This essay, on the importance of class as a political issue, was my Observer column this week. (The column included also a short piece on Boris Johnson and lies.) It was published on 2 June 2019, under the headline ‘Forget culture wars. Class is still the defining force shaping British lives’. If you are a woman living in working-class Middlesbrough, you are likely to die seven years earlier than if you were living in affluent Hart in Hampshire. If you are a […]
. . This is an interview with Alex Hochuli, George Hoare and Ben Fogle for the podcast Aufhebunga Bunga, mainly on questions of immigration, identity, class and the left (though it opens with a discussion of the aftermath of the Notre Dame fire). . The image is Untitled by Hans Hartung.
This essay, on changing attitudes to class, was my Observer column this week. (The column included also a short piece on cookery books.) It was published in the Observer, 30 December 2018, under the headline ‘Posh is so passé – today’s elite prefers the myth of the meritocracy’. I’m not posh,’ an irate David Dimbleby told the Today presenter John Humphrys. ‘I come from Wales, as you do.’ Dimbleby, who this month stepped down as host of BBC’s Question Time, was being interviewed by Humphrys, […]
Categories: Britain, Class • Tags: brexit, Class, david dimbleby, david runciman, democracy, donald trump, education, elite, elitism, meritocracy, michael young, populism, poshness, privilege, richard dawkins, technocracy, upper class, working class
This essay, on Eric Kaufmann’s book Whitehift, was my Observer column this week. (The column included also a short piece on Turkish repression). It was published in the Observer, 21 October 2018, under the headline ‘White identity is meaningless. Real dignity is found in shared hopes’. ‘It’s dignity, stupid.’ Where once economic wellbeing was seen as key to winning electoral support, there is now recognition that more intangible qualities matter too – the ability to be heard, to live […]
Categories: Class, Race & Immigration • Tags: anti-catholicism, demography, eric kaufmann, ethnic identity, ethnicity, identity politics, immigration, racism, white identity, white interests, whiteshift, working class
This essay, on claims that half the world is now middle class, was my Observer column this week. (The column included also a short piece on the difference between engaging with public anxieties and following public opinion). It was published in the Observer, 7 October 2018, under the headline ‘As global poverty declines, we should beware the new class wars’. Half the world is now middle class. So ran the headlines reporting a Brookings Institution analysis of global poverty, according […]
This essay, on the ‘working poor’, was my Observer column this week. (The column included also a short piece on hypocrisy and the Church of England). It was published in the Observer, 16 September 2018, under the headline ‘Welfare was meant to help the poor, not subsidise exploitative employers’. It will mean fewer jobs. That was the chorus from many on the right, from Tej Parikh of the Institute of Directors to the chancellor, Philip Hammond, in response to […]
I am away for a couple of weeks, so am posting little new material on Pandaemonium. I am taking the opportunity to publish some of those shorter pieces from my Observer column that I don’t normally post on Pandaemonium. This short piece was published in the Observer on 13 May 2018 under the headline ‘Our new working class needs help with new struggles’. What is it to be working class? The conventional image is of the industrial worker, usually male and […]
This essay, on the crisis facing trade unions, was the main part of my Observer column this week. (The column included also a short piece on Roseanne and that tweet.) It was published in the Observer, 3 June 2018, under the headline ‘Unions are too vital to democracy to be allowed to gentrify and die’. Two reports last week exposed both the changing character of the labour market and the degree to which the power of the organised working class […]
This essay was my column in the Observer, 22 April 2018. It was published under the headline ‘Elites still use the working class as an excuse for their own prejudices’. The ‘white working class’. It has become, in recent years, almost a synonym for ‘racist’. The belief that racism is a working-class problem, and that many in the white working class voted for Brexit for racist reasons, has become widely accepted among liberals (and not just among liberals). So, where […]
. This is a discussion on BBC Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed programme on ‘the white working class’ , in which I took part with Gurminder Bhambra and Noam Gidron. . The painting is ‘The Workers’ by Walker Scott.
This essay was published in the Observer, 7 January 2018, under the headline ‘In British education, the central issue is class, not ethnicity’. The white working class. It’s a phrase that has become so commonplace that few recognise the sheer oddness, and indeed odiousness, of the concept. It denotes both pity and contempt. On the one hand, it is a description of the ‘left behind’, sections of the population that have lost out through globalisation and deindustrialisation. On the other, […]
Continuing the series of extracts from my books on the theme of historical fears of the masses and of democracy, this third extract from The Meaning of Race explores the late twentieth century ‘underclass’ debate, and what it tells us about the changing character of the perceptions of race and class. The Meaning of Race was published in 1996 and, to a degree, shows its age. It discusses issues specifically of that time; in the 20 years since, much of […]
Categories: Class, Politics, Race & Immigration • Tags: charles murray, conservatism, dangerous classes, elitism, liberalism, michael katz, poverty, race, racial science, the bell curve, underclass, working class