The workers united will never be defeated…

4 April 2013

There’s a BBC website where you can find out what class you are, according to new criteria drawn up by some bloke at the LSE and a babe from Manchester University. There are apparently seven new classes – which I suppose is designed to replace the old registrar General’s Scale – ranging from ‘Elite’ to something called ‘Precariat’, this latter comprising people with pit bull terriers but no money to feed them.

It is a chimera, in my opinion. There are two classes in this country. There is the ruling class, which is privately educated and has inherited wealth and agreeable contacts and which comprises between 60 to 80 per cent of the top jobs in the legal profession, journalism, the city and politics. And there are the rest of us, 93 per cent of the population who scrabble around for the leftovers.

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  • CN

    You, Rod Liddle, are “associate editor of The Spectator.” You write “a weekly column in the magazine, as well as contributing to The Sunday Times and The Sun.” You’ve also been the editor of the Today programme on Radio 4. Hardly scrabbling around for leftovers.

  • Daniel Gallotti

    Ed Miliband and David Cameron also have a noble heritage from Judea.
    They’re the real rulers of the World.

  • TimC

    I am privately educated, went to Cambridge, have a private income, retired to the Caribbean at 32 after a City career. Did the “test” and was classified as – traditional working class.

  • Ruben

    “There are two classes in this country. There is the ruling class, which
    is privately educated and has inherited wealth and agreeable contacts
    and which comprises between 60 to 80 per cent of the top jobs in the
    legal profession, journalism, the city and politics. And there are the
    rest of us”

    Is this irony?

  • Rayalhumpi

    I am very happy to
    read your articles it’s very useful for me,


  • Swank

    Why has one young chappie got his back to the queen?

    And why are they all holding up their cameras like a scrum of reporters or the audience at a pop concert?

  • Roger Beaumont

    Everywhere I have lived, the UK, Italy, Thailand, Australia and Bhutan has the same set up: a very comfortable elite that gets fist dibbs on everything…

  • Forest Fan

    The ruling class is there when you switch on the box, put
    the radio on or read a newspaper. They are in the top 20 charts and up for the
    Oscars. Next it will be sport.

    Of course it used to always be like this but then we had Grammar
    Schools to offer a little balance instead of the crappy comprehensive I went

    The tw@ts even think they know more about the working class
    than I do. In fact, you got to be part of the ruling class to think that there
    is no (none at all) connection between the welfare and the Phillpott case.

  • sunnydayrider

    And there are those, like your editor, who scramble to be the top Jock by employing un-employable wannabees like Pippa Wotsit!

  • Hellen

    This must be a joke, I count literally two Caucasians (not including the Queen and her aid), if that is the best they can do then that place is finished.

    • William Reid Boyd

      Even bankers are hard put to afford top public school boarding fees these days. That’s why it’s all sheiikhs, tin pot African dictators and Russian mafiosi now. In due course they will come to rule us.

      • Noa

        From which affluent Etonian ‘sub-communities’ we will then presumably draw our next generation of Archbishops, Cabinet members and of course, the pillars of our financial system.

    • Daniel Maris

      Don’t worry Hellen –

      You can be assured that the mix is the result of the Eton Media Officers ministrations and not a true reflection of the ethnic profile.

      • Hellen

        Thanks mate, I feel better now. I hit the roof.

  • CraigStrachan

    Did you take the class test, Rod?

    • Swank

      If you’re transnational it’s a waste of time. Or the least bit unconventional. I would probably tick all boxes except for ‘curtsey while wearing tiara’ and ‘let’s go walkies, Killer’. Social ‘studies’ like this one rely on everyone falling in their appointed places. I’m a pain in the petunia because I’m a category-breaker. :^)

  • William Reid Boyd

    Our new Archbishop is an Old Etonian thank god, not like his Swansea boy Londonista predecessor who probably never knelt in humility to kiss a foot in his life. Truly god moves in wondrous ways and we are not mocked.

  • Daniel Maris

    Well I think the facts are with you Rod.

    I think it is particularly worrying now the way that jobs are dished out on the basis of

    who you know, through unpaid internships and contacts. This has always been a problem of course but it is more so now given the lack of new well paid and secure jobs and the competition from people coming into the country from abroad. It’s a real problem I believe now for the lower middle class and the aspirational working class.

    We need to bring in a legal framework for internships so that big firms have to make them paid internships and subject to open, objective competition. We need also to ensure there is priority for our young citizens in gaining employment.

    • Swank

      Well said, Daniel.

    • Noa

      More regulation? Yet another quango? Who should manage it?
      More of the ‘elite’ on £250-300k yearly?

      Diane Abbott, Tony Blair…any old Labour or Tory dynasty?
      Truly Daniel, you seize the burning end of the candle.

      • Swank

        Noa: Good point, but I thought it was nice to hear someone speaking up for the common good, for a change.

        • Noa

          My dear lady

          You must realise by now that, whilst Daniel’s heart is in the right place, his moral compass all too often defaults towards No 1 Brewers Green in situations where the best solution is to avert, rather than encourage state intervention.
          By your simplistic intervention you have obviated months of intensive therapy by the CH anti-socialist emergency intervention team.

          • Swank

            Oh dear. But surely he must know that I’m a near-extremist for freedom, such that when you’ve been complimented by me, you can never hang out with pride in the same Lefty circles again?

            • Noa

              Hecky thump, lass!

              That’s a lot to infer from a compliment.

              Divorces have been caused by exchanges on a Rod Blog.

              I’m told.

              • Swank


  • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

    God bless ye Rod, breath of fresh air to actually read the unvarnished truth in the media for once.

  • Noa

    “There are two classes in this country.”

    Where do the Mick Philpotts fit? In the elite or the Leftovers?

    • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

      The evil poor

      • Noa

        I thought the elite-as he was on £50k plus per year net of tax.

      • Max07

        I like it, TurnipTaliban. It has more of a ring to it than ‘undeserving’.

  • Hugh

    I’m not sure what class using the word “Precariat” marks you out as, but definitely as someone sensible people should avoid talking to.

    • Max07

      I quite like ‘Precariat’. It has that frisson of danger. I turned out to be ‘Technical Middle Class’, which I think is what we used to call ‘lower middle class’. It’s tough, you know, clinging to the coat tails of respectability. Everyone hates you. I think I’ll go and eat worms. With a rocket salad and sun-blush tomatoes on the side.

      • Swank

        Laugh! Nice one.

    • C Cole

      The BBC have totally ignored the underclass. Probably because they can’t bring themselves to acknowledge they exist.

  • Biggestaspidistra

    You have hit the nail on the head here Rod, succinctly. And nice to see the word ‘chimera’, which I shall try to use again before bedtime.

    • Noa

      It’s been a bit cold recently, so definitely time to light the old chimera if you’re planning to sit outside.

  • Eddie

    Yes, and that old schoolteacher sychophant is whispering to the Queen:
    ‘Yes Ma’am, I believe some of them do have ones that big…’
    I dunno, we stopped blacking up at my school in 1983 (we were so confused by the GoomBay Dance Band we wouldn’t face it no more, masser…). Makes us seem quite modern really…

    • Marcus

      Please sign if you agree

      • Eddie

        Yes, and that old schoolteacher sychophant is whispering to the Queen:
        ‘Yes Ma’am, I believe some of them do have ones that big…’
        I dunno, we stopped blacking up at my school in 1983 (we were so confused by the GoomBay Dance Band we wouldn’t face it no more…). Makes us seem quite modern really…

  • Swank

    I would agree with that (the ‘would’ seems fitting: you’re putting this out as a proposition); though I think your use of ‘comprises’ here is syntactically rather dubious.

    It’s different in America: You can swank around in a fancy car if you like, without instantly marking yourself as one of those magically, mysteriously privileged people that live on a higher plane, as in England — a plane where taxes never bite, work is no necessity, and there’s always more where that came from. The English elite is truly the ‘I Saw You Coming’ shop writ large: the big spenders and the canny operators that profit from them.

    In America, you might have inherited the money, or then again you might have earned it from having nothing (particularly in the recent past, though less so now). You might, on the other hand, be privately and expensively educated, while still slaving in the ‘mines’ of the modern work world, in relatively low-paying but still adequately compensated jobs such as teaching. (Teachers are relatively low-paid, compared with say, engineers, because so many people want to teach, and it’s not generally a field requiring PhDs or highly specialized learning. Supply and demand is at work!).

    So again, we in America don’t look down on supermarket check-out people because we know that a) the job needs doing, b) it might be a temporary situation — like the physics grad driving a taxi etc., and c) if we’re not lucky or careful, that could be us one day. The corollary is that the non-Leftists among us don’t feel excessive resentment of people with higher standards of living than we have — because that inequality could be temporary, too. Yes, Conrad Black’s been rich all his life. But this is the Land of Opportunity, and wealth is not marked out for him and his friends alone.

    • Biggestaspidistra

      If only. For ‘class’ in the UK, read ‘race’ in the US.

      • Swank

        Eh? Race is a non-issue among ordinary people. It’s the Left, which needs a dead horse to flog, that obsesses about it, thereby enlarging it instead of making it smaller. Colour-blind is the way to go: but the Left wants it both ways: colour is supposed to matter and not matter at the same time. The practical experience of most people is that ‘minorities’ and ‘people of colour’ have all sorts of institutionalized and legal advantages, known as ‘quotas’ and ‘affirmative action’. If anything, white males suffer reverse discrimination.

        Anyone can do anything in this country, as long as a) he can speak reasonable English and b) he has a high school diploma.


        • Biggestaspidistra

          Be that as it may, anyone can see the customers in your supermarket are all white and the workers ethnic. The politeness downwards is as much do do with guilt and fear as anything else, Whatever flow there might once have been the new economy has made America a class society now,

          • Swank

            Whatever you’re describing, B, it’s not the planet I’m living on. Are you having a larf, mate? ‘All white and the workers ethnic’ ha ha ha ha ha!

            By the way, using ‘ethnic’ in that sense is both terribly patronising and terribly narrow of you: we are all ethnic, just as we all have accents and we all have ancestors. I’m ethnic British: and probably, so are you. I see lots of ‘ethnic’ Europeans working in our supermarkets: and I have visited 35 American states and lived for long periods in 6 of them: Illinois, New York and New Jersey in the North; Texas, Virginia, and Florida in the South. I also live here in the present century, whereas your perceptions seem to be stuck in Alabama circa 1955!

            • Swank

              So who is ‘marking me down’, then? You dispute my facts? As someone said: ‘you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts’. The facts just stick in your craw, don’t they? Because if you acknowledged the facts, you’d have to give up your prejudices, and that would clearly be too painful.

              Some people just can’t accept that America is still the freest place on Earth, and also the country that, despite the blot of slavery, did the most to overcome it and to spread liberty, the protection of law and the notion of human rights around the world.

              • Redneck


                I sincerely hope you’re not implying that the War of Northern Aggression was based on that issue. Please say it ain’t so!

                • The Shambolic Skeptic

                  What was it based on then?

                  Come on, let’s hear it!

          • Swank

            This is really a most embarrassing reply, B. You really should get out more!

          • Swank

            Hey, Biggest: I went to a posh supermarket today: my usual (actually my hubby does most of the marketing, but I agreed to keep him company this time) — and I saw a chap there at the checkout that you would probably describe as ‘African-American’ (I’d just call him ‘black’). I’d say it was a surprise because all the other check-out people since we’ve been going there (I keep hubby company now and then) have been ‘ethnic white’ or whatever you call them, and he’s a stand-out for not so being. I’ve seen customers that are African-American or whatever you call them, but not employees. He asked me what the peppers were. Believe it or not, instead of staring at him, gawping as I expect you think we ethnic British-non-African-Americans do, I called to hubby who was browsing off left and asked him what the green peppers were. (Serrano, in case you’re interested.). Anyway, the checkout chap was nice: efficient and polite and like everyone else; and we were nice: efficient with our debit card and polite and like everyone else.

            You see: the rest of the world doesn’t share your hang-ups. I feel sorry for people like you that can’t get over the past.

  • Robert Taggart

    Precariat – Moi – according to this survey.
    A step-up from Underclass Scrounger ?!

    • Dicky14

      There was a Rab C Nesbitt episode where he did a wife swap with a Tory MP. He was asked to read a bedtime story to the kids, which he did with glorious eloquence but the 9 year old daughter asked ‘are you working class?’ to which he said ‘oh no bonnie lassie, i’m genuine scum’.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      There’s a simple solution. if you put in ‘go to the theatre’ (i.e pantomime) one is elevated from ‘precariat’ (what a desperate tortuous pile of crud that formulation is) to the elite.

      • Robert Taggart

        Theatre box was ‘ticked’, also ballet / dance, classical music, opera, galleries, museums, country houses…
        The socialising question was particularly tricky – no differentiation between friends and acquaintances – our former tend to be from the ‘lower orders’, but, one has the latter from the ‘upper echelons’ !
        Methinks the property question let us down as one pays rent.

        • Noa

          Is there a classical pole dancing category?

          For people from Wroclaw of course.

        • Hexhamgeezer

          Ah yes – I forgot country houses. Purveyors of fine tea and cake to the precariat which elevates me to the ‘elite’ category.

        • Donafugata

          I think you are right.
          No amount of jazz and classical music listening could offset my self-imposed purdah and non property owning, I am untermenschen and precariat.

          Precariat makes ones survival sound rather uncertain, perhaps its etymology is based on the word “precarious”.

          However, by having “loads of money” one is automatically elevated to a highbrow culture vulture.

          The test is so crude, it is meaningless.

  • C Cole

    When’s your book about all this coming out, Rod? At least the Spectator’s writers are there on merit. Aren’t they?

    • rodliddle

      ha, yeah. Feb next year, I’m told by my publisher.

      • Noa

        Erm-what’s it about Rod?

        • rodliddle

          how we became whining narcissistic halfwits

          • Noa


            Then it should be a best seller, appealing equally to the Left and the Right!

            • Rockin Ron

              Little Rod Little is writing a book? That’s a laugh – he can’t write and has no views of his own. Is this a joke?

          • Hexhamgeezer

            I can only manage two of those.

      • Eddie

        Which means next July then, in publisher-time, in my humble wotzit…

  • Dicky14

    It’s almost as if sociology is a made up subject!

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