Understanding the American class system is elementary. In Ruggles of Red Gap, the striving American wife instructs her new English butler on the duties she expects him to perform for her husband. ‘I want him to look like somebody,’ she explains. ‘Like who, madam?’ asks the perplexed servant. ‘Like somebody,’ she repeats firmly. There you have it. Our upper class are Somebody, our lower class are Nobody, and our middle class are Everybody. Not for us the traditional middle-class composition of doctors, lawyers, judges, business owners and academics. All of these are Somebody to our rank-and-file middle class, who make the cut simply by self-identification. They might be department heads, office managers, supervisors, policemen, firemen, or highly paid skilled labourers like plumbers and electricians, but ask them where they stand on the social ladder and they will unhesitatingly say, ‘Oh, sorta middle class, I guess.