Alternative titles for this post included “It’s About Class Stupid!” “Head of The Class,” “Perhaps you’d like to share that with the class?” and “Bend over and touch your toes I’m going to thrash that little bottom of yours raw!”
There are none more class-conscious than the British and none more so thant the British middle classes. So it should probably come as no surprise that I am achingly aware of class in virtually every aspect of my life. This is not to say that I panic over it, or necessarily judge other people harshly for it, it’s just, in the background, like a flavour.
There are studies that show that high and low income people are both equally likely to lie, but that the circumstances are radically different. High income folks have a greater tendency to lie in situations that will benefit them personally, wheras people on lower incomes are more likely to lie in situations that will benefit others (and because I’m a good chap here’s my references: here and here).
I don’t want to suggest that I equate class with income. Any suggestion of wealth being a representation of how good ro bad a person is or how ‘classy’ they are fell away sometime in the twentiefth century. But that was certainly the perception prior to that. So Victorian society, for example, is a rich hunting ground for writers wishing to subvert the ideals of the time. Unspeakable cads, debauched puritans and a rampant hypocrisy.
All good stuff, but that’s only half the picture. That’s part of why, in a recent story submitted to the ever enthusiastic and lovely Leonora Soloman, I deliberately turned my attention to the other end of the scale, the bottom of the heap, downtrodden workforce slaving away at uncaring machines. And what came out was something much more human, a sort of commeraderie in the face of brutal industry. We will look out fo reach other because we need to.
I need you and you need me.
Photo credit Paul Townsend.