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To not understand they UK class war???

(236 Posts)
Notcontent Sun 25-Nov-12 22:57:14

Right, so I was just reading the "not fitting in on MN" thread and that got me thinking about something i have thought about many times: why is it that there seems to be a bit of a class war - the whole work class versus middle class thing. I just don't understand it. I have lived in the UK for quite some time, but I just don't get it.

Why, for example, it is seen as a middle class thing for children to eat vegetables?? This is actually very personal to me, because I have just discovered that my dd is being picked on at school about the contents of her lunch box. Now it seems I know why.

fridgepants Mon 26-Nov-12 00:30:34

My dad lived in Singapore so we regularly ate curries and rice dishes with things from the Chinese supermarket. My schoolfriend, on the other hand, stated she did not like 'foreign food' and refused even to try pizza, because it was never cooked at home.

acceptableinthe80s Mon 26-Nov-12 00:36:04

Class war is alive and kicking. Take a look at the hair dye thread.

LucieMay Mon 26-Nov-12 00:37:12

takataka I think class is very much a northern concern! Like you, I feel wc through and through. My father is now retired and has/d an income and property and savings that would easily put him into the middle class arena, but he still considers himself working class through and through. I agree with him that class can be a much more subtle distinction that money, or even education or job (although the latter obviously plays a big part)- it is more of an attitude and lifestyle.

HelpOneAnother Mon 26-Nov-12 00:49:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 07:47:31

OP, I am utterly confused with the class thing. On one hand it seems to be about money, but on the other hand you get people who are quite well off, but they are still chavvy and not very well educated. It is also meant to depend upon your family, although you can have rich parents and not earn much or vice versa.

Can you get poor middle class people and affluent working class people? Idk.

Everybody seems to want to be middle class, but I think you're only really middle class if you own your home outright and your parents paid for you to go to school, or you pay for your children to go to school. To my mind, if you don't fit that criteria, your still working class, but aspiring to be middle class.

Tbh I don't think it matters though, but being a good person does.

lljkk Mon 26-Nov-12 07:51:27

I don't think eating veggies in lunchbox is MC. The most vulgar people I know used to send mostly salad in for their child's lunch.

I do think that being subscribing to "my child eats veggies & there's something deeply profoundly wrong with your parenting if your child doesn't eat want to eat salad and fruit" IS a particularly MC prejudice. It's the opinion not the action that counts.

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 26-Nov-12 07:52:32

That's where it went wrong then, if thatcher <spit> didn't sell off the council houses WC wouldn't of become Wanabee MC.

There's upper mc like the middletons and there's lower MC and then there is Middle MC that cycle to the library and and eat from m&s.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 08:02:08

To make matters even more confusing, you have the MC people who are very into their status symbols and they have to have own certain MC items and their houses are always immaculate. But, they are usually mortgaged up to the hilt and have a lot of debt.

On the other hand, there are MC people who think conspicuous displays of wealth are rather vulgar, they drive old bangers, their houses are a mess and their clothes are very old - but they probably have an alotment and make a lot of preserves and actually own their own houses and have no debt.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 08:02:48

Bugger, brain hasn't started working properly yet this morning and I'm writing bollocks - sorry!

cat Mon 26-Nov-12 08:05:35

Only people with no class care about what class they or other people are.



InNeedOfBrandy Mon 26-Nov-12 08:05:40

Yes if they're old money then wealth is vulgar if they're new money then it's new hunters and cars and they're houses are immaculate with f&v paint.

Oh mc try and copy upper class by not washing the dc and brushing they're hair.

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 26-Nov-12 08:06:20


FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 08:16:25

Very true cat!

InNeedOfBrandy, you're onto something there.

The poshest people I've met (very MC as in Middletons MC) have been incredibly nice people, no snobby veiled put downs or stealth boasting about the new Landrover etc. They were actually very down to earth.

I guess it's because they feel very secure about money etc.

MariaMandarin Mon 26-Nov-12 08:26:56

Class is a massive issue in this country. I don't see how some posters can say that it doesn't exist. Maybe they live in an area where everyone is very similar, because in my experience it's the critical dividing factor between people. We have one of the highest rates of mixed race marriage in this country and that's because class, not race, is the defining factor by which people identify themselves and others.

wordfactory Mon 26-Nov-12 08:30:56

Class is still a massive issue in this country.

However, due to globalisation and the peculiar economics of the UK many of the traditional middle classes find themselves no better off financially that the working they reinforce the indicators of being middle class and everyhting from lunch boxes to what toy a child plays with becomes a class indicator.

It's pretty pathetic but it's very important to the nouveau pauvre.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 08:33:43

I don't think it's very trendy to admit to being aware of class issues. People know that it's 'lower class' to be bothered about it, so they pretend they're not.

I find the whole class thing very interesting, especially the angst of MC people when worrying about what their lifestyle and consumption says about their social status.

wordfactory Mon 26-Nov-12 08:37:48

Me too funbag.

I find people's need to display their middel class credentials hilarious. Especially when said people are skint grin. Then the need for dispaly becomes really enlarged.

Parenting, in particular brings out displays of laughable proportions.

FredFredGeorge Mon 26-Nov-12 08:46:42

I think there are large groups of people where class doesn't matter - and those posters don't see it. Those people are ones in professions or have interests that are not split by class, so meet all sorts of people and couldn't identify an individuals class - could perhaps as an exercise but not otherwise.

If instead you work in a class based profession, do recretional activities more defined by class (The Gymkhana / Greyhound Racing groups are reasonably distinct) then you see it much more, because class does define what you do - but only through the activities.

CailinDana Mon 26-Nov-12 08:48:13

"Nouveau pauvre" grin

Looking at it as an outsider (Irish) the class thing seems very obvious to me. Something DH and I noticed when we were looking for a house is just how cheap ex council houses are. Presumably because no one with money wants to live in a "working class" area. DH works in a very MC environment (university) and when we moved to the our current city and we were looking for a house we were warned off a few different areas by his colleagues as, apparently, they were "rough." We investigated for ourselves and ended up buying in one of these "forbidden" areas. It isn't rough at all! It's working class, definitely, but it's absolutely lovely, and the house we bought is far far bigger and at least £40,000, yes forty thousand pounds cheaper than houses in "better" areas. We were totally non-plussed - it seems completely idiotic to disregard to large, extremely cheap well built, solid houses in a wonderful area just because they happen to have the curse that is "ex-council" hanging over them. But then if people didn't have the prejudice then we wouldn't have got such a cheap house so I suppose I shouldn't complain!

DH's colleagues are definitely bemused at where we've chosen to live. Some of them have even said that in a few years when DH is earning more we can move to a different area - despite us having no intention of moving and us making it clear that we're very happy where we are. They just can't seem to get out of their head that any place that has council housing is automatically rife with crime and drugs. If they actually came here they would see a lovely community, a beautiful park, and an outstanding primary school. The funniest thing of all is that DH's boss has been the most vocal about this, and yet she lives literally just outside our area - across the road from the "border" and can see for herself that the area is fine. What she can't get over I think is that she paid £80,000 more than us for a smaller house, simply because it's not tarred by "council plague".

TheShriekingHarpy Mon 26-Nov-12 08:50:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CailinDana Mon 26-Nov-12 08:55:04

Even my next door neighbour warned me that the parents in the local toddler "might not be my type." She lives in the area out of necessity rather than choice and considers it beneath her, and also beneath me (I must give off a MC vibe!) despite the fact that she admits it's a great place to live <boggle>
The aim when buying a house seems to be to find a place where "people like you" live - ie people with the same class level.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 08:58:51

CailinDana - A lot of old council houses that were built before a certain date are very spacious and have good sized gardens. There were regulations concerning how large rooms should be etc. They are probably better quility builds than many of the new houses that are knocked up today.

FredFredGeorge - class doesn't matter to everyone, but if you grew up in a family where it did, then you're going to be aware of it.

mercibucket Mon 26-Nov-12 08:59:12

Excellent book 'chavs: the demonisation of the working class'

There is a class war, the rich against the poor. You see it in the 'chav' stereotype, so anything considered working class is derided and stereotyped. There is a great deal of social segregation in this country as well, so it is possible to live, go to school, go to work and only meet people of the same social class as you. Working class as a concept is being replaced by lower middle class or chav - a variant on the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor

HullyEastergully Mon 26-Nov-12 09:01:13

OP, really?

You really wonder?

Have you been living in a box?

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 09:03:53

What I don't understand it why the term 'working class' is now used to describe people who are unemployed. Don't working class people work by definition?

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