing else, surely the death of Mrs Thatcher has reminded everyone why class division brings nothing but trouble, discord and resentment?
Let’s bring an end to all this nonsense and let class refer to something we aspire to project in our behaviour as opposed to a classification which judges us on filthy lucre, the schools we went to and the cars we drive.
Power to the people!