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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Have the middle classes gone downmarket?

My ears pricked up the other day when Ed Milliband said that Labour had to to get back to doing something for "the middle classes". This seems like the latest step in the Americanisation of British politics. Most of my voting life British politicians have avoided mentioning the middle classes in anything other than a sneering voice, for fear of summoning up images of napkins and gravel drives. When American politicians talk about the middle class they're referring to regular folks. Homer and Marge.

I was thinking about this when I was watching the football in a pub at the weekend. It was full of middle-aged blokes drinking pints and swearing quite freely. I'd guess most of them had not gone to university, but owned their own homes, which their fathers probably didn't. Maybe they're the middle class that the coming generation of politicians is talking about. If that's the case then a lot of alternative comedians (and there's nothing more middle class than an alternative comedian) are going to have to start re-thinking their arsenal of slights. In the 70s "middle class" meant Tom and Barbara Good in "The Good Life". I suppose in my head it still does.