The Likes of Us

We’re not so different, you and I.
- Dr Evil

‘To say that Muslims carried out 7/7 - those three guys from Leeds and one from Aylesbury - to say they did it is racist, Jon. It's racist. You're being racist against Muslims.’
There was a short silence.
‘Oh, fuck off,’ I said.
- Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test

Class tensions have been an ever-present in the life of this site. The fear of gentrification is not a new subject for BC debate, but it reached absurd new heights yesterday when our autobiographical reference to eating big macs on buses was interpreted as ‘casual class contempt.’

This thread is an attempt to focus the class debate, so we may be permitted to discuss issues like a new local pizza restaurant in peace.

We are something of a middle class stereotype ourselves – the son of two leftish London academics, we grew up reading the Guardian and going on camping holidays in France.

But perhaps because – unlike some of the class-warriors who frequent this site – we actually went to a local comprehensive and grew up among the south east London working classes, we haven’t developed middle-class man’s burden and we don’t regard working class people as an alien species. Love see no colour.

They, like we, eat Big Macs from time to time. Like BC, they sometimes use the bus. Our understanding of their culture is that they quite like clean streets, green spaces and to be able to cross the road safely. These are not the quaint concerns of the effete middle classes, they are universal aspirations and challenges that we all share. We have not yet become the Morlocks and Eloi.

In fact, it is the better off among us (who can afford to travel more and choose the area in which they live) who are least reliant on our local environment. The rich of Brockley can hide themselves away from van-choked pavements in their large houses and gardens and jump in the car to escape the squalor of the high street. It’s the less well-off who depend most on the social services paid for with the business rates and Council Tax of new shops and residential developments.

Making Brockley nicer – not more deli-laden, just nicer – is not a class issue.

If you disagree, please make your case here. But please, argue with what is said, not with the secret dog-whistle code you think is hidden between the lines.