Ihmiset jakautuvat Englannissa yhä valitettavasti eri yhteiskuntaluokkiin.
Knowing Your Place – The Class System in Britain
The class system is still very real in today’s Britain. Almost everybody will know where he or she belongs on the social ladder. Many people would like to believe that they are classless but historical development has not brought an end to a the centuries-old tradition of defining people according to their ”breeding”. Naturally, many citizens of Britain think this is regrettable – but it is a fact of life.
So, people in Britain are basically grouped as follows:
The Upper Class
“What is the point of the English upper-class girl’s education, or rather, lack of education, if not to prepare her for a life of tolerating the boringness of the English upper-class man?” Charles Moore, British journalist, 1992.
The upper class consists of those people who belong to the highest position on the social scale. They are usually members of the aristocracy such as the royal family or peerage. Being a member of this class doesn’t necessarily depend on how rich you are. Many upper-class people have (or claim they have) little money. Their position depends, instead, on the fact that they were born into a family which was already a part of the aristocracy. Thus, it is extremely difficult (if for some reason you really wanted to) to join the ranks of the upper class. One way to do it, though, is to marry above your station and enter the aristocracy that way. If you do that, however, you will perhaps have to wait a long, long time before you are accepted as being genuinely upper class. But a lot of people throughout history have been successful, in doing this which, genetically-speaking, is no doubt a good thing as it modifies the effect of in-breeding and helps to prevent degeneration. Another way to avoid this is to marry an aristocrat from another country. The Queen, for example, married one of her Greek relatives.
The Middle Class
“People who try to pretend they’re superior make it so much harder for those of us who really are.” Hyacinth Bucket (Keeping Up Appearances)
The middle class is divided into the upper middle class and the lower middle class. The upper middle class often look up to the upper class and try to imitate them. They perhaps look down on the lower middle class for the reason that many of these have recently made their way up from the ranks of the working class. Consequently the lower middle class look up to the upper middle class and the upper class but tend to look down on the working class. Members of the middle classes are businessmen or professional people. The term upper class is sometimes used in a negative way to mean “bourgeois”. Unlike in many countries, the term bourgeois is generally thought of in a less than positive way. So people in Britain might prefer to be called middle class than bourgeois. Perhaps it’s because of the word’s French origin.
The middle class is growing in number all the time and in England, at least, is often called middle-England. This class is very important politically which means that political parties must appeal to the “middle ground” or middle-class values. The British still vote very much along class lines.
The Working Class
“The working class can kiss my arse, I’ve got the foreman’s job at last.”(Sung to the tune of “Oh, Christmas Tree” or “The Red Flag”)
The working class and, beneath them on the social scale, the lower class, (collectively sometimes known as the proletariat (but this term, too, has a negative flavour in Britain), is made up almost entirely of manual workers. Many manual workers are proud to be members of the working class and tend not to look up to the middle class even though, curiously, they might look up to the upper class. Some upwardly-mobile working class people, however, have middle-class pretensions and look down on their peers.
The class system, then, is very much a part of British life but, as you can see, it is not such a simple matter and for many it is an unfortunate way of identifying and defining people.
Perustuu ohjelmaan: Alright? Alright! Teksti: David Mitchell. Vuosi: 2005.