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September 06, 2007

Comments

Chip Dale

Very true. I share a similar experience growing up as a moderately good cricketer. Captain of my school team, I opened the bowling and batting. We were all working class from a poor town, but we beat every team in the area, even the 'posh' schools.

I was called up for a trial for the county team only to find myself surrounded by a different kind of lad. I was working class and they were something better than me. They had real whites. And I mean *real* whites. Heavy duty, quality whites made of cotton. I had a pair of cheap, almost-yellow trousers, probably synthetic, but the only trousers my parents could afford. I played terribly on the day. Couldn’t get my line right when I bowled, and felt tight and lacked fluency when I batted. I felt out of place. It wasn’t surprising that I wasn’t called back. I blame the trousers. But things like that aren’t meant to make us bitter because there’s no such thing as class these days. Those other boys were just better than me and I’m meant to just accept it. Or so I'm told...

Jonathan Calder

My headline was an attempt at the mock heroic: it seems we do not appreciate each other's sense of humour. And I wouldn't claim anything as an expose if it just involved reading how someone describes his own blog.

I picked on your posting - as perhaps I should have explained - because it is typical of a mind-set that is common in Labour circles but which is alien to me. I received free school meals myself, but think it would be silly for me now to pretend that I am not middle class.

I think this mind-set matters for two reasons:

1. It is symptomatic of the way Labour lost touch with the middle classes and the aspiring working classes in the Thatcher years. Whatever their faults, the Blairites understood this.

2. It is rather sad if you cannot watch a sports event without worrying about the social class the participants come from. What would you think of an old dowager who fretted that, say, Michael Vaughan had not been to a public school as he scored a century for England?

I agree that class is a more subtle concept than is often allowed, and that "middle class" covers a multitude of groups. But if you mean that Tim Henman comes across as feeling a bit more secure in his middle class identity than you do, why toss around concepts like "class enemy"?

And surely social class must have some objective basis in occupation and income and cannot be solely a matter of how you feel?

Dave Hill

Jonathan:

1. I appreciate that your headline expressed your sense of humour. And your point is?

2. My posting wasn't typical of the mindset you describe - so you were mistaken in picking on it, weren't you?

3. Who's worrying?

4. Who's insecure?

5. Game, set and match to me.

6. Cheerio,

Ben

Oh, I don't know about all this. To be fair, Dave, when I read the 'class enemy' remark the first time round, it did jar a bit, though it certainly wasn't something worth getting steamed up about. I don't like inverted snobbery any more than snobbery, though I do think our education system has a lot to answer for - look at the comments above: both posters talk about school in some way.

So I might as well do it myself. For what it's worth, I've lived in several council houses (as a child), been sent to a dreary provincial public school at the taxpayers' expense, am the son of two privately educated people who both left school at 16, am the first of my father's family and the latest of many generations of my mother's to go to university, and am listed (by virtue of my mother's family, and through no fault of my own) in both Burke's and Debrett's peerage directories (and no, I won't tell you where).

So, to paraphrase something I heard elsewhere, I've got one foot in the working class, one foot in the upper, and my crotch is dangling somewhere over the middle.

Naturally, the above remark is meant to be amusing, although I can guarantee it will rile a significant proportion of your readership. Let's see...

Dorothy McCormack

If the above argument was intended to be about tennis, it lost direction gentlemen! I was a "hands on" Nursing sister for most of my adult life, and know that when illness strikes, there is no class distinction and every life is precious; caring is a challenge for the professional team
A tennis court is a very lonely place. The professional is ALONE! Tennis is a game; life is not. Respect other peoples!

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