Is middle class a state of mind or a wad of cash?

Ok, you people have brains, so here are the two posts that I am about to refer to. Make up your own minds.

Jilly Luke – http://www.leftfutures.org/2013/08/lentils-and-lager-why-we-forgive-tax-evaders-but-not-benefit-claimants/

A Girl Named Jack – http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/08/25/dear-jilly-luke-i-tried-to-top-myself-six-months-ago-in-my-beatrix-potter-cosy-poverty/

But here’s my two penneth…

Ms Luke appears to be trying to make an argument (and one that I agree with) that David Cameron and his media circus is attempting to portray the less well off sections of our society as undesirable, unlawful and the reason why our financial institutions have made most of us suffer. Not surprisingly, they are not likely to vote for him. However, the propaganda is extended further to beguile the middling to aspire to the ‘middle class’ which having met some of the ‘true middle class’, is out of reach of many of us. As a teacher, the chances of me earning enough to afford private education and ponies is laughable, however I do consider my family with their higher education, own home, use of cous cous and grasp of grammar (I’m sorry Internet) to be quite middle class. Middle class that teeters on a monthly paycheck.

So in essence, I agree.

But.

She worded her argument poorly. In trying to explain that the propaganda has led many people to judge the ‘poor’ by their outward appearance, she appears to have fallen into her own trap.

Jack is described as living in a Beatrice Potter-esq poverty because of the culinary choices she makes. Because she has made healthy choices, or those which have allowed her to stretch her money further by making use of certain ingredients that the poor couldn’t possibly understand like chickpeas and lentils, she is deemed ‘middle class’ (which is now a slur? I think.) Jack certainly writes with eloquence, which flies in the face of the illiterate picture that people on benefits are meant to be.

It seems the argument is unravelling. Or is it?

I think what Jilly was trying to say is that we love Jack because she’s openly trying. She’s found a way to live through the benefits system without becoming the Cameron stereotype. She’s not the scrounger that the government would like us to judge all claimants to be, but a mum doing her best in the worst of circumstances. There are people who just won’t try, or who don’t know how to, but making them villains won’t work (those in glass houses?)

I think Jilly was trying to say, suck it up Cameron, this woman is proving you wrong and is supported not just by the ‘proud working class’.

At least, I hope that’s what she’s saying.

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3 thoughts on “Is middle class a state of mind or a wad of cash?

  1. What I think many people are upset about, and there are perhaps a number of issues I and many other relatively educated and articulate but resolutely Working class people could say, is that yet again a rather privileged rather Champagne socialist type is making unhelpful comments about something she has absolutely no experience about. And somehow to me, that sums up this class society to a tee. The rather privileged and rather comfy, regardless of how mediocre they may be, somehow always seem to land on their feet, whilst many of us Working class people, even when we are ambitious and educated and hardworking, never seem to get a look in. All the best jobs seem to go to the already privileged in effect. You don’t believe me? Look at politics for example, or institutions like the BBC for example. They are both bastions of Middle class privilege, especially politics, whatever hue. There is a great fear it seems of letting genuinely Working class people into these organisations and industries, call them what you will, and many others besides because they will begin to challenge Middle class control and the Middle class advantages the Middle class always have. So they seem to fight tooth and nail to keep us out any way they can. It is pernicious and the same way racism works, on a lesser level perhaps. Look at the Tory Party, virtually ultra privileged posh boys to a man; and the Labour Party where Ed Miliband seems now almost pathologically determined to destroy any chance of Labour getting elected by nitpicking and obsessing over irrelevancies. The Middle class dominate in almost all spheres of life and that needs to be challenged effectively before it will change in any way. There is no effective voice for ordinary people now and no democracy for us. Posho represents the tip of a very big iceberg that needs sinking quite frankly.

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    • Do you not think she has a point though? Whether we like it or not, the reality is we do live in a class system, and all the time those reliant on benefits are assumed to be scoungers and lazy by the voting populous, it makes it easier for the government to cut the budgets.

      As unsavory as it is, because of her background and ability to articulate her struggle in a language that those ‘Champagne Socialists’ understand, Jack actually has the ear of those in power. Her voice is being heard and she’s beginning to make people who are not just in her situation sit up and listen.

      We have an election looming, if more than 30% of voters actually turned up, perhaps the story will change.

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      • Yes she has a point, but is she attacking the system or defending it? I’d say by default she is defending it and the privilege she obviously benefits from. And to be honest, the people who rule KNOW that millions of people are in the sad position Jack is in, because their policies are creating the very problems people are enduring in the first place. And they don’t care. If they did, they wouldn’t be so callous and heartless and cruel.

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