How the news would look if everyone stopped waffling and told the truth.
Sunday, 21 October 2012
Class: The Dead Hand Holding Back The Country.
In the offhand manner common amongst those who see themselves as upper class, Andrew Mitchell's use of the word "pleb" has taken the lid off what is fundamentally wrong with Britain. Class in this country is used to hide a multitude of institutionalised abuses of what the British like to pretend is a meritocratic democracy. Chief amongst those who worship the unthinking class divisions in our society are politicians. They take it as read that they should travel first class, especially when the mode of transport is generally of a poor standard, because travelling with the rest of us would undermine their dignity. They pretend this is not so, citing such concerns as security or the need to work without being distracted by the rowdy hoi pollei. But even when they are insulated from the common people in private transport they insist on getting only the best. Thus Ed Milliband sees nothing incongruous about turning up to a TUC-led demonstration in a Rolls Royce. Nor does he see anything incongruous in regarding public spending cuts as something that should be shouldered only by the poorer members of society. Class is the very foundation of austerity, falling unequally on those with less, while prosperity is the sole prserve of the already wealthy. A grandson of Sir Winston Churchill Rupert Soames, talking on the BBC news channel today, summed up Britain's class distinctions when he said, in all seriousness, that going to Eton and an Oxbridge university bequeaths no advantage if you have no real ability. His own chosen area of business in engineering he freely admits was considered to be "eccentric" by his peers who mainly entered the banking industry - and we all know how well the banking industry has been run. Rupert Soames runs a very successful business building and renting out generators but he didn't get where he is through taking an apprenticeship and working his way up from the shop floor. He is where he is because of his privileged background not despite it. In a fairer world in which people are judged by their actual abillity rather than the imagined ability that a privileged background bestows, would someone like George Osborne be Chancellor of the Exchequer or David Cameron be Prime Minister? Of course it hasn't always been like this. After the end of World War II Britain did enter a brief period when merit trumped privilege. But it didn't last long and now a new generation of privileged nonentities have managed to use their wealth and social contacts to hijack the state once again and, using the world financial crisis that they created as cover, are determined to turn back the clock.