I still think of myself as working-class. I’ve been more middle-class in terms of salary, housing and work than most of my fellow Britons most of my life – but I know I’m not middle-class because so few people really are. To be really middle-class you need some element of financial independence and I’m a mortgage-serf. Most people are deluded into believing they are middle-class.
No political group represents my interests and these really amount (in political terms) to wanting an ample supply of jobs, wages that allow basic living (house, utilities, eating, not being cold, transport, education) without personal debt and being able to borrow reasonable amounts I can repay. The rest would be about establishing world peace and sustainable ways of living in such. I believe such matters require democratic military and policing, so these are important to me too, along with freedom under reasonable, non-religious law. Government, such as I accept it, must be genuinely free of corruption and under the wide control of all people.
I was a grammar school lad, so most of my mates went off to other schools when I was eleven. They were nearly all in employment when I continued in 6th form, where I was in another minority doing science subjects. I went to university, the biggest educational disappointment of my life, until doctoral study (which was worse).
Nearly all my peers at primary school were white and English by birth. They were nearly all working in their late teenage years or in further and higher education. I’m 60 and have seen the situation decline for 40 years – which is more or less (as economist) the point at which the economy went from ‘real’ to ‘financial-fictitious’. I’m not particularly concerned that our population has become substantially foreign, other than in the extent this has destroyed full employment for our own, and in the ugly re-appearance of religion.
My grandson is now 14 and his peer group, in much the same part of the country I grew up in is very different. Unemployment and the likelihood of it is prevalent and the chances of long-term jobs other than in professions like teaching are very poor. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have produced a report revealing some of this today. I haven’t found the report itself yet, but media reporting suggests it takes the form of a polite statement of the bleedin’ obvious that middle-class researchers can’t avoid.
We were able to employ nearly all my childhood peer group – most of those who went off to secondary moderns were able to do quite well jobwise. This has not been the case for nearly thirty years and is a disgrace. What’s been on offer to them is more and more useless education – an education not worthy of the name. Many kids are getting six years more “education” than was generally available in my day – and much of the really productive job-based training has gone.
Not a single political party is interested in any of this and its why I don’t vote. In the meantime the ‘Bell-curve’ remains much the same yet “educational attainment” forever rises and employers complain ever more strongly that our people lack job skills and basic educational standards. These are flat contradictions and the underlying truth is that our education system is lying in concert with our politicians – much as police statistics are gamed.
We need radical change and are currently not even able to get this talked about. Descriptions on Gadget and other blogs need to be taken seriously and without the usual blame game on welfare scroungers and the plentiful availability of jobs they could get,