PETER BRANT, head of policy at the Social Mobility And Child Poverty Commission, thinks young working class people should be schooled to be more middle class, so they can "fit in".
This is very narrow minded of Mr Brant. Why can't the middle classes be schooled to be more working class? It would make them a heck of a lot less annoying, for a start.
Let's ask the question: fit in where? In my experience, my peers as a teenager did not want to fit in with the middle classes. They did not want to become posh auld snobs. They were quite content just as was.
Mr Brant suggests the "middle class world" is a scary one for the young working class. Anyone meeting opera for the first time can confirm this to be true. The young working class may "struggle to adapt to their new social environment", like a zebra dropped on to Sauchiehall Street.
Mr Brant is of the opinion the working classes will be a little put off by having to adapt to middle class social settings such as restaurants (McDonald's seems not to count), the theatre (ditto the Pavilion panto) and offices.
I am not sure my office is particularly middle class but I am sure the editor would firmly contest its labelling as a "social setting" ("Less yapping, more tapping!" - Ed).
We are told we must work on our relationships with other people. Middle-class interactions offer more "subtext, nuance and casualness". Mr Brant does not elaborate on this nifty collection of nouns and what he actually means.
What if you quite like shouting at your pals, don't really enjoy the theatre and would rather have a Nando's? Are you to be ashamed of yourself? Would it not be easier just to ask the middle classes to be less judgemental?
The most middle class girl I ever knew was a chum at university. One weekend she asked what I was up to ("Working"). She was "Going to the Witchery for brunch and then sourcing some art for the apartment". This didn't feel aspirational, it felt like a joke. Still, she introduced me to halloumi and my first G&T (I was 22) so it had its small glories.
This all makes me think of the line from Evita: "Screw the middle classes, I will never accept them."
But hang on just a moment. I know that technique, when she sing-speaks this line, is called Sprechgesang. And I just quoted from a musical. Oh my word. I've adapted by absorption.
It's too late for me. Save yourselves.
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