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Who are the Working Class these days?

(78 Posts)
Fennel Thu 19-Nov-20 17:43:21

I've been following all the discussions about the future of the Labour Party and tend to agree that the Unions should breakaway and start their own party. As the party for the 'Workers'.
But who are the workers?
Many traditional labour voters have left the party because they have become more aspirational. They say we own our own homes, our children have had a good education and have good jobs. The media have added to this desire for more material things. We have better health care etc. So lean more to the right and no longer want to be identified with the worker's party. "My old man's a dustman" etc.
Forget about the fact that many of these improvements came from Labour. Apart from Thatcher's sneaky plan for people to buy their council houses.
So how to get these previous Labour supporters to return?

BlueBelle Thu 19-Nov-20 17:51:11

I had a career I own my house my children went to university and all have professions as do my grandkids that are old enough to work but I m working class always was and always will be I come from working class stock and never want to see myself as anything other than what I am working class

Blossoming Thu 19-Nov-20 17:51:40

I’m working class and happy to own it 🙂 I had a good state education which helped me to a good career but that doesn’t change my roots.

kittylester Thu 19-Nov-20 17:54:06

If the Labour Party split Bluebelle, which 'bit' would you see yourself closest to? Genuine question!

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 17:55:19

I was going to add that we're all working class in one way or another. Even landed gentry aren't what they used to be. It's only the Queen with her billions that can say that she isn't.

Callistemon Thu 19-Nov-20 17:57:20

Sorry, Bluebelle, John Prescott declared in 1997 that
"We are all middle class now"

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 18:02:52

Members of both parties are very wealthy, some already were in their own right so if it's money that's divisory there's no contest really is there ? What is then the point of having Labour AND Conservative.

MaizieD Thu 19-Nov-20 18:20:14


Members of both parties are very wealthy, some already were in their own right so if it's money that's divisory there's no contest really is there ? What is then the point of having Labour AND Conservative.

But it's not the money that's divisive, is it?

It's about values and beliefs in the best way to run the country.

Tories and Labour have quite different beliefs, even centrist Labour do.

But we have to remember that most people are quite conservative (small 'c') in their views.

I think it's time we stopped being so flipping class conscious; for a start, it leads to stereotyping and pigeonholing people.

Harris27 Thu 19-Nov-20 18:29:43

If you work and are not gentry your working class!

GagaJo Thu 19-Nov-20 18:31:41

Working class. I had a terrible state education and as a teacher, have seen state ed return to the deplorable state it was in during my childhood. I worked 3 jobs, including a shelf stacking night job, to put myself through university and also to do my post grad studies. I put my ability to do this down to the grit I developed during a poor childhood, certainly not to opportunities provided by the Conservative govt in power who were responsible for decimating state ed.

I own property and am comfortable, but despite it all, am a firm Labour voting, working class socialist.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 18:52:23

Those in my day who were Labour supporters didn't own properties, least of all their own, so how can it be classed as such when they're supposedly the underdogs of the economy by not owning anything ? Ownership and Labour shouldn't be in the same sentence so far as opposing governments go.

Labour supporters have done very well in a Conservative government, I know many who could buy and sell anyone especially those who bought MT's council houses and who now own a street of them. How/why do they call themselves Labour voters when they're raking it in ? It doesn't make sense as a Conservative means to conserve, which is what people with money do ? It's all arse about face if you ask me.

Oh, and don't forget the second homes etc.Labour ? you must be joking !

I don't get our politics at all.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 18:53:52

I also forgot the two cars in the fronts of these council houses.
It's the Conservatives who have to flog themselves to death to keep up !

GagaJo Thu 19-Nov-20 18:55:04

My working class parents and grandparents were all property owning Labour supporters. Grandmother was born in 1890.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 18:55:09

The semantics are all wrong.

GagaJo Thu 19-Nov-20 18:56:34

All manual workers. I come from the first generation of professionals from both sides of the family.

paddyanne Thu 19-Nov-20 18:57:11

I'm working class ,always have been even though I've run my own businesses since I was 21 .If you WORK for a living you're working class in my eyes .People who hang their hat on being middle class or UPPER middle class are a bit of a joke to me .I've had socialist principles all my life treat people fairly , do what I can for the old the sick the vulnerable

.People who hit hard times,shouldn't be looked down on but helped ,would rather my tax went to folk who need help than into Bojo or Reece Moggs pockets ..or to a greedy monarchy thats happy to pocket millions when there are people including forces veterans on the streets .

Class is divisive and is meant to be that way ,the old two Ronnies sketch shows it very well ,forelock tugging is so medieval though and having an Empire "honour" to make youfeel superior is beyond belief in the 21st century.

GagaJo Thu 19-Nov-20 18:57:49

No, they're not EV. Socialists believe in an equal society that supports it's poorer or more vulnerable members. You don't have to be poor to believe in that.

Dinahmo Thu 19-Nov-20 18:59:14

Unless you have inherited wealth and live off investment income, you are worker whether you are a school cook, a nurse, a doctor or the owner of a large business.

Back in the late 70s/early 80s when post war babies were young adults the Labour Party was still talking as though the majority of workers were down trodden. They hadn't recognised that we wanted more out of life and, as Fennel says, we had become aspirational.

I do think that Thatcher, with the sale of council housing, is indirectly responsible for the present state of the country (well, pre-covid) if for no other reason than preventing the councils to build more houses with the proceeds from the sale of their housing stocks.

When I was about 6 my parents moved from London to Dorset and got a council house - probably post war, but I'm not sure of that. I don't know how they managed it but I assume that it wasn't difficult. During my school years some of my contemporaries were from poorer backgrounds and some from better off but it's not something I was aware off.

I also think that Thatcher was partly responsible for the change in peoples' attitudes. I remember in the early eighties, one of my friends who was a deputy in a south London primary school, talking about some of the parents who would threaten teachers and sometimes physically harm them, because their child had been told off.

The UK is a strange place I think. The divisions in society seem to be worse than those in other European countries. Tens of thousands of people have donated to various charitable sources this year and there are countless stories of people helping others. But there are also examples of huge greed and destructive behaviour. I don't know what the answer is.

paddyanne Thu 19-Nov-20 19:02:38

EV my grandparents were property owning socialists too,my Granny was one of the first women members of the Labour party and a suffragette .She fought hard for workers rights ,she demonstrated against unfair rents ,she worked for and with those who needed help ,They were comfortably off but they often took in people who had nothing and helped them find a home and a job .My granny was born in 1888.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 19:07:42

The divisions and inequalities in this country are positively obscene Dinahmo.
At least with a communist government you know where you stand. This country is neither one thing nor the other with the worst being those who jumped from Labour to Conservative if they had a bit of a windfall. I've met them too, obnoxious individuals.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 19:12:04

Well, paddyanne, you certainly don't hear much noise coming from Labour these days with poverty as it stands.

Casdon Thu 19-Nov-20 19:13:46

It’s an interesting question Fennel, I’m not sure that the Trade Unions would have enough support to develop their own party, as so many people now have portfolio careers without relying on union support, hence falling membership. I think Labour is the party of choice now for the thinking younger people, who tend to be more socially aware than our generation, and aspire for a fairer society. They are reforming at the moment, and their credibility is rising - maybe they will change their name?

grannyrebel7 Thu 19-Nov-20 19:14:57

I grew up in council house but have always owned my own property since I first got married. I suppose I am working class as I work for a living. My kids went to university as did I during my 30s. Yes, our generation moved up the social ladder from our parents, but it's not about how much money you have. It's all to do with wanting everyone to be treated equally and fairly. These have always been Labour's principles. Margaret Thatcher stopped people thinking this way and brought in an "I'm alright Jack society and sod everyone else" and unfortunately it's these people who vote Tory and no longer consider themselves working class.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Nov-20 19:15:27

There are going to be thousands out of work and what about the latest scandal of people being evicted because they've lost jobs and can't pay the rent or mortgage ?
Where are their Labour councillors and what do they propose doing to help these people ?

Urmstongran Thu 19-Nov-20 19:17:41

Well if the Labour Party splits, that’s the Tories in power. - ad infinitum.