Saturday, 10 November 2012
The blurred line between middle and working class.
On the back of the U.S. election result and in a tbg. EXCLUSIVE Mahyar Tousi analyses the American and British approach to Class and expresses what his perfect combination of the two would be.
"Looking at this year’s US presidential election, and after following both campaigns, I can’t help but compare certain cultural differences between Americans and Europeans. At a time when cultures and ideologies are becoming closer, thanks to technology and the modern world, there is still a big distinction between the way different classes in society are seen in the UK and USA.
"In their election campaigns, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney placed the term ‘middle class’ in their political mindset to ensure they have the support of the majority. Some found it interesting that the working class was hardly even mentioned. One BBC political analyst suggested, it is perhaps because the American working class do not contribute to their campaigns, which I think is pure nonsense.
"Now if British politicians publicly sympathise with the middle class in tough economic times, they will be accused of being out of touch and ignoring the working class. It is as if our society confuses the British middle class with the privileged elite.
"Now we all know that middle class in American culture could also be equal to the British lower-middle class or as some may say the hard-working lower income people. However in this year’s US election, the term covered the majority, including those with average and above-average incomes.
"The first question is why are we so afraid to recognise the middle class as the majority who actually matter, both politically and socially? In the United States, they are at the heart of political agenda. Some may say it’s due to the fact that being successful – without being dependant on the state - is socially rewarding in American society. Meanwhile in Britain, people in the middle of a societal hierarchy prefer to put their heads down and live their own life. Some do not even care about politics or its impacts on their lives.
"After speaking to a lot of people, including a couple of MPs about this issue, I have come to the realisation that the term working class has lost its original definition due to two main reasons. First, the effects of the post-world war II British culture; second, the mainstream Left starting a class war and taking advantage of the term by calling almost the majority 'working class' and the rest 'elite upper class'.
"I personally do not like to separate people by labelling them, especially as the gap between the working class – at least the majority – and middle income earners is narrowing. Whilst there are some who are actually struggling in this country, the rest should not compare themselves to the poor in Africa or Asia. Poor people in under-developed countries cannot afford luxuries such as cigarettes and alcohol after paying for essential needs i.e. food.
"In my ideal world, I would combine the American way of encouraging the middle class and the British way of supporting the working class. However in the meantime, we have to accept the fact that Europeans and Americans have their own definition of different classes in society."
You can follow Mahyar on Twitter - @MahyarTousi
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