Inequality is everywhere you look.
There is race discrimination, gender discrimination, nationality discrimination, sexuality discrimination, age discrimination, and religious discrimination everywhere. There’s even discrimination discrimination, where people are discriminated against depending on who they themselves discriminate. These are all very real. But, in my opinion, these are all sub-categories under the umbrella of the ultimate inequality tool: class discrimination.
Let’s just look at one of the highest employment positions of the UK: Prime Minister. How many Prime Ministers came from wealthy backgrounds and studied at OxBridge? Answer: all of ’em. So let’s have a look at my situation. I was born into a coal-mining/steel-working family. I studied hard and got decent grades despite living on the breadline. I wanted to go to university, so I got a job at a popular DIY chain and worked there for a year before getting a place at Sheffield Hallam University, where I studied hard and earned my degree.
After all that, which is more life experience than any UK Prime Minister in history has ever had, I had statistically zero-chance of becoming Prime Minister. In fact, a life in politics was never put forward to me as an option throughout my whole academic life. Why? Because that sort of job isn’t for the likes of me.
In the 80s we had our first female Prime Minister. Thatcher managed to break a glass ceiling within the sub-division of gender inequality. But, of course, she didn’t break the titanium ceiling of socio-economic discrimination because she was an out-of-touch OxBridge toff.
And this is much bigger than the Prime Minister role. The same can be said for all the other high-powered, influential roles in the UK: religious positions, big company executives, media head honchos, and, of course, those damn dirty bankers.
The country is run by a council of Chosen Ones, and it has been since our Kingdom became United. The positions of this council are as hereditary as our monarchy and we have reached a situation where a privileged few who are born into power control the 65 million people who inhabit our islands (despite there being many more intelligent, experienced people who are better equipped to run the country).
This issue is right under our noses and it never gets mentioned. Is that because people can’t see the forest for the trees? Do the Chosen Ones distract us with other issues so we don’t see the elephant in the room? Do people think this is the way it should be, and that lower class scum shouldn’t be allowed to make the big decisions? Is it because people think it’s something that can’t change, so why waste time discussing it? Meanwhile the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
The class gap is putting a lot of people under immense pressure, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that a portion of the upper class are completely out of touch regarding underclass issues (“the unemployed are lazy” “the mansion tax will destroy us” “let them eat cake”) – and, scarily, i’m starting to see more and more evidence of certain upper class people viewing the working class as lesser being, and not worthy of the type of life that they themselves enjoy.
I think we need a big change urgently, and I believe change comes from the bottom up (the people at the top don’t want change because, well, they’re at the top!). But has the working class got any fight left in it, or has the relentless barrage from Tory governments turned us into submissive dogs? I know that France took a stand when the government tried to raise the retirement age to 62, but the UK doesn’t seem to care that our government want us to work till we’re dead so that we’re not such a burden on the state.
Are the Chosen Ones here to stay?