Friday round up

Here are few bits and bobs for Friday afternoon.

  • The YouGov/Sun daily poll this morning had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 44%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 8%. As we suspected yesterday, the Conservative boost from the referendum pledge has indeed faded away.
  • While we’re on that topic, Lord Ashcroft had some polling this morning on the same subject. It was taken over last weekend, so when the poll boost was at its height, and had voting intention figures of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 7% (the polling appears to have been done by Populus, whose voting intention polls for the Times are becoming increasingly infrequent), but Ashcroft concludes, probably correctly, that it has not done much to change perceptions of the Conservative party.
  • Ipsos-MORI have put together a rather nice interactive graphic of their main polling between 2010-2012, which is worth a play with here.
  • And finally, some polling for Phil Cowley on the Nottingham Politics site, asking people what sort of MPs they wanted to see more or less of. The type of MP that the largest proportion of people say they want to see more is MPs who are local to the area they are representing, followed by more working class MPs. This does not, of course, mean that people will necessarily vote in a way to achieve that aim…

171 Responses to “Friday round up”

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  1. Pretty much as you were. BTW, the link to the interactive graphic seems to be broken.

  2. MiM & Pete B
    Not disagreeing with yours comments about Alan Johnson, however it does remind me of a debate about being working class.
    At the time of Alan Johnson’s resignation from the shadow cabinet two years ago, Luke Akehurst, wrote an article about it, saying how sorry he was to see the last working class shadow cabinet member leave. For the rest of the article Akehurst wrote how he defined what constituted working class, using Johnson as an example.
    Akehurst stated that Johnson was working class because he was brought up in a council house; he had worked as a postman, had got involved in his union (now the CWU) and then entered politics as a Labour MP. He remained working class, Akehurst argued, because Johnson did not have a degree.
    I have a problem with this definition of working class. I grew up on a council estate, I left in my thirties, I am a postman of twenty five years’ service, I have been active in the CWU for twenty years (although not its general secretary), and served as a local councillor for 18 years. So far, so good. However last September my working class credentials as defined by Akehurst took a blow, I graduated with a First class degree.
    So now we have a working class MP and a middle class postman, and all because of a bit a paper.

  3. Very good post Baltus.

    Highlights the vacuity of some of these trite phrases.

  4. @ Baltus

    Unless I am mistaken, the Unions used to encourage working people to get degrees or other qualifications; I think some even had funds to help Union employees with living expenses whilst they were doing degrees.

  5. Baltus

    Didn’t you get the memo, we are all middle class now!!

  6. @Baltus

    Yes, but you did betray the Twelve Colonies to the Cylons.

    rgdsm

  7. So what class is Sir Alan Sugar? Obviously he was working class when he was brassic but he now has a bob or two and a Roller or two. (He doesn’t have a degree though).

    Personally my view is that it is a totally out of date debate. Surely we now have , the ruling class, (MP’s Judges, the Royal family), the working class (ie those who work), the unemployed class and the unemployable class. The debate would be more sensibly aimed at how we sort out number 2 & number 3 on that list.

  8. Robert

    Easier to sort out number 1 on your list, I have a few ideas!!

  9. I think class distinctions these days are more or less an internal, tribalistic thing.

    Two people of virtually identical background can see themselves as being a very different class, depending on what suits their own political prejudices and sense of identity.

    The difference from, say, a hundred years ago is that the pressure to “massage” your background works entirely in both directions these days whereas in previous eras few people felt the drive to “underestimate” their class and most pretended to be “classier” than they were.

  10. Lab + LD = 54%. Maybe we are looking at a possible coalition of those parties in 2015.

  11. Working class MP’s can anybody tell me what working class means today.
    Traditionally it meant somebody who had a lower income than other people with lower prospects.
    I have always considered myself working class I started off working as a engineering apprentice in a shipyard , won a scholarship to university got a science degree in engineering spent 20yrs going round the world with various engineering companies, then had a complete change of direction, sold by house in America brought a farm in Dorset and spent the next 24 yrs using my head and hands working on the land.
    Now I have retired I have a comfortable so called middle class life style.
    My point is all this talk of different classes is completely irrelevant it’s not what background you come from it’s what you do with your life that matter’s, the only real barrier is the level of your own intelligence and ambition if that isn’t true then why have we bothered with socialism one of it’s major points was to break down the ridged class system and yet people still talk about working class, middle class, upper class as if it was still relevant in the 21st Century, very depressing that people still define people from what background they come from.

  12. I doubt anyone would class John Prescott as anything other than working class. Champagne socialist perhaps, but it’s not as if his later-life education changed his accent.

    So if you get a degree, some will say you should no longer qualify for the Labour front bench.

    It should produce interesting results if ever applied.

  13. Labour lead back up to 12 points: From my perspective it seems that Labour’s large Client State they built up whilst in Government seems to be paying dividends; then we have the proposed Boundary Changes defeated, a Leveson threat to mute the right-wing Press, and not to mention the BBC- which seems to me to follow the modern, progressive, pro-EU and P.C line in its news reports and documentaries.

    The conclusion must be that The Left have it made!! It will prove very hard indeed for the Tories to win in 2015, and the fact that the economy is possibly back in recession does not help: Everything is against the Tories and it is very possible that they will never govern alone again.

    After Gordon Brown led the most unpopular Labour Government in modern times- the fact that the Tories (despite David Cameron’s “detoxification programme”) could not secure an overall majority in 2010 speaks volumes. With Labour now more popular and with the Tories unpopular because of the “Austerity Measures” there is not the remotest chance of the Tories winning a majority (even if the economy does recover somewhat).

    If the latest You Gov poll is right it means that the Tories will need a 10% swing against Labour to win outright. As much as I myself dislike the prospect of another Labour Government (or even a Lib/Lab pact)- I cannot for the life of me see how the Tories can gain the extra 10% of votes from Labour, when every good thing they try to do or say (like, for instance David Cameron’s EU Speech) is drowned out by the Masses fearful about the economy, losing benefits and further “cut-backs”.

    That said, I do not think that even the Tories have what it takes to really cut spending, and cut business taxes so that a major credit downgrade for Britain is avoided- whilst businesses and enterprise are encouraged (in the face of austerity) by the business tax cuts. I will be surprised indeed if Britain retains its cherished AAA Credit rating this year.

    Ian Pennell

  14. “From my perspective it seems that Labour’s large Client State they built up whilst in Government seems to be paying dividends; then we have the proposed Boundary Changes defeated, a Leveson threat to mute the right-wing Press, and not to mention the BBC- which seems to me to follow the modern, progressive, pro-EU and P.C line in its news reports and documentaries.”

    I wonder whether such wisdom is received from the stuff you read, or whether you read stuff to confirm the wisdom already absorbed.

    Either way the client state argument is directly imported from the US and it didn’t get traction with the electorate there either. And you must be watching a different BBC to me.

  15. @Statgeek & Turk,

    If we have to engage in class labelling (which I personally try to avoid) then I think the best indicator is probably the question “What did your parents do for a living?”

    The child of an MP, a barrister or a headmaster is likely to be middle class, regardless of their own achievements or the origins of their parents.

    The child of a hospital porter, dustman or docker is likely to be working class, regardless of their own achievements or the origins of their parents.

  16. “when every good thing they try to do or say (like, for instance David Cameron’s EU Speech)”

    Creating fear among business leaders about the UKs future in the EU is a good thing ? Crikey !

    As for those losing benefits, perhaps you should consider the effects on those that survive on £71pw Jobseeker’s Allowance who will for the first time be expected to pay a portion of their council tax as well as possibly losing additional money because they live in a home that has a spare bedroom whilst ignoring the fact that there are very few smaller homes available and all bearing in mind that the annual uprating is less than the rate of inflation therefore is actually a cut in cash terms.

    It would astound me if any of these people ever voted Tory but then again, there are some daft folk around who would sooner spit into the wind than change the habits of a lifetime.

  17. TURK

    I agree with that so very much.

    Class prejudice seems to be something we cannot escape in this country.

  18. “It would astound me if any of these people ever voted Tory but then again, there are some daft folk around”
    Daft = disagrees with me?

    While I’d never vote Tory myself[1], it’s important to understand why people have a different ideological outlook rather than just dismissing their views as daft/crazy/etc

    [1] Which is pretty obvious given my far-left views.

  19. @ Ian Pennell

    I am very confident in predicting a Conservative OM come 2015.
    I base that on when it comes down to it the electorate will not be able to bring itself to vote for the dear Mr Milliband.

    Now if they replaced him with his brother a few months before i may be a tad more worried.

    @ NickP
    If the BBC were anymore left leaning they would topple over.
    You could almost imagine senior wigs at the bbc running around screaming ‘we’re all gonna die’ after DC’s euro speech.

    But then again i have heard people say that the BBC is pro conservative so it must really be nuetral :)

  20. Interesting that mostly the folks that say look at me I worked hard and made something of myself did so before the onset of neoliberalism, in fact in that period of time 1945 to 1975 when social mobility was at it’s greatest in history, however since 1975 social mobility has fallen off a cliff. Discuss??

  21. @ RiN

    Discuss??
    ———–
    Opportunity is something which it is difficult to quantify & poll around, I think. If anybody can recall clear polling questions & outcomes which have been asked around the subjects of social mobility & opportunity, it could be an interesting topic to read about/ discuss.

  22. From pride’s purge

    “THE RSPCA has launched an investigation into accusations that David Cameron has cold-bloodedly and deliberately caused a dead cat to bounce in opinion polls after he gave his EU speech promising a referendum last week.The latest accusations come after it was revealed the Prime Minister has previously been accused of causing the bouncing of dead cats in opinion polls on several occasions before – including one lasting as long as a week after he vetoed EU negotiations late last year.

    RSPCA inspectors are also said to be investigating suspicions that the Prime Minister is responsible for the relentless and brutal flogging of several dead horses, including one relating to clearing up the mess left behind by Labour, another related to benefit claimants all being lazy scroungers and a third relating to foreigners from the EU coming over here taking all our jobs in order to live a life of luxury on benefits.

    The RSPCA is now appealing for information about the owners of the dead horses – some of which were also said to have been callously flogged under the previous Labour administration.”

  23. @RiN

    Being comfortable is acceptable, and it’s far easier to achieve in modern times.

  24. Statgeek

    But the stats say that it isn’t, if fact you have to go back to the 18th century to find a time with as little social mobility as today

  25. Richard.

    Even a cursory look at the subject of social mobility & its “stats” shows that the concept , it’s definition & measurement, let alone it’s relevance & usage is absolutely frought with claim & counter claim by all manner of economists & sociologists. There are studies & commentaries galore.

    This is not a simple subject which can be approached with simple asertions.

  26. ROBERT NEWARK
    “Surely we now have , the ruling class, (MP’s Judges, the Royal family), the working class (ie those who work), the unemployed class and the unemployable class. The debate would be more sensibly aimed at how we sort out number 2 & number 3 on that list.”
    In so far as this relates to VI and party identities in the mind of the electorate, there would be a reasonable case for saying that Labour’s one nation image does contrast, not so much with any intentional appeal of the Conservative Party to a 60% who don’t support Labour (previous post) but to an image of them as posh, and a three nation party of “us, the plebs and the shirkers”. The image has some reality sociologically in dress, holidays, drinking and eating habits and language, reinforced, as it happens, by on average a tendency to have gone to top schools and top universities and to sending their children to the same schools and universities, with a firm intention of perpetuating their advantages. Both the reality and Ed’s exploitation of its presence in the HOC seem a lethal factor in VI.

  27. “The image has some reality sociologically in dress, holidays, drinking and eating habits and language, reinforced, as it happens, by on average a tendency to have gone to top schools and top universities and to sending their children to the same schools and universities, with a firm intention of perpetuating their advantages. ”

    Yes I’m sure the average voter is absolutely outraged by people who eat & drink different things to them; dress in different clothes & speak with different accents-compounding these insults by going to top universities rather than bottom ones; encouraging their own children to do likewise rather than ensuring that they fail academically…………and then having the bare faced cheek to suggest that personal advancement is something everyone could aspire to.

    It really is appalling that such people should present themselves as potential representatives of a population who demand to dress, drink, eat, holiday, & speak like the people next door, go to poor universities & ensure that their children go to worse ones.

  28. I think social class is obsessed about far too much. My father told me that a gentleman should treat everyone with equal respect no matter what their occupation or position in life.

    If we have to discuss it, let’s at least be a bit more nuanced. George Orwell famously claimed to be lower-upper-middle class, and the weird thing is, I know exactly what that means! I’m probably upper-lower-middle, which of course is entirely different!

  29. @Colin,

    You appear to have changed the subject to “East African Asian Immigrants”.

  30. COLIN
    “Yes I’m sure the average voter is absolutely outraged by people who eat & drink different things to them; dress in different clothes & speak with different accents-compounding these insults by going to top universities rather than bottom ones; encouraging their own children to do likewise rather than ensuring that they fail academically…………and then having the bare faced cheek to suggest that personal advancement is something everyone could aspire to.”

    Sorry, I intended to state a fact about both our society at the present time, and about the differing images and self-projections of the two main parties. And about EM’s exploitation of the image of the Tories in the HOC; and the impact of these differing images and EM’s exploitation of the Tory image on VI.
    Wrong? OK. so say why, but recuse me please from any suggestion that I disparage people who manage to live well and help their children to do likewise, in a society that, not in fact being a socialist republic, is organised that way.
    I have the feeling that that is what EM’s one nation strategy is about, and that that is increasingly recognised by the electorate. So there is a more enduring factor at work, beyond the, as you and others have indicated, the out-dated class argument and its party political exploitation.

    By all means

  31. NEILA

    @”You appear to have changed the subject to “East African Asian Immigrants”.”

    Indeed.

    Thinking back, it was a disgrace that those people were allowed in -eating all that strange food , funny accents, buying up corner shops all over the place, working all hours -then sending their children to good schools & universities.

    1972 if memory serves-must check which party was in government-bet it was a bunch of right wing extremist toffs .

  32. DE3T
    Take out “By all means” – not sure where that came from.

  33. @ Colin

    Locking in advantages for your own children is one side of the coin. Locking out children who’ve done nothing to deserve such ‘exclusion’ is the other side of that coin.

    Should it be left to individual philanthropists (like e.g. Jimmy Saville?) to ‘invest’ in the future of children whose parents don’t know how to play the ‘getting on in life’ game?

  34. NEIL A
    “@”You appear to have changed the subject to “East African Asian Immigrants”.”

    Watch out you don’t get the two of us lined up. The contribution of the “East African Asians” both to the economic development of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, and to that of this country folliowing their expulsion by Idi Amin from Uganda and copy cat repression by the other counrries in the interests of Africanisation, is well documented. They looked after themselves and brought their wealth, high educational standards and enterprise to the UK, bypassing much of the assistance which the Government at the time provided for them.

  35. @John

    I agree with almost all of that. Only many of them didn’t bring any (material) wealth at all. They are currently the most affluent section of the British population. And not a tophat or a tail amongst them.

    The ladder may be hard to climb, but some people find it easier than others it seems.

  36. NEIL A
    Perhaps, but my guess is that some do run to the odd top hat and tails for Ascot, more power to their elbow. I tend to disparage personal experience as a basis of argument on this blog, but for the record, I had the pleasure of working with clerk-typists from the mainly Gujerati Mombasa community while serving as RE regimental clerk at Mackinnon road, later studies their history in the building of the Mombasa to Kisumu railway during research in Kericho, where as all over they provided retail and garage services, and took part in the planning of their reception when they were obliged to flee E.Africa. Receiving them here as refugees was a calculated move by the Government, and has added to our wealth creating capacities. I never, incidentally, heard of any who were indigent or depended on public support.

  37. Class is always something that frustrates academics, as it’s not scientifically quantifiable, but to everyone else who doesn’t view everything through a microscope, trusty calculator in hand, it’s easy to tell what class someone is after a brief conversation.

    The thing about degrees is just rubbish, getting a degree doesn’t level you up etc.

    I think your class is what you grew up as mainly. Even if I got rich, I’d stay true to my working class roots, and I’d never forget where I came from. Whereas others get rich and go live the high life and become snobs, I believe they are called “new money” is that correct? Wannabe aristocrats.

  38. !975 of course when grammar schools began to be abolished.

  39. Although I do not support the Tories, and will be voting for UKIP (because I think that they have the better policies for safeguarding our future prosperity), I do believe that a majority Labour Government after the next General Election will be a disaster for the economy.

    There is one small crumb of comfort which I can glean from the polls- by comparing them to previous very unpopular Conservative Governments: During 1995 and early 1996 Tony Blair’s Labour Party had a lead over John major averaging 29-30%; whereas he won the 1997 Election with Labour on 43% and the conservatives on 30% (a lead of just 13%). John Major- although he lost (and we must remember this was a government mired in sleaze and division over Europe far worse than David Cameron’s Conservatives)- achieved a swing towards his Party of at least 8%.

    Similarly, during Margaret Thatcher’s 1983-7 term she averaged about 3% behind Labour through 1986 (one year before the 1987 General Election); and Labour averaged a 4% lead if you include the late 1985 polls. But Margaret Thatcher still won the June 1987 General Election with 41% of the vote (a full 10% ahead of Labour). That is a 7% swing to the Conservatives.

    The “comfort” I have is this: If these Conservative Governments could achieve a swing towards them of 7 to 8% in just 18 months, so can David Cameron: It means even if we are seeing the start of Labour averaging 12 to 13% in the polls over the next year- of which the You Gov Poll above could be the first (because of the economy and “austerity”); that David Cameron could still obliterate the Labour lead and replace it with a slim Tory lead of 2 to 3% for the General Election. Even with Labour’s in-built bias in the Electoral System (that David Cameron just failed in his quest to get corrected!) it means that Labour would fall well short of a Majority, and the Tories may still emerge as the largest Party -and certainly large enough to stop Labour (even with the Lib Dems help) from getting some of their most damaging policies through the House of Commons.

    However, if we remain in recession; or if there is a major downgrade in Britain’s Credit Rating over the next year (because the government has failed to reduce the Budget Deficit)- with even more serious cuts being forced on the country- then the Labour poll lead could climb above 20%: and with that any small “crumb of comfort”- of hope of avoiding a majority Labour Government (that I might have) would evaporate!

    Ian

  40. Surely a Labour/Conservative coalition would be the best solution like they have in Ireland, but that’s very unlikely in our politics climate. (Though in the 3rd tv debate, i distinctly remember thinking Brown and Cameron had made a pact to get Clegg)

    It’d be a great solution, the Conservative half can raise the money, the Labour half can spend it on those who need it.

  41. An interesting addendum to the referendum speech (and something that I don’t think has been much commented on here) is the apparently weakening position of Cameron within his own party.

    The referendum pledge was meant to secure the PMs position, with both voters and his party, but a cursory glance at the papers makes this assertion very hard indeed to support.

    This in the Telegraph is probably the most explicit of the various news items doing the rounds – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/9842378/How-serious-is-the-conspiracy-to-bring-down-Prime-Minister-David-Cameron.html

    It brings back that word – febrile – so often associated with the Tory parliamentary party since the early 1990’s that it now seems to be owned by them, and suggests that the party has still failed to reinvent the confidence that was once their hallmark.

    Pretty much since the day of the Europe speech, we’ve had talk of plots and coups and falling support for the PM, so I think we can put to bed the notion that this was a great party unifying move.

    Interestingly, Cameron’s decision to announce a decade long engagement in North Africa really seems to have bombed with his party.

  42. MANINTHEMIDDLE

    Maybe that’s not such a far-fetched idea as you think it is: David Cameron- if he fails to get the votes for a Majority next time might want to prove how much “The Conservative Party Has Changed” by making a “Bold-and Comprehensive Offer To Govern With Ed Miliband”. The modern “Conservatives” are a Tax-The-Rich, Borrow and Spend Party, like Labour- which the latest borrowing figures ought to attest!

    Who knows- perhaps the Lib Dems will be part of this Grand-Coalition Government too- they also have very similar policies! All three main Parties “Governing Together In The National Interest”.

    Only one problem then- will there be enough UKIP MPs after 2015 to form a viable and strong Opposition to this grand Social Democratic Coalition?

  43. http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2013/02/can-tories-turn-2015-into-a-cameron-versus-miliband-presidential-contest.html#idc-cover

    I was amazed to see how well the Labour Party are doing in the Political ‘brand’ perception table which comes from Lord Ashcroft’s polling!

  44. @IAN PENNELL

    `will there be enough UKIP MPs after 2015`

    Enough is probably superflous there!

  45. We all tend to get in a terrible pickle in this country when we try to describe, explain and debate social class. All sorts of things are conflated; income, education, family background over many generations, academic achievement, type of job and occupation, accents, cultural interests – even race. Old Marxist class definitions are now defunct in the sense that anything like a proletariat still exists, a class of people who survive on the fruits of their own labour and who are in constant conflict with the bourgeoisie. People are nostalgic though and quite like to associate themselves with the old class definitions of their forebears and that’s why you will find affluent and well educated people still thinking of themselves, almost genetically, as working class and, conversely, why fairly impoverished sons and daughters of well heeled parents would be loathe to divest themselves of their middle class self identity.

    Of course, snobbery, both inverted and overt is never far away. My legendary Skinners Arms pub hosts many an anecdotal debate on class origins. Old Reg was telling me the other day that “these champagne socialists with their bleedin’ hearts and posh educations have ruined the country. I came up the hard way and nobody did me any favours. Made my money off my own back and it’s alright for people like Wedgewood Benn and Harriet Harperson with their upper class….” You know the rest, but my gist is that all sorts of people have warped class obsessions, none more so than some right wingers with chips on their shoulders, embellishing their heroic escapes from destitution and reserving a special loathing for middle class and, in their view, hypocritical socialists. That’s class hatred on a par with any left wing Toff-bashing . No better no worse. One man’s “class envy” is another man’s “class pride”.

    It would be preposterous though to argue that increased social mobility has achieved a classless society in this country. It was one of the many inanities that John Major peddled when he claimed he was all about achieving this mythical shangri-la. Privilege from cradle to grave is engrained and we live in a society where access to the best education is dependent on wealth and where the life chances of the vast majority are more or less set from the day they emerge, blinking into this very unequal world.

    I’m going to say something that might surprise many people and may even seem perverse, but it relates to the finding in the poll that people want “to see more working class MPs”. I think, from a vague aspirational point of view, I know where they’re coming from. I hail from a solidly middle class background but I find it a source of almost shame that I live in a democracy where so many of our elected representatives, and therefore the people who govern us, come from, and inhabit a world, that is alien and unrecognisable from the one that the vast majority of the country’s citizens know and experience.

    George Monbiot, a man from a very similar social and educational background to mine, wrote a superb article on this very topic in the Guardian earlier this week.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/28/rich-born-to-rule-fatal

  46. @RiN

    I have never put much store in the phrase ‘social mobility’. Is it a good thing in itself, or does it just create class envy if not achieved by those with no ability or determination?

    Thousands of kids out there don’t give a fig for it, as long as their mobile phone and their Internet keeps on getting paid for.

    And in that sense, the phrase social mobility can be applied also, and it has never been more widespread. People chatting across countries; across timezones. Doing business 24/7.

    I don’t think there’s the same need for the mobility in its original definition. Few want to be toffs, although everyone wants to be rich. Most want to be famous, but don’t care that they will make an idiot of themselves if they get the chance.

    Social standing is measured in other ways nowadays. Some see it as having gold around their neck. Others having a degree. Few younger ones see it as some career-growing, upwardly mobile objective or strategy. They don’t care.

  47. @ Statgeek

    Few younger ones see it as some career-growing, upwardly mobile objective or strategy. They don’t care.
    ——————–
    I don’t know what young people you meet but the ones which I know feel overwhelmed. They feel that they have no career path. They feel that anything which they do will be outsourced, off-shored or obsolete within a few years of them learning how to do it. Running up a down escalator which just goes faster & faster is how several have described it.

    They are expected to have intellect, empathy, emotional intelligence, knowledge, ability & a host of other attributes which ‘set them apart from the herd’ just to be accountants or bank clerks!

  48. I suppose anyone who met me would assume I am solidly lower-middle class, and if I am anything then I guess that’s what I am.

    But my mother grew up in an orphanage in West London. She was born in 1932 and her father’s name wasn’t even on her birth certificate. It is through her efforts that I am “middle class”, not my own. Perhaps a modern girl in care “can’t” do what she did, but all she did was train as a nurse and get very good at it. If modern kids can’t do that then maybe the decades of solid improvement we’re supposed to have seen in education are a complete falsehood.

    The principal determinant, so far as I can see from my rather good vantage point, of your prospects in life is “the company you keep”. Peer pressure is such an overwhelming force that if you’re exposed to the wrong varieties of it then you are so disadvantaged as to have virtually no hope. Those who succeed are those with good peers, or very strong willpower. I suspect that it is this, rather than the resources they have access to, that brightens the future of children in “good schools”.

  49. @Neil A

    “If we have to engage in class labelling (which I personally try to avoid) then I think the best indicator is probably the question “What did your parents do for a living?”

    The child of an MP, a barrister or a headmaster is likely to be middle class, regardless of their own achievements or the origins of their parents.

    The child of a hospital porter, dustman or docker is likely to be working class, regardless of their own achievements or the origins of their parents.”

    I wonder what that makes me then. I am the son of a civil servant and a owner of a small family building firm. I also possess a degree.

  50. @AKMD,

    You are whatever you feel you are. I would guess those around you consider you to be Lower Upper Middle Class (to borrow from Orwell).

    My point is that I expect you would still be Lower Upper Middle Class even if you’d left school with no A Levels and were working in a bar.

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