More creepy coincidence! This weekend at least three different publications have articles on the destruction, or at least, the disappearance, of the middle class. Ed West and Fraser Nelson have written a joint article in this week's Spectator. They both skate rather rapidly past any definition of what constitutes the middle class:
Just as Britain has an unwritten constitution, so the values of the middle class
have been tacitly understood — even if they have proven difficult to define.
‘England,’ declared the Liberal MP Charles Masterman in 1909, ‘is the tone and
temper which the ideals and determinations of the middle class has stamped upon
it.’ Advocating the Great Reform Act, Lord Brougham put it even better. ‘By the
people, I mean the middle classes,’ he said, ‘the wealth and intelligence of the
country. The glory of the British name.’ The Conservative party, when it has
been most successful, has sought to define and champion the middle class — or,
more importantly, its ideals. David Cameron tries, still, now and again. His
government, he likes to say, is on the side of ‘hard-working people who do the
Not exactly scientific but then they are writing an essay not a volume of social history - a doubtful discipline at the best of times. However, they have a rather neat idea of what has happened over recent decades because they point out that a quick glance at the cabinet will tell you that we are now governed by toffs again, starting with the Chancellor who is an heir to a baronetcy, he and the prime minister are amongst 21 millionaires ruling the country. Nothing much will change when - and if! - Ed 'Milipede' wins the next election because he's another millionaire. Obviously these politicians need votes and, as 'Brown & Balls the Broker's Men' discovered, it is essential to try and create a poverty-ridden lower class utterly dependent on state handouts in order to gain the necessary votes. If Brown had had the guts to go to the country just before the financial crash does anyone think 'Dim Dave' would have won?
The middle class which, if it stood for anything stood for sturdy independence, is being squeezed out of existence because the last thing a government, any government, needs is people who think they are independent. By his policies, the Chancellor is inflating asset prices which suits his rich chums with houses in London now selling to beleaguered foreigners for stratospheric prices and is taxing the middle class in order to pay for governmental largesse aimed at the feckless who are happy to live on handouts. At the same time, and this is truly worrying, middle class jobs are rapidly coming under pressure from new technologies. For example, why go to school and sit inf front of a boring teacher if you can take a course at home in front of your computer? And even if you do, what's the point if potential employers can employ Asians to do the middle class jobs at a fraction of the price?
The times they are a-changin'!