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Well, yes, obviously

One in three of the richest people identify as working-class, a survey has revealed.

The latest British Social Attitudes survey by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) revealed that in 2022, 32 per cent of Britons in the top quarter of household incomes – those earning more than £40,000 – identified as working-class.

However, 48 per cent of those from the poorest households – those earning less than £19,000 – said they felt middle-class or had no class identity.

As anyone with even a passing knowledge of Britain – or perhaps even England – knows class is not a matter of money in this country. Aristocrats can be penniless and still upper class, others rich as muck and still working class.

A recent Earl Nelosn (I think it was) was a detective sergeant in the police, another recent hereditary was a bus conductor. Aristos the both of them by English standards. Alan Sugar, rich as Croesus, life peer, is not an aristo. Never will be either. Partly that having been in trade thing. His grandchildren probably will be, his great grandchildren almost certainly. Money and class simply are not directly related in this country.

Linked, correlated, sure, but not the same thing at all.

23 thoughts on “Well, yes, obviously”

  1. I remember trying to explain the English class system to a some 15 or 16-year-old West German schoolchildren back in 1982. I thought I’d made a good job of it until I asked them for an example of someone who would be upper-class.

    A hand went up and replied: “Margaret Tetcher.”

    I laughed like a drain, and moved onto something simpler, such as how to pronounce Thatcher.

  2. Train drivers are about as working class as you can get. With overtime, unsocial hours etc they’re on doctors’ wages.
    A lot of middle class jobs, e.g. journalism, pay shite money.
    It’s not unique to the UK. In USA electricians can make more than electrical engineers.

  3. That was Alan Clark, being even more snobbish than usual. About which Bill Deedes said that Clark was nouveau enough to have to buy his own castle (the Clark’s castle was bought from the Deedes family)…..

  4. Nah, you and Snowden have simply missed the point. People are lying – being prolier than thou is a Thing. Consider His Kieriness: he insists his father was a toolmaker. No doubt, but his Dad was the Oxted Tool Company – he owned the factory.

    I’ve seen someone make the shrewd guess that there are two reasons to hush this up. One is the PTT reason, and the other might be that Dad’s was not a union shop. That would be a lark, eh?

  5. We have down-with-the-proles RJ Murphy and Blanchflower fcol claiming that the economics of walking about, of mileendroad economics can teach you more than ivory tower concepts such as understanding comparative advantage or that prices change behaviours.
    This middle classes pretending they are street really is a thing.

  6. No, it’s just that £40k, in 2023, isn’t a large income. You can easily earn £40k and live in a council estate these days. The Pound isn’t what it used to be.

    So, yes, there will be plenty of skilled tradesmen, fitness instructors called Deano, entrepreneurial hairdressers, supermarket managers and junior corporate IT salesmen earning over £40k. What’s disappointing is that 75% of British households earn less than £40k a year (that HMRC knows about, innit).

    The rest of Britain should stop being so fucking poor. I suppose it’s alright in Wales, where you can buy a house for 27 pence and a pack of Rizla, but the rest of the country has no such excuse.

  7. Isn’t the whole class thing the preserve of a certain section of the middle classes? Insecurely balanced between the two extremes. Historically, the hereditary aristocracy showed no reluctance to hob-nob with anyone. And the working class no reluctance to work for anyone. The “having been in trade” slur is usually directed by people only a generation or two removed from having been in trade themselves.

  8. The “having been in trade” slur

    Coming from a long line of Baldricks, I never understood why it was a slur to be accused of having marketable skills.

  9. Btw, was Isambard Kingdom Brunel looked down on, because he worked with his hands?

    Seems to me the Victorians practically worshipped the Savants, their time was a joyous explosion of industry and building.

  10. Seems to me the Victorians practically worshipped the Savants, their time was a joyous explosion of industry and building.
    Indeed Steve. I suspect the “having been in trade” slur originated with the ones who weren’t part of the joyous explosion of industry and building. We have a similar thing now. The self claimed superiority of the academic class.

  11. I know Steve’s mentioned this already but is it really true that three quarters of UK households earn less than £40k? I know not all households have 2 adults but it doesn’t seem like a lot….

  12. 75% might be overcooking it but deffo more than 50% #

    In the financial year ending (FYE) 2022, median household income in the UK before taxes and benefits was £35,000, increasing to £38,100 after taxes and benefits.

  13. @Steve – September 22, 2023 at 8:06 am

    ANNRQ – My father was a hospital.

    I say old chap… Isn’t that being rather condemnatory of your poor mother’s morals?

  14. So 50% of households are net beneficiaries of benefits? How much do you need to earn to be a net contributor?

    Anyway…. Data like this show how laughable the pretensions of the UK political establishment are, spaffing cash on foreign aid, useless train sets and pretending to ‘decarbonise’ the economy.

    They look just as pathetic as someone like Modi, nursing a semi over his rocket to the moon while millions of Indians live in shit-ridden slums.

  15. 40K? Per household? Two fulltime jobs at minimum wage will get you there. The statistic is bolx unless hedged about with ifs and buts.

    And if true why does the median income get net benefit after tax? And why doesn’t my two-pensioner household get benefitted up to £38K?

  16. I expect £3k of healthcare, £6k of education if kids under 18 etc, £100 on bins being collected are counted so the median bod could have an after taxes and benefits number greater than their pre-tax and bens remuneration.
    I say £3k of healthcare, that’s a guess at the amount, not the same as what it’s worth or what median bod would pay if it was private.

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