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We still live in a 19th century cast system

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

We still live in a 19th century cast system rather than a multi-class system

Why we want to be one of Britain's nations federalized by replacing the outmoded social class and regional stereotypes for radical 'demographics' that would render there no longer a need for internal fragmentation. Indeed,we would be placing new skills and demographics directly in the way of the 'arithmetic of independence for Scotland'. The idea for independence for Scotland would be considered 'yesterday's thinking' and would relegate Britain to squalid nationalism's underpinned by antiquated social and regional class despotism that clings-to past tribal dogma rather than self-representation. Swapping one set of politicians for another seems old hat.

'Despotism doesn't exist in a mature democracy like Britain's in many forms, but they are clearly very dangerous historically. Of course we have avoided Hitler's despotic witch hunts and dictatorship of the petit bourgeoisie as well as Lenin's dictatorship of the Proletariat, whilst playing no small part in the destruction of both of them. But where have we been rewarded for such steadfastness? Certainly not in the prehistoric analysis of social and regional class that still remains a relic of our past but dominant in our present. It is as if the metaphorical Clean Air Act of clearing up the social smog refuses to be relevant to guide us along a new path. Surely it is in both major parties' interests to bring social class analysis up to date and represent all of Britain.

We need more social class 'trade to avoid social breakdown and paralysis of class invention and self-transformation. It would bring industry to class that would make it a formidable opponent of hostility and value change not as a necessity but a vindication of competitive Britain.

Individual self-transformation regenerates, so why do you have to be a despised 'social climber' to operate and read between the lines of social determinism? It is this gap that truly poisons social class change, because many people are assiduously self-inflicting class barriers that are now anachronistic and a waste and an unnecessary humiliation of human resource. The proof of social stigma of social mobility is whether one feels ridiculed by Alan Ayckbourn's. satire or above it? Look around the theatre and you will witness the social divide people are in. That in a nutshell is Britain's class affliction. yet i believe some form of class environment is here to stay, and it must be relevant in a way it hitherto has not. Moreover, change is inevitable and so is a change in mind-set. Let me give you an example: All male car owners believe that their pecking order is dictated by having the most expensive and luxurious car or not. To my understanding,every one has to park their car for some reason in town( job, shopping etc). Once you've parked your car like everybody else and you leave your pride and joy(your status symbol) you instantly lose your independence from your chosen rank, that becomes stationary and frozen. Without it you are lost to the lottery of what clothes you are wearing. You also become social artifice rather than substance that you regain when you drive back in your car to your self-perceptions and your rank embodied in your man cave( where you live). So we find that Ecclesiastes was right in arguing " Vanity of vanities; all is vanity" but i especially think so when it comes to class cast.


I have no nostalgia for a 19th century class system that is dysfunctional or any inverted nostalgia for Dickensian Britain. The class system we have today is an unreconstructed over-socialized reason for conflict in Britain that doesn't have to be so. Post-Empire Britain has little need for limited class development but maximum inter-class hostility. 'Social class is not working it is wasting' potential that hitherto has not been realized. We no longer have a class system but a cast system that can not justify itself other than by people's mutual prejudice, and by the lack of vision to utilize new skill sets, opportunities and anti-risk individualism that is straining the British cup of tea with the sour milk of 19th century social and psychological poverty. But Britons have always led the way for the world to follow, and I am confidant that it can lead in this field too.

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