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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