Monday, 3 March 2014

Middle class bureaucrat attacks the working class working class


Peter Brant who is head of policy at the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission (perhaps one of the more patronising job titles I've read recently) seems to think that working class parents are bringing up their children to be too working class.

He highlighted barriers to children from less well-off backgrounds being able to achieve their potential, including a lack of shared cultural experiences such as watching plays and taking up hobbies, and a lack of ‘cultural reference points’.

The working classes also have different attitudes towards people and relationships’, including more ‘subtext, nuance and casualness’ in middle class relationships.

The working and middle class also enjoy different food, restaurants, and clothes, he said.

There you have it folks. Nothing to do with working class children being dumped into the worst schools. Nothing about 'like selecting like'. Zilch about the expectations of parents, teachers and peers. Nope.

This man believes the problem poorer kids fail is not looking like middle class kids. And presumably liking a kebab after six pints of Carling. So we must send them to special classes where they can learn how to be like the middle class kids, so they can 'fit in'.

Perhaps, rather than running down working class pleasures and choices, people like Peter Brant need to think about challenging the sneering dismissal of those working class pastimes - whether it's the 'different restaurants', a different choice in drink or a liking for baseline, tattoos and the wearing of baseball caps the wrong way round.

Social mobility isn't about 'fitting in', about conforming to someone elses average. Social mobility is about opportunity, about giving people the chance to succeed, about education and about celebrating the passions that bring achievement. To say that the way someone talks, walks, dresses, drinks or eats is the problem is not just wrong but an insult to all those working class men and women who succeed in their lives.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you read the full blog that Mr Brant wrote or just the mendacious account of it in the Telegraph?

If only the latter, you might want to hold your fire a bit