Features

The strange death of the British middle class

The great stabilising force in our society is disappearing fast

24 August 2013

24 August 2013

To Voltaire, the British class system could be summed up in a sentence. The people of these islands, he said, ‘are like their own beer; froth on top, dregs at bottom, the middle excellent’. A harsh judgment, perhaps, but one that might still have some truth  in it today. Yes, we have horrible poverty in our council estates and toffery on our country estates. But Britain is a country that has always taken pride in what we think of as middle-class virtues — hard work, honesty, thrift and self-help.

Today, however, we are witnessing the strange death of the middle class. In Britain, as in the United States, it isn’t just being squeezed — it is actually shrinking and sinking. This is the most disturbing social change of our age and will probably dominate your children’s lives. The lifestyle that the average earner had half a century ago — reasonably sized house, dependable healthcare, a decent education for the children and a reliable pension — is becoming the preserve of the rich. Middle-class pensioners look on amazed at how their children, now into adulthood, seem to have a far harder time.

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 right thing’.

And how might you define the right thing? Studying hard at school and university, finding a job, getting married, saving money and buying a house. For those who did that, Britain has been — until recently — a superb place to live. Evelyn Waugh wrote Brideshead Revisited in 1945 as a requiem for a ruling class that he thought would be supplanted by a new, regnant middle. This seemed to arrive in the Thatcher government, in the ascendancy of a grocer’s daughter from Grantham who revered small businessmen and savers. It struck many as crude, certainly déclassé. But it seemed to represent a transfer of power from the well-born elite and towards a self-confident middle class.

How different things seem now. A look at the cabinet gives a fairly representative sample of trends in British life, with the sons and daughters of the elite again running the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is heir to a baronetcy. And alongside the Chancellor and the Prime Minister at the table are 21 fellow millionaires— including Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader. And Ed Miliband, as Labour leader, denounces them all from the comfort of his own £2 million house. The same trends are true in the media, judiciary and even the world of sport — a third of Britain’s 2012 Olympic medallists were privately -educated.

This trend seems set to continue. George Osborne’s so-called recovery is being driven by the incomes of the wealthy. For the best-paid 1 per cent, the boom years never stopped. They now collect 14 per cent of all the money paid in salaries in Britain, a record high. Meanwhile the average earner has taken a real-terms pay cut of about 10 per cent since the crash — and this is not expected to improve. Government figures suggest it will take until 2020 for the average salary to get back to where it was in 2010. The middle class is suffering what Sir Mervyn (now Lord) King described as the longest squeeze in living memory. But for the richest, these are the best of times.

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It’s is no accident. Mark Carney, the new Bank of England governor, has said he’ll continue with the policy of quantitative easing, which explicitly aims to revive the economy by inflating the value of assets. Most valuable assets are, of course, owned by the wealthy — especially by the London establishment. While houses in Northern Ireland are still worth less than half what they were at the time of the crash, the value of property in the capital soars higher and higher. By some estimates, house prices in Westminster have risen by an extraordinary 70 per cent since the crash. For MPs who own homes near the Commons, it’s a bonanza.

Middle-class people don’t even enjoy talking about house prices at dinner parties any more; it’s just too depressing. But then dinner parties are becoming a difficult expense, given that child care now accounts for a quarter of all spending for the average two-income family. One fifth of people earning over £66,000 say that they cannot afford family holidays abroad. Two fifths of those people are failing to save anything, with their salary being entirely consumed by the basics. The middle classes who can afford to pay for school fees for their children often do so at the expense of all their own luxuries — yet they know it will be money well spent. Nothing defines the life chances of a British teenager more than whether their parents managed to afford fees.

Take Michael Gove, who was adopted by an Aberdeen fishmonger. His father noticed his talent and managed to send him to Robert Gordon’s College, a private school. The Gove family went without foreign holidays and new cars to meet the fees — an investment which paid off spectacularly. But not many fishmongers could afford to do that now. Gordon’s is charging £11,200 a year. That’s a third of the price levied by Eton and St Paul’s. But the average fishmonger earns just £15,000.

Respectable middle-class jobs do not pay what they once did. A number of factors are at play here, but the most significant is technology and competition from abroad, which wiped out large numbers of working-class jobs in the last century and threatens to do the same to middle-class jobs now. When goods and services can be imported at a pittance from overseas, the Brits who used to provide these services see their income squeezed.

Jaron Lanier, the Silicon Valley philosopher and author of Who Owns The Future?, has shown how technology and the free-flow of information are removing secure, middle-class jobs. Far from being egalitarian, the digital revolution has reduced financial rewards for those in the middle — and concentrated wealth at the very top. While outsourcing of clerical work is hardly new, it has started to affect the middle office — not just the back office. Once, it was production-line workers who found themselves laid off and their jobs shipped to the Far East. Now it’s research chemists, paralegals and clerks who are finding their jobs outsourced. Firms such as Microsoft, Pfizer and Philips increasingly carry out their research in China.

Stephen Overell of the Work Foundation has warned of ‘an ongoing hollowing-out of the middle ranks in the British job market’, as managers and administrators are being replaced by software. Michael Boehm, an academic at the London School of Economics and author of a paper on job polarisation, says that technology and ‘offshoring’ mean that the average American income ‘has not increased since the 1980s, and Britain is similar’. His conclusion: ‘The middle class is shrinking, in terms of jobs and wages.’

The rise of the super-rich has brought with it cultural and political changes, especially in an era when parties rely on the generosity of billionaires rather than mass membership. New Labour was an attempted middle-class takeover of the Labour party, which at the same time subverted all those middle-class values the uptight bourgeoisie held dear. Peter Mandelson famously declared himself to be ‘intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich’. Neither seemed too worried about the destruction of pensions — and with it, the basic principle that those who put money away should be guaranteed a decent retirement.

In his book The Decline and Fall of the British Middle Class, Patrick Hutber identified ‘thrift’ as a definable middle-class virtue. But in today’s Britain, it is actively punished. The individual savings account — or Isa — seemed to have been invented in homage to thrift, allowing people to save cash tax-free. But Treasury policies have now floored savings rates, and the holders of all normal cash Isas must accept interest below the rate of inflation. So savers lose money, year after year, due to official Bank of England policy. It is as if the government is now at war with the very notion of thrift.

This changes a country. Children will no longer grow up watching their deposits grow in a Post Office bank account, and will struggle to understand the point of delayed financial gratification. In today’s Britain, putting cash into a savings account is a mug’s game. Instead, we seem to be nurturing a winner-takes-all economic model — middle-class children can be forgiven for adopting the ‘get rich or die trying’ ethos of gangster rappers. They grow up pinning their hopes on the scratchcard, the rollover jackpot or The X Factor. It seems impossible to save your way to a comfortable life.

Even work is essentially pointless if the aim is to live as our grandparents did. Unless they can get a job in finance, the next generation will find it very hard to live in the gentrified suburbs their parents still inhabit. Even the NHS cannot be relied upon as it once was, but private healthcare is out of reach. Little wonder that emigration levels are running so high in Britain, now at 400 a day, with Canada and Australia among the top -destinations. The exodus is ignored, due to our obsession with -immigration, but a disproportionate number of the leavers are from the skilled middle class, looking for good schools, decent houses and safe streets that seem beyond their reach here.

The recent protests in Brazil and Turkey reflect the frustration of the rising middle classes. The economies of Britain and America may now be transforming into the same hourglass shape that once characterised those of emerging countries. But unlike in the developing world, our middle classes — the great stabilising force in our society — are falling fast. It’s hard to imagine the British bourgeoisie taking to the streets, but someday soon they might turn around and say: ‘Sorry, but we’re really rather mad and we’re not going to take it any more.’


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  • NotYouNotSure

    The middle class are for Western elites like the proletarian class are for the Marxists, there is this almost sacred aura around this class that magically makes all the good things the elite think should happen, to question the sacredness of this class is heresy, but I am going to question it.

    When ivory tower intellectuals celebrate the proletarian or the middle class they are basically celebrating mediocracy, the average person, the unspectacular. Obviously only so many can be at the top, regardless of how society is structured, but there are other things that can stabilise society, things like nationalism, religion and dare I mention the unmentionable, ethnic homogeneity. Those things are all now bad things and are not allowed anymore, so now the only thing left for conservative ideal is the “middle class”, I see it as Marxist principle without requiring to call yourself a Marxist.

    • David Lindsay

      dare I mention the unmentionable, ethnic homogeneity

      Obviously not.

      But do have another go.

    • CelticAngloPress
    • tolpuddle1

      How the eff can nationalism stabilise society ? – it causes wars. And Capitalism has abolished patriotism. As for religion, it’s based upon sincere personal faith (sometimes with radical implications), not a wish to “stabilise society.”

      Your second para reads like Nietzsche – if you want stability, though (rather than the Superman) you’d better settle for the mediocre and unspectacular. Not that there’s anything “Super” about the Global Elite, other than greed, arrogance and self-destructiveness, of course.

  • J K

    “Respectable middle-class jobs do not pay what they once did. A number of factors are at play here, but the most significant is technology and competition from abroad, which wiped out large numbers of working-class jobs in the last century and threatens to do the same to middle-class jobs now. When goods and services can be imported at a pittance from overseas, the Brits who used to provide these services see their income squeezed.

    Jaron Lanier, the Silicon Valley philosopher and author of Who Owns The Future?, has shown how technology and the free-flow of information are removing secure, middle-class jobs. Far from being egalitarian, the digital revolution has reduced financial rewards for those in the middle — and concentrated wealth at the very top.”

    Marx only pointed out this would happen 150 years ago – well done to the Spectator for finally catching up.

    • pearlsandoysters

      According to some sources (David Harvey) technology contributes much more to the loss of the middle class jobs than outsourcing does. My guess is that the middle classes emerged partly due to the nation-states coming into being. Nowadays, it positively looks that nation states are being merged or submerged by international guilds (corporations), so that those who belong into these huge bodies benefit much more than citizens of developed countries.

      • simontmn

        Interesting point.

        • zanegray

          The middle classes thrived on protected markets which have been destroyed by those who benefit from such destruction.

          Al Capone would have understood these economic forces well.

    • Anna Kristiina Nielander

      where exactly did Marx point out the effects of globalisation, pray tell?

  • David Webb

    The Brazilianisation of our economy (concentration of wealth at the top) follows the Brazilianisation of our demography via immigration. The immigrants and their descendants will largely vote for state spending, obviously – in the long term, the Conservative Party will not be competitive – and our decline will be irreversible.

    • greggf

      “The immigrants and their descendants will largely vote for state spending” etc., seems persuasive David – yet, why did the USSR collapse?

      • Catoii

        The Soviet Union didn’t collapse. It merely rebranded itself. It replaced the Marxist veneer with a democratic one, but Russia is the same authoritarian kleptocracy that it has always been.

        • greggf

          The USSR collapsed Cat.
          There is no Soviet Union any more.
          Russia re-emerged, and all the satellite states became independent and many are in the EU, while the rest aspire to be!
          There is an organisation called the CIS which may be the classed as the remains of the USSR, but it seems of little use because, as I said, the old Soviet Union states either, are members of, or want to join the EU.

          Whilst I agree that the Russian state has not changed its spots, the privatized part is far more significant and which challenges the notion that “voters will (always) vote for state spending leading to irreversible decline”.

        • Baron

          On the same basis you may argue we’ve replaced the capitalistic veneer with a pseudo Marxist one what with the minimum wage, heaps of legislation regulating employment, the Health and Safety stuff…

          • Catoii

            You’re nearly correct. However, the ever-thinning veneer remains capitalist, while the structure underneath has gradually changed over into a massive autocratic bureaucracy, inspired by Marxist socialism, especially cultural Marxism and the Marxist Frankfurt School dominating our education. We are hollowing out from within, as predicted by the Marxists from 50-80 years ago, who embarked then on the relentless march through the institutions, until they now control nearly every one of them.

        • Anna Kristiina Nielander

          what utter rubbish, I cannot speak for Russia, but the former Baltic republics are certainly burgeoning capitalist countries, for better, or worse. Lived there much, Catoli?

          • Catoii

            “I cannot speak for Russia….”

            Well, I thought it was obvious that I meant primarily Russia, which of course was the core of the Soviet Union. I applaud the Baltic countries for their embrace of liberal democracy and relatively free markets. But they represent only a tiny sliver of the former Soviet Union. Several of the other breakaway republics, such as Belarus and most of the Central Asian ones, remain brutally autocratic.

            Let’s see — at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse, its total population was 293 million. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have a combined population of a little more than 6 million. What I wrote was “utter rubbish” because I neglected to mention the exception of some 2% of the Soviet Union’s former population? I think my statement was far more representative of the broader situation than yours. if anyone here is full of “rubbish,” it isn’t me.

          • Anna Kristiina Nielander

            I hear you Catoli. Still, former Soviet Union hasn’t ‘merely rebranded’ itself – whatever amalgam of ideologies it seems to presently exhibit, it certainly isn’t
            s t a t e c a p i t a l i s m that was once at the core of the country. As already said, you haven’t lived there, which I have – in the Baltic states as well as in Russia; both during the Soviet Union and now. It seems that you really haven’t delved into the subject matter deeply enough to formulate an educated (read: multifaceted, contradictory, complex – all of which are hallmarks of an extensive peruse) opinion on it. Your statement would be akin to a claim that Britain – where I also have lived, extensively – is really a feudal country, what with their class system and whatnot, never mind their veneer of liberal democracy.

      • Baron

        The USSR collapsed for the same reason we’re going to. Not enough money in the kitty, the entitlement culture will see to it.

        • greggf

          I think that’s the answer Baron.
          Hyperinflation Weimar-style seems destined to engulf one or more of the “entitlement cultures” in the West.
          Then the voters may choose to avenge their cause of ruination…..

    • matimal

      If you want to see what an English language Brazil-style society is like, go to Atlanta, Houston, or much of Florida.

    • tolpuddle1

      The Brazilianization of our economy was performed by Mrs Thatcher in the 1980’s. The defeat of the NUM was conducted by Latin American methods, too.

      It’s very sad that you see the Right-wing elite (who despise the middle-class) as friends of the middle-class, when it’s desperately obvious that they aren’t.

      Mass-immigration (the free movement of labour) is a consequence of globalisation and praised (discreetly, nowadays) by right-wing politicians and economists.

      I thought you Tory boys liked global capitalism – having cold feet now, are you?

      • justejudexultionis

        Your comment is correct.

      • tjamesjones

        We do like global capitalism, no cold feet here.

        • tolpuddle1

          Probably best then, that you should brace yourself for a post-Capitalist world.

      • MikeF

        “The defeat of the NUM was conducted by Latin American methods” – I don’t remember any miners being ‘disappeared’, though I seem to remember that by responding vigorously to some miltary adventurism by an authoritarian Latin American government that did murder its opponents the British government of the day helped facilitate its removal. Now who was Prime Minister at the time….

  • 15peter20

    “Unless they can get a job in finance, the next generation will find it very hard to live in the gentrified suburbs their parents still inhabit.”

    Didn’t understand this bit. Surely *someone* has to live there? But the next generation is dividing sharply between the have-well-off-parents and the have-not-well-off-parents; for those outside the City it is difficult to get a deposit any other way.

    • Vrai écossais

      Ed and Fraser live in London and this is purely a London phenomena. London has nothing to do with the rest of the UK and it does not reflect the rest of the UK in house prices, economically or racially.

    • quest_for_zero_defekt

      Vrai is right, this is mostly a South East problem where foreign money dominates and distorts the property market to a shocking degree. It is also why most countries have quite strict rules on the foreign ownership of property.

      • e2toe4

        Agree all that.. (and with tongue slightly in cheek..I think) I don’t mind selling the water down from oop North to London..£1 a litre… £20 a shower..£40 a bath.

        C’mon guys it’s just a free market.. ‘you’ rip us off with things like network rail, confusion pricing, and political policies bent towards the asset rich..and we flog you our water…?

  • Marcus

    Good article.

    Just one point which you don’t quite address correctly.

    Gove’s reforms mean that you will soon be able to send your child to a ‘free’ school that is decent. So fishmongers won’t feel obliged to send their children to an increasingly unaffordable private school.
    It’s a tale of increasing middle class demand and an excellent politician meeting it:
    as private schools became too expensive for the middle classes, an alternative had to be sought. The unions had to be tackled and beaten. Now for the first time in a generation the education which the middle classes paid for, can be used by them without having to feign religious affiliation, save for extra tuition.

    As the Left have so often posit; if the middle classes were made to go to state school then standards would improve. Well they have and they are. Yet strangely no fanfare from the Left.

    There is a ray of hope for the middle classes in this sequence of events, and maybe, if the NHS reforms work as well as the educational ones, one day they’ll all use the NHS they pay for too.

    • Felix

      A school being free doesn’t de facto make it decent, unless you’re a sucker for government spin. I prefer the more reliable measure of Ofsted reports which have already identified several failing free schools and placed them in special measures

      • e2toe4

        The noise similar to the one a grand piano makes falling down a very lwide and very long spiral staircase started just after ‘I prefer the more reliable measure of Ofsted reports………’

    • Felix

      And overall Marcus, your reply is incredibly naive and ill-informed, if not plain fictional . If you’re not fully au fait with all the hard facts, best to stay away for fear of making yourself look the fool you have

      • Sim Chi

        Let me guess you Felix are one of those that bought into Ed Balls ‘too far too fast’ mantra?

        • Robin Green

          Actually Sim though we may be just barely back into growth territory, this is a pisspoor, anemic recovery with far too few jobs (and this has very little to do with the “grit” of the unemployed or lack thereof). Ed Balls was right, in fact we shouldn’t have had any net cuts at all, only cuts on things that aren’t needed as much any more, like libraries and the military.

      • Marcus

        You had me at:
        ‘I prefer the more reliable measure of Ofsted reports’

      • Marcus

        We shall see.

    • e2toe4

      It’s really just bringing back the grammar schools which anye foole knoweth were……

  • greggf

    Grammar schools were the engine of the middle class, and still are where they exist.
    They provided a pathway for promising pupils to progress into an environment where middle class values have cogency and merit and where a balanced economy was understood and pursued.
    The comment “Unless they can get a job in finance”, epitomizes the change that comprehensivisation of education has helped promote.
    Being middle class in Britain has become arcane and unnecessary in a world where making money in finance is the goal and governance reverts to the new oligarchs. Hence aspiring middle classes leave to find the balance of values, jobs and careers others may provide.

    • e2toe4

      Spot on!

  • george

    This is very depressing. On the other hand, it’s old news to me because my parents left for Canada, for much the same reasons (except for ‘street safety’) forty years ago.

    • http://www.gramachree.co.uk/ John Samuel

      The Canadian middle class is also at risk.

      • Lsd

        Not quite so much as they are in Britain.

    • Toby Esterházy

      The idea of living as perpetual green-eyed, second-best, poorer cousins of the Americans would horrify me and many back in England (but probably not in Scotland or in Ireland).

      • george

        Indeed, that’s why I prefer being American. But most Canadians don’t see it that way, and have convinced themselves (if not us) that they are superior.

        My mother missed England, by the way, and after nearly two decades, went back.

      • george

        Indeed, that’s why I prefer being American. But most Canadians don’t see it that way, and have convinced themselves (if not us) that they are superior.

        My mother missed England, by the way, and after nearly two decades, went back.

        • Toby Esterházy

          Perhaps in a much more subtle way. Mind you, the English copied from the French for Centuries, and most of Europe copied from England for a Century and a half.

          Perhaps a little off-piste, but encouraged by this magazine’s sister publication, being the Daily and Sunday Telegraph’s Internet edition, we always have British pensioners in Canada moaning and whinging about how unfair it is that British pensioners in the United States supposedly get more than them, because American-based pensioners get to receive British inflation-index-linked upratings, whereas the ones in Canada don’t (ultimately, the ones in the States most don’t, of course, because Medicare is no way as comprehensive as most Canadian provincial public health insurance schemes; but that doesn’t stop those ex-Brits from “trying it on” with those of us who are left behind, taking liberties with facts). Having said that, they actually have a better case than those living in Australia. There is supposed to be some geographical consistency with these Pension rules.

          • george

            Medicare is very generous and very comprehensive (as I know from the experiences of elderly American relatives living stateside). I don’t know where you get the idea that it isn’t.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Is it? Oh, I don’t know about that! I must had watched too much of Michael Moore’s propaganda films in my younger days!

          • george

            It’s been my experience that most people outside America are seriously misinformed about American life. And the Democrats do nothing to improve that situation.

          • Toby Esterházy

            One more thing. @Jackthesmilingblack: Would you say that he is one of yours, or is he not? He is just a notorious Leftie Troll who like to hang around right-wing pages.

          • george

            I wouldn’t venture an opinion. I have three citizenships myself and have lived in more countries than that. I find that J., when heard from, generally scoffs, especially at British people. He clearly has some sort of association with Britain, or cares about it, since if he left there 40 years ago there is no reason for him otherwise to keep ‘coming back’ by reading its publications.

          • Toby Esterházy

            He can sound convincing, until you learn that he also calls himself “Jason”, and had even misappropriated the name and identity (“Andrew Milner, Yokohama”, as he would had said) of a (still) serving American marine based at Yokohama for his blogging (or trolling) purposes, until about the year 2007. Most of his stories seem to be made-up. One of the worst ones were his (obviously fake) railway journey from London to Yokohama, via Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow and Vladivostok, in the year 1971. (And according to “Jack’s Travels”, the Japanese travelled to Europe via Russia throughout the 1960s and the 1970s!) Trolling, or would you say schizophrenia? My diagnosis is that he was angry because Daddy couldn’t afford also to send him to an English University, and he take it out on us instead.

            He definitely has a following, and even has fellow trolls standing up for him. All part of this dark, freakish, modern Internet subculture.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            YouTube has at least a dozen clips of the Trans-Siberian Express. However, it anyone that took this train in the 1970s could contribute their experience, I`d be obliged. “Toby” really does need to be exposed for the fool and liar he undoubtedly is.

          • Toby Esterházy

            “If you`re considering relocating from London to say Yorkshire, you might as well go the whole nine yards and fly the UK coop entirely.
            Language issues, hostility towards newcomers, different food, alien culture … Referring here to Yorkshire.
            Jack, Japan Alps”
            https://new.spectator.co.uk/life/status-anxiety/8989921/the-myths-of-the-english-countryside/#comment-1019800865

            You are obviously a troll and a wind-up merchant.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Front runner for the longest, most convoluted sentence of the week. And he claims to be a native speaker of English.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Except when speaking, British folk typical use longer sentences than Americans. Obviously, you were taught American English back in school in Japan. That doesn’t make my English any more incorrect than yours.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Why don`t you tell the nice people exactly why you object to “foreigners” contributing to the Spectator web pages? Everyone`s a foreigner to somebody, even you. Make that especially you. You`re a foreigner to sane people.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Because YOU (and no-one else) are primarily a Left-wing Troll and a wind-up, who makes hoax stories up! Stop reading those stupid left-wing essays by Vexen Cra[b]tree!

            Britons will be Britons, and Japanese will be Japanese. Stop keep on talking incessantly about Japan, because most Britons over a certain age are simply not interested.

  • moderate Guy

    The reason this is happening is that middle class, in England as well as in the rest of the civilized world has bee co-opted in their own destruction. By embracing liberalism/environmentalism/social justice/welfare state the middle class has allowed itself to be hollowed out, giving up it’s moral, economical and social values.

    • tolpuddle1

      You evidently believe in the political philosophy “No enemies on the Right.”

      It isn’t The Guardian that’s outsourcing jobs to India, China, etc etc. It is very visibly true that the most effective enemy of the middle-class is Global Capitalism – Creative Destruction, now showing in a suburb near you.

      And how is being concerned about social justice or the environment immoral? Nor was it Clement Attlee or Harold Wilson who hollowed-out and undermined the middle-class; it was Margaret Thatcher.

      • moderate Guy

        What “enemies” on the right?

        • tolpuddle1

          The interests of the middle-class and the interests of the global elite are by no means identical; indeed often at loggerheads. This wasn’t apparent in the Reagan boom (when the Left was still powerful in places), but it’s crystal-clear now.

          • moderate Guy

            Global “elite” is mostly left wing. Let me repeat, what “enemies” on the right?

    • pearlsandoysters

      Straight to the point. Though desire for accumulation of the worldly goods (consumerism) was thought to impair the virtue of justice. So, in a way, consumerism does not dove-tail with justice, social or otherwise.

      • moderate Guy

        Social “justice” is an oxymoron, though.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Flash to 21st century reality Britisher pals. Trash culture is now the dominant mainstream culture. The middle-class values of education and learning are belittled as elitist. The middle-class has been totally marginalised. Have you noticed how difficult it is to engage in a serious conversation? It’s all soaps and football. The
    lunatics have taken over the asylum. If you feel you have been pushed to the
    periphery of society, trust your instincts. You feel you have very little in common with the vast majority of the population? Well that’s because it’s true. Three options; take the hint and fly the coop. Get into character and act mainstream banality. Or become a ghetto-mentality recluse. And besides, Britain`s a nation of bullies, so why hang around in that open prision known as the United Kingdom, an environment that is turning you into a seriously unpleasant person?
    No prize for guessing which option I took some 40 years ago.
    Jack, Japan Alps

    • pearlsandoysters

      Right. The mainstream culture is epitome of banality and vulgarity. In a way, I’ll attribute the current decline of serious conversation to the vanishing of philosophy from the public sphere.

    • Hoof Hearted

      I reccomend Northwestern Montana.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        “Oh give me a home
        Where the buffalo roam
        Where the deer and the antelope play
        Where seldom is heard
        A discouraging word
        And the skies are not
        Cloudy or grey”
        So rather like these blog pages.

      • Toby Esterházy

        You necessarily cease to be middle class when you move over to a ranch in Montana (or pretty much anywhere else), alas. A farmer is either a peasant, or at least working class. Only a landowner with multiple tenant farmers on his multi-County (or multi-acre, back in the old Country) estate is middle class or above.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          It`s a song you humourless rube.

    • Robin Green

      It never ceases to amuse me how many “Britain is going to hell in a handbasket” commenters there are who turn out to be critiquing Britain from their expert vantage point in France, Dubai, Japan or America. The boring truth is that (a) economics matters far more than anything else to the fate of the middle class: culture, immigration, the BBC, you name it (b) the Tories are responsible for the anemic state of the economy.

      I’ll grant you that culture might matter in terms of transitioning from a third world economy to a first world one. But that’s not what’s at issue here. What I’m talking about is getting back onto the stable growth path we were on before some geniuses in the American and British financial sector screwed everything up, and the Tories have singularly failed in doing that.

      • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

        Wow I was with you right up to (b) and then you apparently had a fit of explosive intellectual diarrhea whereupon nothing thereafter makes any sense.

        The Tories are NOT responsible for the anemic state of the economy, the state of the economy in the present moment is the culmination of decades of mismanagement, bad investment and bad law making. What the Tories ARE responsible for is the fact that they haven’t made any more than a token effort to reverse this long term issue. To say otherwise is mindblowingly shallow and pure partisanship, it toxifies anything you write after making such a silly statement.

        “I’m talking about is getting back onto the stable growth path we were on before some geniuses in the American and British financial sector screwed everything up”

        Again, so shallow as to be meaningless because the reasons we are in the situation we are today are massively more complicated than that and have a great deal to do with the WTO, the Glass Steagall act, moral hazard and government intervention into markets.

        The phrase that really bugged me was “stable growth path”… Where have you been for the last 50 years? Even if you’re young there’s no excuse for making such an ignorant statement, there have been more financial crises of every flavour and hue than you can count in the last 100 years.

        So to sum up, before you get on your high horse and start casting your opinions upon the rest of us like manna from heaven at least get your facts straight and learn a bit about economics before daubing such idiotic generalisations around. Rant off.

    • Toby Esterházy

      Bunkum! Your English is American, and you live in Japan. You were never one of us, never mind the Middle Class.

      • Eurocentric

        One might see why “unemployed” appears in front of linguist. Having disdainfully dismissed the so-called “half literacy” of others, your own contribution to what you call “half-illiteracy” reveals your own lack of education in the use of the English language. “Having went to a school”, “not much else to show for”, “Half of what it might be considered”…. Pot calling the kettle black, I’d say.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Be advised that “Toby” is attempting to elicit an ill-considered response, thus to secure personal information. That`s what identity thieves do. The Spectator really should be on the case.
          Interesting that he has switched username to another John leCarre character, Toby Esterházy. As an ultranationalist xenophobe, selecting the name of a fictional Hungarian does seem more than a little inappropriate.
          Percy Alleline would seem the better choice. A know-it-all Scot that got it completely wrong about the mole at the top of the Circus.

          • Toby Esterházy

            “Ultranationalist xenophobe”? You are not yourself even an European! Kindly buggar off!

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Error piled on error. Mistake on mistake, Lie on lie. Assumption on assumption. Two plus two make four, not forty-four.
            When you need a new username, Jock, may I suggest Alf Garnet. Fits you to a tee.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Let me get this straight—you were born and bred in Japan, your parents were also born in Japan, and you now live in Japan. How does any of this suddenly make you “British”?

        • Toby Esterházy

          Poppycock! “School” goes with the word “went” in England, not “gone”. “Gone to school” meant something different. Sum Ting Wong with your English, my friend?

          Another Daily Mail reader with a chip on the shoulder?

          • Alastair C. Gull

            Are you really a linguist, “Toby”? If so, then clearly your knowledge is somewhat lacking. The correction of your statement “having went to school” was absolutely justified. I also happen to be a linguist (though unlike you, I am an employed linguist). Allow me to point out your error.

            What you were attempting to formulate is a perfect participle.

            The perfect participle is formed by putting the present participle “having” in front of the past participle (the 3rd form of the verb).

            For example: having done, having finished, having written, having spoken, having GONE.

            You would not say “having wrote a letter” or “having did my homework”, so why you consider “having went” to be standard usage is beyond me.

            As a general rule, the auxiliary verb ‘have’ must always be followed by a past participle form.

            I think you owe the other posters an apology for getting it so wrong -AND having the rash temerity to dish out misguided insults to people who actually know better than you.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Not in England, we don’t. Those of us in England would never say “having gone to College”, unless we were trying to say “We are physically in the College” or “We are still attending College”, just as native English speakers say “fish”, and almost never “fishes”. Stop swallowing the dictionary!

          • Alastair C. Gull

            I’m not sure what kind of Walter-Mitty style fantasy world you live in, but the England you describe is not the England I’m from. You appear to be in denial. Perhaps you are from New England? I suggest you read some UK grammar books, beginning with those published by Cambridge and Oxford.

            Or perhaps you are simply a troll.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Teaching English abroad to foreigners does NOT make you an expert on the language. You must be a very snooty, arrogant and snobbish man to think that 500,000 examples on the Internet alone are all incorrect.

          • Alastair C. Gull

            On the contrary, my dear “Toby”, the presumption is all yours. I found a measly 36,600 cases of “having went to school” on Google, compared to a whopping 1,280,000 of “having gone to school”. I rest my case. Good luck in the role of King Canute.

          • Toby Esterházy

            So? The English language is not decided like a “!vote” in Wikipedia! How old are you? 20?

            Look, just stick to playing Russian Government Troll, mate, alright? Having taught English in Oman (straight out of University, if at all) does not really make you an expert. You are obviously not a good teacher if you think that English and EFL/ESOL were somehow the same subject (it actually isn’t).

            Some folk really do under some circumstances say “having went” in England. Some Northerners, for instance. Is it really incorrect? Can it? The OUP and the CUP might not like it, but North-of-England English is still English. It is like saying Moroccan Arabic was incorrect Arabic.

          • Alastair C. Gull

            I might point out that it was you who first brought web search statistics into this… erroneous figures to boot.
            A number of qualifications in the field, thanks. But I have no need to justify myself on an internet forum… that would be unbecoming. I have some translating to get back to, so this will be my last entry. I wish you all the best in finding a job! No hard feelings, eh?

          • Toby Esterházy

            Instead of wasting your time winding up this hopeless Northerner (who sometimes even uses dialect words such as nowt, sommat and all), you would do well to teach the agents of the FSB (sorry, the presenters or “anchormen” on Russia Today) how to speak English a trifle more naturally, instead of speaking like robots in a mock American accent with a slight Russian affectation.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            I think Jock`s just had his ass handed to him.

          • Toby Esterházy

            “I made a quick visit to Britain last November (the South obviously), and I have to say that supermarket food was the best, indeed the only thing worth buying to take back to Japan. So I essentially dumped my clothes and filled the suitcase with Waitrose products. While the food is worth buying, eating in a restaurant is not. However, not a serious problem, you do tend to look a “sorry-@ssed loser” eating alone in anything other than a motorway restaurant.
            Such a pleasure to get back to Japan where catering standards are so much higher, such that a mediocre restaurant is really difficult to find. This helps explain why Brits straight “off the boat” actually find Malaysian food acceptable. While to those of us that reside in Japan it`s pig swill. And I say this with all due respect.
            Jack Japan Alps”
            http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/alex-massie/2013/08/george-orwells-lesson-for-jamie-oliver/#comment-1019782972

            You are obviously a wind-up and a Troll. You are definitely NOT British at all!

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Any second now “Toby” will accuse you of not being British. That’s what he instinctively does when anyone contradicts or offends him. But he really spits the dummy when you criticize Britain. Then he’ll also assign you a different race. Which presumably is why he’s told me at least 100 times that I’m a Japanese. Then there was being a paedophile, guard at a WWII Japanese PoW camp,
            living in an Internet cafe…
            Presumably he still believes “the Japan Alps” don’t exist and the Trans-Siberian Express (which I rode in 1970 on my way to Yokohama) didn’t operate in the 1970`s …
            By providing him a forum, the Spectator exposes him to ridicule, hectoring and abuse, which almost certainly exacerbate his mental health problems. Unhappy childhood, perhaps?
            Easy to see why the Job Centre hasn’t managed to place him. Unemployed and unemployable.
            Jack, Japan Alps

          • Joe Jones

            “If enough people use a particular style, then it ceases to become incorrect” …

            Not true, as any linguistic fule no …

            It may become ACCEPTED usage, but that doesn’t make it “correct.” When one refers to the ‘correctness’ of language usage one is not referring to how it OUGHT to be used, but to the degree to which it is unambiguous and to which it accurately communicates the intention of the user (speaker or writer). On this point, ‘correctness’ links the usage to the principles of logic that are employed to codify langauge and its use. This is merely to ensure that meaning and clarity are transmitted from one generation to another as accurately as possible (like science) and not to judge others on their usage. Though a particular usage may be formally ‘incorrect’, commonality of usage gives it meaning and function in a particular social setting. How do you think idioms form?

          • http://www.business-writers.co.uk Huw Sayer

            Correct me if I am wrong but wouldn’t the correct form be “having been to school” (not “having went” or “having gone” – “having went” being wrong and “having gone to school” being better used in a phrase such as “having gone to school to collect his books, he headed for the pub”)? Since “having been to school” clearly means you once attended school for the (intended if not achieved) purpose of learning.

          • Joe Jones

            “Having been” is the correct form, as any liguist would know, if he wants to work as one.

          • Guest

            A linguist can also mean a person who can speak more than one language, not the same as an English grammarian, although you are no doubt a member of the BNP or a Daily Mail reader, so I don’t really suppose you would be able to tell the difference between the two. Alastair Gill/Gull, Joe Jones. I mean, just how many accounts and names do you need to get?

      • nisseminou

        “…having went…..”
        ” I am a linguist…..”

        Does not compute,

      • Joe Jones

        Hmm …

        Those in glass houses are well advised to avoid contemplating lobbing pebbles … “Having went to a boarding school in England” … ? And as for the unnecessary use of the Oxford comma, well … !

        But if “half-illiterate rambling tirade[s]” are the preserve of the working class, perhaps you’re not middle class after all.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        “I am most definitely middle class …”
        Collective shudder.
        Is there a psychiatrist in the house?

        Obsessive compulsive personality disorder would be my best guess.
        Particularly difficult to cure.

        • Toby Esterházy

          Claiming a Japanese with a British passport is as British as a native Briton with ancestry stretching back to the Mesolithic, denies the indigenous people of this Country an identity, history, &c., and under the definitions of the United Nations that would be considered genocide.

          http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showpost.php?s=7fd1b2fe88fcf9574efcd0ca77bbbacd&p=52440870&postcount=119

          How are YOU “British Middle Class” if you are neither born, bred nor living in the United Kingdom? How can you belong to a class of the Britannia school when you were never a school pupil?

      • Anna Kristiina Nielander

        Gosh, an UNEMPLOYED linguist, you’re working class, darling, if you need a JOB to sustain your standard of living.

    • Joe Jones

      I have to say, you’ve encapsulated my feelings about life in 21st century Britain very nicely (and how middle class is it to say THAT!). The “nation of bullies” bit rings so true nowadays, especially in relation to planning rules where local council tax payers have little to no say in how their environment is changed while the thugs who have cash seem to be given all the advantages they ask for.

      • Toby Esterházy

        Planning rules are a busybody’s charter. Why should a person gets to have a veto on the development of land that he does not personally own as a freeholder?

  • Chris

    Hardly surprising in the 80’s Thatcher enriched her friends in the city by stripping the assets of the ordinary working man. Now the children of thatcher are stripping the assets from the middle classes.
    And realising they haven’t got long to do it the government is acting like the Vandals who plundered rome to enrich themselves and their chums as quickly and as much as possible

    • david croft

      The writer of this article and most posters do not have any idea what the middle class was. What is now called middle class would have been the better part of the working class. The middle classes had an ethics and view of life which hardly e/sits anywhere today. The behaviour of the so-called middle class today would have been seen as vulgar by the middle class who were the backbone of integrity and probity in this country.

      • pearlsandoysters

        That’s a very correct observation, if I may say so. The values are being “privatized” in a way religion was. So, there’s a proliferation of only one possible values, namely much extolled values of commercial exchange.

      • Robin Green

        Please enlighten us as to what these ethics and views of life actually were. I’m guessing you’re talking about “High Tories” essentially? I could be completely wrong.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      Rubbish. What assets did she strip from the ‘ordinary working man’?

      • Myriam Roberts

        Skilled manual Jobs e.g. mining and ability to make a honest living!

        • Toby Esterházy

          Mrs. Thatcher had no choice but to close the coal mines, because cheap Silesian, Chinese and Russian coal were beginning to flood into the international markets, depressing the prices. Coal-mining is unprofitable if the average coal extracted per collier is going to be worth less than a collier’s salary.

          • Myriam Roberts

            True, but we should still have kept 1 or 2 mines open to fuel our power plants. There not green but they work, it’s better than having to buy in a resource; when we have some in our own country. I guess we could save our coal but it now costs too much to get it out of the ground. Fracking is causing a huge green protest perhaps it is best we do not have coal but we have no skill manual job which is why we need 45% of people to have a degree!

      • Myriam Roberts

        She took away the working British man ‘s ability to sell his labour and get a money for it.

  • http://www.business-writers.co.uk Huw Sayer

    You miss the big picture – which is not income inequality – but wealth inequality. Globally, 0.5% of the population own over a third of the wealth (source: The Economist 2013). The richest 2% own over half the wealth (source: BBC 2006). Over 40% of the wealth in the UK is controlled by just 10% of the population, while 50% of the population own less than 10% of the wealth (source: ONS 2012) – and that is thanks in a big way to the concentration of land ownership – a pernicious legacy of the Norman invasion and the enclosures.

    In the UK around 70% of the land is owned by less than 1% of the population – around 36,000 people (and a third owned by just 1,200 people) (source: Country Life/Independent). Half the land in Scotland is owned by 450 people (source: Independent). Over 50% of the landed aristocracy can still trace their power back to titles granted by William 1 – most of the rest owe their power to the enclosure acts of the middle ages and the gifts of monarchs. It also appears to be ably protected by the Royal Prerogative that allows the PoW to veto any law that may affect his interests – which are so closely entwined with the interests of the other landowners.

    Adam Smith warned against the monopolisation of wealth – yet that is what we have and it is increasing. As long as it continues, so will the middle classes be squeezed on earnings and taxes. The landowners are just as good as the large international corporations at using the international tax system to protect their inheritance. Special treatment of woodland – CAP payments that could have bought the land they subsidise 2-3 times over – offshore companies and trusts to hold land and receive land management fees (so that individual farms appear to make a loss while the owners never show any signs of lacking profits).

    If you want to stop the continued rise in inequality, you have to support a progressive Land Value Tax to redress the balance – this would also bring down the price of land and encourage new entrants into farming and market gardening in the countryside – as well as freeing other marginal land in towns and cities for amenity use or development – so helping revitalise rural and regional economies.

    • NotYouNotSure

      That 50% of the UK population that you mentioned, compare what they earn to the rest of world, then that group suddenly becomes the top 10%, I doubt you are going to call for them to give their wealth for the rest though. Income inequality is not the problem, its how much absolute wealth you have got, not how it compares to others. The fact is that an average person can have the a better living standard than a king in the past, yet because he has X% less than some mega millionaire that makes him a poor guy ?

    • justejudexultionis

      Scotland in particular has the most unequal land ownership in developed world, which is one more reason it needs independence now.

    • nicks40

      Why should I become a new entrant into farming or market gardening if all I can look forward to is your Land Value Tax ??

      • http://www.business-writers.co.uk Huw Sayer

        Because currently land is monopolised by a very narrow group of people – and land value tax would encourage them to sell marginal land – this would bring down the price of land so opening up the market for new entrants (who would then fact LVT into their business plan the same way other businesses factor in rates and rents).

  • Crafford

    A massive blow to aspiration has been the eradication of (most of) the Grammar Schools – they provided a unique opportunity for those from under-privileged circumstance to gain a first class education. I think this was seen as a threat by the elite and thus were – disingenuously – phased out under the guise that they were elitist. What reprehensible hogwash – bring back the Grammar School.

    • e2toe4

      You get my vote. Ask Andrew neil what he thinks as well? Grammar schools got thrown out because people focussed on the 80% not getting in…instead of the 20% who got in..and on…and , as is human nature, failed to forget where they came from….the decline of the middle class is attached to the ageing of the last Grammar school generation.

      And they worked proportionately ‘better’ in poorer areas of the country than richer.

  • Felix

    “Even the NHS cannot be relied upon as it once was”

    At last, West and Nelson acknowledge the Tories have trashed the NHS

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      I don’t think they write “as it once was” meaning before 3 years ago!

      • Robin Green

        True, Labour also did a bad job with the NHS. Endless reorganisations, PFI contracts tying us down to overpaying for decades, and wasting money on a bloated IT project, the biggest ever, which was doomed to fail from the start.

  • Haywood Jablowme

    The middle class is of no use to the neo-Marxist “progressives”. What reason does a strong, family centered, economically prosperous middle class have to vote for those who promised “fairness” out of the barrel of a gun?

    • tolpuddle1

      But the middle-class is disappearing under right-wing or centrist governments, not neo-Marxist ones.

      Family life has been destroyed under successive governments of all political parties. The Strong died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • Haywood Jablowme

        Your post is one long falsehood. The middle class and strong family unit began its real slide with the left wing cultural revolutions of the 1960s. We are in the end stages of that revolution.

        • tolpuddle1

          I’m certainly not defending the 60’s cultural revolutions – though they were more liberal than leftist; in the UK, the chief revolutionist was the claret-drinking Roy Jenkins.
          Leaving aside the wrecking of Western education, the main cultural revolution was the Sexual Revolution (embraced eagerly by people of all political opinions!) and built largely upon effective contraception (which began in a polite way in about 1880, which was when the Sexual Revolution first raised its head, though the World Wars slowed its progress). As Chesterton pointed out circa 1930, the traditional family was being swept aside chiefly – not by the usual leftist suspects – but by “the triumphant energy of the rich.” Whatever Capitalism may be, it’s certainly not puritanical nor a friend of the traditional family; indeed, Capitalism and the Capitalist mentality constantly undermine the traditional family.
          The Sexual Revolution was led by the liberal middle-class and the whole middle-class has adjusted rmarkably well to the cultural revolutions of the Sixties – those revolutions’ real victims are the Underclass.
          Since 1945, both the right and left sections of the middle-class have boomed and floated high on Capitalist prosperity; as this fades (especially in the oldest developed nations like Britain and the USA) these middle-class sections are being united by gathering economic ruin.
          If you sincerely want to understand the world, follow the Money – don’t be misled by phoney moralistic guff from Mail, Telegraph, golf clubs etc.

          • Myriam Roberts

            Nah, women just wanted the choice to have babies. Men rather liked the idea of sex without the risk of having a baby with a women.
            The state goal of control the middle class overbreeding achieved!
            The Pill (Win -win all round) risk free sex (apart from SDI’s) and it makes women’s periods lighter!
            All women have to do is take at the same time everyday. The pill does have the side affect of making husband’s and wife’s less faithful.

    • e2toe4

      You’re writing rubbish.

  • Cybershaman

    It’s so refreshing to see sane and amiable discussion in the comments. Had this article appeared here on a U.S. news site, it would have immediately degenerated into horrific insanity. Thank you for a sobering examination. I can’t help but think that things can not go on as they are. History shows that situations of this sort usually end in bloody revolution. It would be my hope that the so-called Western nations could show the rest of the world (I’m looking at you, “Arab Spring”) how to have a proper and civilized revolution. That would be my hope, anyway. Am I being too optimistic? I mean, am I right? Hasn’t history shown that things don’t work out too awfully well for the rich once the “peasants” revolt?

    • e2toe4

      It IS odd how closely the US and UK (and even some of the Euro countries) are mirroring on this issue. It’s an argument i guess..but the elimination of the middle class, or the elimination of their savings which sort of amounts to the same thing… in 20s Germany is really what lets in Hitler.

      Thankfully we do not have a Hitler…and anyway the elimination of savings and the degradation of the idea of thrift, as outlined in the article, haven’t gone as far and as fast as they did in 20’s Germany (and some other stuff doesn’t apply either), however if History can ever said to be sending warnings, now is probably as good a time as ever.

      Globally the idea that you don’t get on by hard work and all the ethical scaffolding that usually accompanies it, but that ‘you get lucky’, somehow has got a grip, and that needs to change…otherwise there are plenty of other warnings from history that it always the (formerly) lucky people who suffer first, and worst….but nobody really comes off better.

    • pearlsandoysters

      Peasant’s revolt is unthinkable under current regime when the states have immense powers (technological and ideological) to maintain the certain order of things. There won’t be any “parity of esteem” between the parts involved. I guess one of the options is reverting to mass-party membership structures.

    • Robin Green

      I’m not an expert on economics but my understanding is as follows:

      The middle class is being hollowed out by austerity, not globalisation, immigration, “cultural changes” or any of that nonsense. So the Tories are to blame. (Remember, the Lib Dems were not too keen on austerity until they joined the coalition and started singing from the Tory hymn sheet.)

      The more you reverse austerity, the more you pump money and stuff jobs into the economy. As more jobs are created middle class people start leaving jobs that are beneath them, getting jobs that are actually a good match for their skills and experience, and leaving the jobs they previously held for the unemployed, who will turn out to be not quite so workshy or lacking in “grit” as some Spectator readers think they are.

      In extremis if you try to stuff more jobs into the economy than it can handle you will see inflation that isn’t caused by global commodity prices for a change, but I think it unlikely that any party will go that far in the forseeable future.

      So all we need to do is (for those outside Scotland) vote Labour and (for those in Scotland) vote for independence.

  • Q46

    Mr Nelson: you seem to believe that people do not age and move from relatively low wealth to accumulated welath, and that societies should be static.

    Pre-Industrial Revolution British society was a broad based pyramid and static, but it started to change to a diamond shape during the Industrial Revolution and more so as the 20th Century progressed… so-called upward mobility.

    The ‘middle class’ being the bulge of the diamond which had emerged from that pyramid base.

    As British people are living longer and older folk outnumber younger, clearly that means a concentration of wealth towards the upper part of the structure: that bulge in the diamond is moving upward.

    Young people nowadays have a higher start point than their parents or grandparents so start off nearer the top of the social structure: the journey from middle to upper, instead of from lower to middle.

    In a society which is getting richer, it will adopt an inverted pyramid shape. There will always be a widening wealth gap, because wealth accumulates at the top of the structure, and because no matter what Government social programmes and hot air about equality and fairness, Humanity covers a range of abilities, desires and ambitions, so there will always be a differential between what individuals want and can achieve.

    There is another factor and that is the prevailing notion that upward mobility is ‘unfair’ and that individuals should not have to strive, suffer hardship and ‘society’ should provide.

    Inevitably that message will mean many will not try to make that journey upward to replace ‘the middle’ which has moved up.

    That is the aim of Socialism… aka Social Democracy… to cause social stagnation so the clever enlightened ones can take over and redesign society and reapportion wealth to make it ‘fair’… onward to Utopia.

  • tolpuddle1

    Yes, but what can the middle-class do about it ? Having voted for Capitalism, apparently because they believe in it (though it self-evidently never believed in them), the middle-class is hoist with its own petard. It’s grimly amusing to see the dweebs who voted-in Thatcher and chortled when the proles were shafted by globalisation in the Eighties, now worried about their children or grandchildren also being sold down the river.

    A word about Mrs Thatcher; she posed as a traditional Conservative and even convinced herself she was one – but she was in fact largely the (very gifted) puppet of big-time capitalists, whose work she did so faithfully, to the delight of her myopic voters. Mrs Thatcher and her crew were a gang of right-wing desperadoes who took over the Tory Party – what does the Conservative Party now conserve (other than global elite capitalism, of course) ?

    • Baron

      tolpuddle, globalisation would have happened whether Lady T was or wasn’t in power, it couldn’t have been stopped any more than the introduction of textile looms could have been, the thing the Luddites objected to.

      As a society, we’ve got over changes in the mode of manufacture, distribution and things before, we’re going to do it again. What’s holding us back are those in charge of whatever political colour. They are sticking to old policies, policies that don’t work in the new arrangement of the world’s productive forces.

  • tolpuddle1

    It’s good to see conservative commentators slowly beginning to realise the obvious – that Capitalism is revolutionary, internationalist and controlled (if at all) by the super-rich, an “elite” (!) of brutal, greedy, dishonest people with a contempt for everyone except themselves.

    Capitalism – with its (inescapable) philosophy of Selfishness – destroys family life, patriotism, social stability, nobility of character and any meaningful religious faith (or even meaningful politics).

  • MrJones

    Unconstrained capitalism isn’t conservative – not even remotely so. To serve conservative ends it has to be constrained to those ends i.e. a national capitalism vs a globalist capitalism.

    It’s not a particularly radical idea. Almost every industrial country apart from USUK already does that and has been all the time the citizens of USUK were being scammed out of their prosperity.

  • quest_for_zero_defekt

    I have had discussions about this before and the point I try to make is the following: Lets get one thing straight. There is no middle class and there hasn’t been one for a while. Unless you are at the very top of the tree, then I am afraid to break it to you, but we are all now down at the level of the old working class.

    As someone from a middle-class, aspirational; or, if you like, average and typical family stock, I arrived in this country 20 years ago. I have witnessed my own transition from this aspirational, middle-class, bush-tailed twenty-something into a struggling, downsizing from shoe-box to match-box, desperate to emigrate, no pension, no savings, working class grunt on Struggle Street.

    En route to work I get to walk past the underclass in Camden who live, courtesy of the state, in accommodation of size, quality and location that I cannot ever dream of affording. Now, if I were still middle class why would I aspire to, or for that matter, why would I be bitter that the underclass were being cared for? I wouldn’t, I would be looking onwards and upwards, confident and comfortable that my elected representatives had my best interests at heart. Hmmm.

    Now I am also wary about falling into the socialist mind-set and blaming the very rich on running off with all the money. I think the former middle-class have just been conned into believing that they need to be taxed at current levels because the services provided are the very minimum we need. They are not, but as long as governments can squeeze money out of taxpayers, they will find something ‘vital’ to spend it on. Essentially what has happened is that the former middle class has approved (via election choices) their own downgrading while sponsoring the explosion of a sector of society that does not pay it’s way. The former middle class just hasn’t kept up with the rich because they took the weak, easy route of trying to help everyone in society with everything. And it is just spreading too thin.

  • justejudexultionis

    And so the great British tragedy is played out as our children are punished for our sins…

    • Baile Beag

      What sins? Don’t be daft. The problem is corporate globalism dictating national politics. Unelected, autocratic business leaders have far too much power over our lives and our national governments. You know in the US, while Walmart makes billions in profits, most of its employees are receiving public assistance (food stamps) so that they can survive from week to week.

  • manonthebus

    It is the same argument that was heard a few years ago as ‘everyone is middle class now’, except that middle has been replaced with working. The big problem is welfarism. It attracts foreigners who can make more money in menial jobs than they ever dreamed of at home. It keeps the shiftless quiet. It allows political parties to promise the earth with other people’s money and buys them votes. So let’s start all over again!!!

  • Ibsen

    Any chance that the decent guys among the Tories will now join us good natured lefties who believe in social democracy to defend middle class society? Uncontrolled Thatcherite capitalism is a mortal threat to decent Tories as well as the left.

  • Ibsen

    .

  • Jethro Asquith

    A

  • Jethro Asquith

    Why do you, like so many other lazy journalists, try to suggest anyone who is rich is upper-class?

    One’s wealth is not necessarily a reliable indicator of the class of a person. For instance, highly paid footballers such as Wayne Rooney could never be considered upper-class (nor middle-class) yet have more money than many who could.

  • hyufd

    There will always be a middle class and a need for nurses, teachers, police, administrators etc. However, if a huge gap emerges between a super rich elite and a poor mass of the population that is an ideal condition for revolution and how Stalin, Hitler, Castro etc came to power. If so, the likes of bankers, financiers and the super rich, and, yes, Cameron and Osborne, would be first in the firing line

    • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

      hyufd says, “There will always be a middle class…”

      Yes, but a shrinking middle class, and relatively less wealthy, as central banks destroy the value of the currency. Central bank credit expansion also diverts income away from the poor and middle class towards the wealthy; its the wealthy that benefits from central bank currency manipulation.

      The authors of the article unknowingly pinpoint the “immediate” cause for Britain’s “stall mode” economy (which is being duplicated via the same institution in the United States, the Eurozone and Japan) when they observe, “It’s is no accident. Mark Carney, the new Bank of England governor, has said he’ll continue with the policy of quantitative easing, which explicitly aims to revive the economy by inflating the value of assets…The individual savings account — or Isa — seemed to have been invented in homage to thrift, allowing people to save cash tax-free. But Treasury policies have now floored savings rates, and the holders of all normal cash Isas must accept interest below the rate of inflation. So savers lose money, year after year, due to official Bank of England policy. It is as if the government is now at war with the very notion of thrift.”

      The central banks of the United States, Great Britain, the Eurozone and Japan are intentionally sabotaging their respective economies through their inexplicable and counter-indicated low-interest policies. There can be no net investment when interest rates are so low, since the expected return on net investment is so low.

      Central bank credit expansion (or as it is more popularly called today, quantitative easing) is used to manipulate interest rates, where greater government bond purchases manipulates interest rates downward. As all economists know, the cost of borrowing doesn’t affect net investment, expected return on the net investment determines if such a net investment will occur, but with interest rates so low, naturally there’s no net investment going on.

      The Law of Marginal Utility (diminishing returns) applies to all economic activity, including interest rates; there is an optimum return associated with a market-derived interest rate, however artificial increases/decreases in interest rates diminish optimum returns. Interest rates that are too high will move capital out of the consumption goods market and into the capital goods market, where return on [new] net investment will then be lagging due to the longer waiting period for the new consumption goods to arrive on the market; the new consumption goods are produced by the greater net investments. Conversely, interest rates that are too low, siphons investment (both net investment and old investment) away from industry towards greater consumption instead.

      Proof: What do people do when interest rates rise? They consume less and place the monies that would have gone towards consumption into net investments instead. The lure of higher returns on savings outweighs the loss in consumption.

      So, the question is: Since Western central banks (and Japan’s central bank) are uniformly sabotaging their economies, whose tasking this policy? It wouldn’t be patriotic Western nationals, it would co-opted nationals. Then who co-opted Western political parties, who oversee the officers of those fiduciary institutions? Only one group would have the motive, manpower and resources to pull off such a sweeping operation…Moscow and allies.

      For those unfamiliar with this subject, the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy” (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the “new” strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991. The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland.

      The specific reason Moscow and allies have tasked Western politicians to starve Western economies of net investment, is because Moscow and allies needs to be on a level technological playing ground with the West/Japan, a key variable for the success of the LRP.

      Google: ‘Photos: Antonov An-12BK-PPS Aircraft Pictures | Airliners net’

      and

      Google: ‘MiG-23UB Share this photo on forums’

      Then for Russian Naval vessels (take a look at what’s still appended to the bows)…

      Google (enlarge picture): ‘Russia seeks sea power with decrepit fleet Base expansion likely an empty threat’

      Those pictures were taken in 2009, 2011 and 2001, respectively, not before the “collapse” of the USSR. As you can see, the Soviet era nationality emblem of the Communist Party…the Red Star… is still present. That political symbol of the Soviet government would have been immediately removed in early 1992 if the “collapse” of the USSR were genuine. As the legal emblem of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Red Star emblem can only be present if Communists are still in power in Russia and the other 14 republics that made up the USSR.

      Now, for the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…

      Google: ‘Krasnaya Zvezda’

      “Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian (no kidding!) for “Red Star”, the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper’s official designation is, “Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era masthead, one of which pictures Lenin’s head!

      The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Moscow & Allies, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

      Now you know why the hated Communist Red Star is still placed on the bows of NEW Russian Naval vessels (and the wings of Russian military aircraft), and why the “electorates” of the 15 republics that made up the USSR continue to “elect” for President Soviet era Communist Party Quislings. There have been 52 such Presidential “elections” since the “collapse” of the USSR, resulting in 40 Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings being elected. That’s 76.92%! If the “collapse” of the USSR were legitimate not one such Quisling would have been elected President. In fact, such persons would have been either arrested in the interests of national security or shunned by society. Remember, Communist Party members made up no more than 10% of the USSR, and it was they who for 74 years persecuted the remaining 90% of the population.

      Now you also know why immediately after the “collapse” of the USSR the United States wasn’t given Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, including delivery vehicles, for safe keeping! Imagine that, the freed Russian people not ensuring their freedom against a Communist counter-coup with the assistance of Chinese PLA ground and air forces backing up Soviet Special Forces and Airborne Guards. If the “collapse” of the USSR had been real, then a freed Russia, for national security reasons, would have ensured that its nuclear weaponry was secured by United States military elements. That no such actions were taken proves that (1) both American political parties were co-opted by Moscow & Allies; and (2) the United States Armed Forces were not co-opted, otherwise elements of America’s armed forces would have been deployed to Russia in order to pretend to safeguard Russia’s nuclear weapons.

      In addition, the KGB agent Quislings that controlled the Russian Orthodox Church before the “collapse” of the USSR are to this day still in control! They were never identified and thrown out of that institution after the “collapse” of the USSR! The same is true for the other 14 republics of the USSR, including East Bloc nations.

  • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

    The authors of the article unknowingly pinpoint the “immediate” cause for Britain’s “stall mode” economy (which is being duplicated via the same institution in the United States, the Eurozone and Japan) when they observe, “It’s is no accident. Mark Carney, the new Bank of England governor, has said he’ll continue with the policy of quantitative easing, which explicitly aims to revive the economy by inflating the value of assets…The individual savings account — or Isa — seemed to have been invented in homage to thrift, allowing people to save cash tax-free. But Treasury policies have now floored savings rates, and the holders of all normal cash Isas must accept interest below the rate of inflation. So savers lose money, year after year, due to official Bank of England policy. It is as if the government is now at war with the very notion of thrift.”

    The central banks of the United States, Great Britain, the Eurozone and Japan are intentionally sabotaging their respective economies through their inexplicable and counter-indicated low-interest policies. There can be no net investment when interest rates are so low, since the expected return on net investment is so low.

    Central bank credit expansion (or as it is more popularly called today, quantitative easing) is used to manipulate interest rates, where greater government bond purchases manipulates interest rates downward. As all economists know, the cost of borrowing doesn’t affect net investment, expected return on the net investment determines if such a net investment will occur, but with interest rates so low, naturally there’s no net investment going on.

    The Law of Marginal Utility (diminishing returns) applies to all economic activity, including interest rates; there is an optimum return associated with a market-derived interest rate, however artificial increases/decreases in interest rates diminish optimum returns. Interest rates that are too high will move capital out of the consumption goods market and into the capital goods market, where return on investment will be lagging due to the longer waiting period for the new consumption goods, produced by the greater net investments, to come on the market. Conversely, interest rates that are too low, siphons investment (both net investment and old investment) away from industry towards greater consumption instead.

    Proof: What do people do when interest rates rise? They consume less and place the monies that would have gone towards consumption into net investments instead. The lure of higher returns on savings outweighs the loss in consumption.

    So, the question is: Since Western central banks (and Japan’s central bank) are uniformly sabotaging their economies, whose tasking this policy? It wouldn’t be patriotic Western nationals, it would co-opted nationals. Then who co-opted Western political parties, who oversee the officers of those fiduciary institutions? Only one group would have the motive, manpower and resources to pull off such a sweeping operation…Moscow and allies.

    For those unfamiliar with this subject, the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy” (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the “new” strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991. The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland.

    The specific reason Moscow and allies have tasked Western politicians to starve Western economies of net investment, is because Moscow and allies needs to be on a level technological playing ground with the West/Japan, a key variable for the success of the LRP.

    Google: ‘Photos: Antonov An-12BK-PPS Aircraft Pictures | Airliners net’

    and

    Google: ‘MiG-23UB Share this photo on forums’

    Then for Russian Naval vessels (take a look at what’s still appended to the bows)…

    Google (enlarge picture): ‘Russia seeks sea power with decrepit fleet Base expansion likely an empty threat’

    Those pictures were taken in 2009, 2011 and 2001, respectively, not before the “collapse” of the USSR. As you can see, the Soviet era nationality emblem of the Communist Party…the Red Star… is still present. That political symbol of the Soviet government would have been immediately removed in early 1992 if the “collapse” of the USSR were genuine. As the legal emblem of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Red Star emblem can only be present if Communists are still in power in Russia and the other 14 republics that made up the USSR.

    Now, for the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…

    Google: ‘Krasnaya Zvezda’

    “Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian (no kidding!) for “Red Star”, the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper’s official designation is, “Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era masthead, one of which pictures Lenin’s head!

    The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Moscow & Allies, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

    Now you know why the hated Communist Red Star is still placed on the bows of NEW Russian Naval vessels (and the wings of Russian military aircraft), and why the “electorates” of the 15 republics that made up the USSR continue to “elect” for President Soviet era Communist Party Quislings. There have been 52 such Presidential “elections” since the “collapse” of the USSR, resulting in 40 Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings being elected. That’s 76.92%! If the “collapse” of the USSR were legitimate not one such Quisling would have been elected President. In fact, such persons would have been either arrested in the interests of national security or shunned by society. Remember, Communist Party members made up no more than 10% of the USSR, and it was they who for 74 years persecuted the remaining 90% of the population.

    Now you also know why immediately after the “collapse” of the USSR the United States wasn’t given Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, including delivery vehicles, for safe keeping! Imagine that, the freed Russian people not ensuring their freedom against a Communist counter-coup with the assistance of Chinese PLA ground and air forces backing up Soviet Special Forces and Airborne Guards. If the “collapse” of the USSR had been real, then a freed Russia, for national security reasons, would have ensured that its nuclear weaponry was secured by United States military elements. That no such actions were taken proves that (1) both American political parties were co-opted by Moscow & Allies; and (2) the United States Armed Forces were not co-opted, otherwise elements of America’s armed forces would have been deployed to Russia in order to pretend to safeguard Russia’s nuclear weapons.

    In addition, the KGB agent Quislings that controlled the Russian Orthodox Church before the “collapse” of the USSR are to this day still in control! They were never identified and thrown out of that institution after the “collapse” of the USSR! The same is true for the other 14 republics of the USSR, including East Bloc nations.

  • sisyphus99

    “middle-class virtues — hard work, honesty, thrift and self-help” That could just as well be said of the so called working class!

    • dentshop

      It is the working-class. Some people are of the mistaken belief that should you have a blue-collar job with dignity and salary enough to have a mortgage and educated children – you are middle-class. They are mistaken. You are no longer working-class if indeed, you no longer ned to work.

      • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

        Indeed! This mixing of two ‘streams’ of class is totally wrong. Upper, Middle and Lower (with other minor classes squeezed in (upper middle etc) is entirely different from ‘the working class’.

  • GlobalCitizen

    Do we now get the 1% message – how was the Occupy Movement so misconstrued – especially by the ‘educated’ and ‘middle-class’?

  • Peter Stroud

    Probably the most depressing, but accurate article I have yet read in the Spectator. The trouble is that there seems no way of reversing the trend. Unless we return to a degree of protectionism. But we know where that can lead.

    It is frightening that the only advice I can give to my grandchildren is:to leave this country as soon as possible.

    • Daniel Maris

      We had protectionism for 200 years during which we saw unprecedented economic growth.

  • derekemery

    Large forces are at work throughout the world leading to a levelling of income except for the very rich who own virtually everything. Since they get noticeably even more wealthier every year in the end they will own just about everything worth owning.

    As the developing world moved up the jobs “food chain” from perhaps 50+ years ago it gradually eliminated job security in the west. The whole world is now one big market so finance and jobs move virtually instantly for the highest benefit/cost ratio.

    This has meant much unskilled and skilled work in the UK has moved overseas, simultaneously reducing wages and conditions for workers in the UK. Poverty immigration from the EU has further marginalised job opportunities. Today many are on zero hour contracts with no pensions or other benefits and no likelihood of their circumstances being any better in future. This is the equivalent of the casual dock worker who was picked for a day’s work but now applies to increasing chunks of the economy. See http://www.irishexaminer.com/business/features/zero-hours-contracts-are-on-road-to-nowhere-240611.html

    More than 135 million Chinese and Indians are expected to graduate by 2020 so there will be extensive downwards pressure on middle class job security salaries and conditions from now on. Those that remain are likely to become pension and benefit free zones with zero hours contracts becoming the norm.

    We are heading towards a position where there will be a few extremely rich people getting richer every year for no effort who will own virtually everything combined with a mass of poor without any form or security of benefits. This is rather like what we had a few hundred years ago so the wealth and benefits for all scenario and democratic accountability was just a passing phase.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Rubbing multicultural diversity in the faces of the British white middle class.”
    So not all bad, then.

    • Toby Esterházy

      Troll!

  • IQdaRadical Thinker

    One thing I have to say about the right wing…

    You certainly are consistent…no matter where you are in the world, you’re delusional and stupid.

  • Terry Field

    The globe is rapidly moving to a condition where there is a global plutocracy, lightly associated with the country of birth, a floating local middle class, highly vulnerable to the volatility of capital movements, with a massive global proletariat, poor, ill educated, potentially violent and unstable despite its natural local conservative instincts. Escape from the condition at birth easy by selecting the ‘decline’ option, but to rise through the soup almost impossible – throughout the super-stuffed West.

  • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

    Speaking as a working class type I agree it is regrettable that what might be called respectable middle class values have been eroded in the UK
    Eg’s? thrift, restraint, respect for knowledge etc

    The odd thing is that it is trendy middle and upper midlle class lefties that are responsible for the decline.

  • roger

    Why has there been a spate of invective between internet trolls over this topic?
    Perhaps it reinforces how strong the feelings of ‘class’ remain in British society.
    The article is very interesting and we should look at not just average incomes but the distribution of income and stored wealth. more data needs to be made clear.

    • Toby Esterházy

      A lot of Left-wingers and persons with chips on their shoulders, that is definitely true. The most popular post (from one @jackthesmilingblack:disqus) is in fact a bit of a wind-up merchant born, bred and living in Japan! Absolutely barking! Our society has definitely gone to the Dogs!

  • USA2Galt

    After all the facts about the destruction of England, the English and the traditional way of life have been exposed for so many years, from the mass importation of foreigners by the socialists to Edward Heath’s betrayal and concealment of the real EU agenda, this article and other dribble like it can only be considered dangerous and deliberate grey propaganda.

  • PossieJim

    We saw the writing on the wall about 42 years ago and we’re now comfortably retired in Australia, helping the new “Poms” who are arriving here settle to understand the rules in this more vibrant economy. But then I read Economics and Geography and could possibly better see where the best future opportunities lay.

  • astrolin

    Interesting but not sure why Australia is a destination. People pay tax earnt on interest on their savings at the rate they pay their income tax and housing prices are the most expensive in the world. The assault on the middle class is underway in Australia.

  • dave

    “hard work, honesty, thrift and self-help” are workingclass values. Claiming them as middleclass is cultural theft. Trade unions, the cooperative society and class solidarity are working class values.

  • Jonathan Pearson

    the middle class and the rest, die thats what they do about it …wars are sanctioned as a form of rejuvenating mechanism not a coincidence that the baby boomers were the ones born early 1940s. The problem with the conditioned middle classes, is they are stupid “the aspiring middle classes = shallow money orientated life style whores” when they realise that capitalism is the race to the bottom it’ll be too late for them.
    competition and mass production = no profit. you get a lot more things done with people working together….the last thing a society needs is Democracy as their is only one correct way of thinking “caring and sharing” which takes leadership and organisation…with the manta of “resources belong to all” this can not be done under the present token system…think of how many people could be freed from their none producing parasite money orientated jobs.

  • danbrownsense

    As a person who works in UK and has built up an international company over 7 years, the main problem i believe is that the other cultures esp. Indian are working twice as hard as the average citizen in Britain. They work harder, learn more and work at half the pay for producing twice as much work and usually are smarter too. What Britains fail to learn is that they’ll have to work equal to them if not more to be better or this transition of wealth will continue.

    • derekemery

      The west has chosen the left liberal equality based route. This naturally produces an output of people who have little interest in working hard to get anywhere. Hence employers say UK starters have little interest in applying themselves.
      In the developing world people know that the only way to get anywhere is to work hard and apply yourself because their societies are not based on left liberal equality concepts. You only get forward by your own efforts.
      We are getting poorer and will continue to get poorer as the developing world transits from catch-up mode to overtaking mode leaving western economies way behind.
      This will be very obvious within 20 years but I doubt it will change the predominately left liberal philosophy in the UK/EU.

  • lee Morgan

    We shouldn’t be living in a class society , we aren’t living in the Victorian era now but with this Etonian government I often wonder with there treatment of the poor .

    We should take a leaf out the European countries especially Nordic countries like Finland , Denmark & Sweden or even Holland or otherwise we will regret it .

  • Full Metal Bitch

    Despite the claims of those promoting despotism in democracy’s name, we must realize that only a combination of knowledge, advertisement, and fortitude will be enough to preserve morality, liberty, and prosperity.

  • AW1983

    Thatcher bought off our parents with right to buy and lower income taxes to enact her plans and now we’re paying the price. She and her kind, along with the economics she espoused and have become a religion amongst today’s politicians, are ruining us. Whilst the answers can no longer be found in the pre-Thatcher age, continuing to pursue the neo-liberal path will not do us any favours either. The super rich must be reined in to ensure resources are more fairly distributed; if tax doesn’t work, then countries may consider black listing the rich as consumers.

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