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To be irritated when people confuse 'middle class' with 'super rich'

(117 Posts)
Echobelly Sat 26-May-18 09:17:49

Obviously, this is not an issue that will cause anyone to man the barricades, but I do get annoyed when people talk about 'middle class Arabellas riding their ponies' (that's not middle class, that's posh! though I know in rural areas having a pony might be more ordinary) or the Mail yesterday had a piece claiming that having a second home in the UK and a third abroad was 'the ultimate middle class hat-trick'. Uhm, middle class people are often struggling to afford one house, let alone 3. You're thinking of people of 6-figure City salaries who get million quid bonuses!

I suppose there is a slightly more serious side to this in that posh politicians like the Osborns and Camerons of this world always liked to claim they are 'middle class' - presumably in their terms this means 'not everyone in our family has a title'. And if they think middle class = multiple homes and kids in private schools, they won't understand actual issues for large swathes of the population. They won't understand that middle class people can't just sell one of their homes if they're in a spot of bother, or don't have a trust fund and might be finding it hard to save for good pensions or savings in general on top of living and childcare costs.

But I don't get the point of this media misrepresentation - just to sow more envy amongst people by making them thinking everyone else must be doing better than them, and that sells papers?

PretABoire Sat 26-May-18 09:22:30

I always thought upper class was gentry and the mega rich, old money mostly. Upper middle class is definitely a thing, which is what it sound like you’re talking about. I have an uncle with ponies and several homes abroad and in uk but I’d still think of him as middle class. A lot of people believe they are born into it - Alan Sugar being working class for example.

LifeBeginsAtGin Sat 26-May-18 09:24:45

Is this a Tory bash in disguise?

littlegreyhare Sat 26-May-18 09:26:10

You do realise that 'middle class' includes quite a large proportion of the population don't you? I have middle class friends with a small house rented out for investment and they certainly aren't working in the City with huge bonuses. Also know loads of people with ponies who have normal jobs.

As for having a pony being 'posh' that is just hilarious, can you not be middle class and posh? Posh isn't a class you know...

Stop reading the Daily Mail perhaps?

sothisisspring Sat 26-May-18 09:26:59

I think class is more about education and attitudes than money. I would say I'm middle class, however as a qualified teacher according to the government Im not, I'm not a professional and will never be a higher rate tax payer.

TeenTimesTwo Sat 26-May-18 09:28:56

2 houses and ponies I would say was upper-middle and not 'super rich'

Super rich is surely mansions in 2 continents, private jets etc.

Echobelly Sat 26-May-18 09:31:47

I don't actually read the DM, just saw it mentioned on Twitter.

I'm aware my view is London centric - I guess it may be easier to own two homes if you're middle class and don't live here! But all the same, buying three homes these days would take something significantly above an average salary, IMO.

littlegreyhare Sat 26-May-18 09:31:51

My friend with the extra house and pony is definitely not upper-middle class and absolutely not super rich. I know that must appear to be very well off in comparison to many people but yes I agree that super rich is mansions, jets, never needing to work etc. They both work, the pony cost peanuts and they keep it in the back garden, yes big back garden but rural area far cheaper than lots of places. The other house is small in a big city for rental and was added to their existing mortgage. That really isn't the definition of super rich, comfortably off and middle middle class at best.

littlegreyhare Sat 26-May-18 09:33:05

OP so you live in London? I have to laugh, your house is probably worth far more than lots of 'posh' people who own ponies houses are worth!

topcat2014 Sat 26-May-18 09:33:44

@sothisisspring - I will happily award you middle class status smile

But then, I have always known that it what I am and comfortable with it.

Governments like to keep people in their place, tbh.

littlegreyhare Sat 26-May-18 09:33:49

Yes it would take significantly more than the average salary but that is still light years away from being super rich.

MaudlinMews Sat 26-May-18 09:34:00

Class has very little to do with money.

You can be upper class and poor and working class and rich. The middle class is now huge and there are various tribes (showy lower middles, scruffy middle middles, aristo-aping upper middles etc..) I know a few women with horses/ponies but theyre all working or lower middle class.

Where have you seen this OP? Can you quote?

AvoidingDM Sat 26-May-18 09:35:55

I don't know why people describe themselves as middle class regardless of the job you do if work for a living, your working class.

Some tradesmen blue-collar/ working class will be earning as much if not more than some degree qualified suits!

littlegreyhare Sat 26-May-18 09:36:11

Daily Mail via Twitter - says it all really .

Peanutbuttercups21 Sat 26-May-18 09:36:36

The thing is, you don't become upper class by being rich. The upper class is something you are born into, it's not to do with money but who your family are.

Upper middle class is what Osborne/Cameron etc are... as far as I know, moneyed yes but not titled

Why does it matter anyway? As an immigrant I am happily classless here, which suits me!

VogueVVague Sat 26-May-18 09:38:09

They mean upper middle class.

To be actually upper class you need to come from aristocrat stock.

littlegreyhare Sat 26-May-18 09:38:11

That isn't really true is it AvoidingDM I would say working in a canteen is vastly different to being a ground breaking scientist working at the vanguard of cancer research or space exploration etc. It is about so many different aspects than what you earn or what you do for a living though.

kaytee87 Sat 26-May-18 09:39:01

I don't know why people describe themselves as middle class regardless of the job you do if work for a living, your working class

Incorrect, the middle classes have always worked in professions. It's the upper classes that don't work/independently wealthy.

MaudlinMews Sat 26-May-18 09:39:20

Ah, just seen your Twitter comment. Well then really its just one person’s opinion isnt it?

Around here you can buy three nice houses for a grand total of £300,000 so certainly not rich by anyone’s standards. To me, rich is living luxuriously off investments.

FriendlyOcelot Sat 26-May-18 09:39:26

Hairs are going to be split on the this thread, op, with people piling in to say “but I’ve got a pony and I’m working class”. Perhaps you should have avoided the pony stereotype and said that you resent the Mail’s insinuation that to be mc you have to be able to afford an array of luxuries including private schools and three houses.

Anyway I’m not sure what the problem is; nothing that the Mail hacks write is worth the paper it’s written on. Class definition encompasses more than money eg cultural interests, level of education, family background etc.

I really wouldn’t sweat about anything the Mail says about class definition or anything else for that matter grin

Babdoc Sat 26-May-18 09:41:33

If your income is over £70,000 pa then you are in the top 5% of earners in the U.K.
Therefore “middle” class people should have an income between £23,000 (the U.K. median) and £70,000. That doesn’t sound like multiple homes and ponies territory to me!
However, Britain has a hugely complicated class structure that has little to do with money and much more to do with birth, accents, and attitudes. Traditionally there was huge reverence for money inherited from ancestors who grabbed land in battles, and much disdain for money earned by hard work. People were sneered at for being nouveau riche, or “trade”. Houses even had separate “tradesmen’s entrances”, and people would be judged for not knowing which fork to use at table or calling a napkin a serviette, etc.
As for accents - George Bernard Shaw commented that “ No Englishman can open his mouth without another Englishman despising him”. We have a long way to go in this country before we all regard each other as equal in the sight of God!

Madonnasmum Sat 26-May-18 09:42:43

This is where the class system is dated. True middle class is for proffesions only, Doctors, Solicitors and teachers etc. The rest of us, wether we like it or not are working class. Even though some working class jobs can out earn a teacher it still makes you working class!
I am working class btw.

strixowl Sat 26-May-18 09:43:37

Tbf, when you're very poor working class, middle-class does seem relatively rich.

Rocinante1 Sat 26-May-18 09:44:36

Ha! I spent have mt childhood on my granparents farm. I had ponies... But also had to work my butt off to help out with general farm chores... was I upper class?

My parents ended up doing very well for themselves and now own multiple properties; I'd never have to work if I didn't want too (I'm a business owner so I do) but our lifestyle in my late teens (with no ponies) was much better than my lifestyle when I had ponies.

Sprinklesinmyelbow Sat 26-May-18 09:44:42

Being middle class isn’t related to income. My parents are working class (him: plumber her: administrator) and they have 2 homes and a holiday home and this isn’t uncommon at all amongst their peers, even if they holiday home is a touring caravan.

We are probably emergent middle class ( not fully middle class due to working class backgrounds) and both earn more than the top 5% of earners but not really in holiday home/ pony territory although we do lots of things my parents couldn’t afford

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