I remember the first time I put my hand up in class – it was in history and I was 12. We were studying the social impact of The Industrial Revolution and the teacher asked what was the main difference between then and now? My hand shot up, she was compelled to call on me as I was literally jumping up and down as I soooo knew the answer. ‘Well Miss, there was no such thing as the middle class, you were either very rich or very poor.’ Of course I was right but I have been thinking about this a lot recently as I become more and more disillusioned with politics and the world I see around me.
I wonder what the difference really is today? The rich are now super rich and the poor are on the bread line and as for the middle I am not even convinced they exist. Are they not simply poor with a good credit rating – driving around in a car they don’t own, living in a house they don’t own, sitting on a sofa they don’t own watching posh reality TV on a 42 inch plasma HD TV they don’t own! The only difference between them and the economically challenged is they are given credit, overdrafts loans and HP contracts as the financial fatcats salivate over their gullibility, aspirations and salary.
Oh I know I sound cynical but put aside the glass ceiling for a moment and consider the CLASS ceiling we foster in this country today. The corridors of power may spend quality, campaigning time talking about social mobility but it is a joke. Let’s take the professions, an enquiry done by the Government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission last year showed beyond a shadow of a doubt the professions open their doors to public school graduates only. 70% of the jobs from the country’s top legal, accountancy and financial services firms go to graduates who have been to selective state or fee paying schools although they only make up 11% of the population.
Closed shop I ask? And where do you think over 80% of our politicians went to school?
This sector, the professions, far from be ashamed of this stat has actually put in more hoops to ensure social selection remains as they are all fighting for the same tiny group of recruits, academic prowess is no longer enough and could mean a few working class kids slip through the net who are part of the percentage scholarship programmes so they now also look for additional qualities like poise, polish, confidence, how well travelled they are and get this accents – argh!
Tackling this is a moral imperative let alone an economic one – How will we ever convince kids that education is worthwhile because it will open the doors to a better life?
And for the record a survey done by the University of South Wales ranking accents found that the Brummie accent was rated as the least intelligent – you have been warned!