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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
30th August 2013: Isn't sarcasm a wonderful thing?
25th August 2013: Operation Yewtree has turned British justice on its head
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Why 'human rights' is nothing of the sort ...
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
6th August 2013: How the British nation treats its friends ...
8th July 2013: The BBC biased? How can that be? They're so NICE!
26th June 2013: Think this country is a bastion of freedom and justice and a shining model for the world? Think again.
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th June 2013: is the end finally approaching for this evil woman?
31st May 2013: Now it's official - the BBC really is a left-wing propaganda machine
31st May 2013: Those evil bastards are at it again. Yes, you've guessed it - social services!
27th May 2013: Well-known TV presenter talks sense. No good will come of it.
24th May 2013: British justice is best? Only for the very poor, apparently ...
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...

 

 
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Peter Saunders is a UK/Australian writer and sociologist. He is Professor Emeritus at Sussex University and a “Distinguished Fellow” of the Centre for Independent Studies. This article appeared on the CIS website.
 

 
The “rigid” British social class myth

I spent last weekend at the ‘Battle of Ideas’ conference in London, on a panel debating the relevance of social class in contemporary Britain. The topic was prompted by the election of the first Old Etonian Prime Minister since 1964.
 
British intellectuals are obsessed by class divisions. When television producers are not busy filming Edwardian upstairs-downstairs dramas, movie-makers are working on tales of plucky steel workers being made redundant by Thatcher, or colliery brass bands stoically playing on after the pit has closed, or miners’ sons wanting to be ballet dancers as their fathers go on strike. As economist Peter Bauer put it in a pamphlet 30 years ago, British opinion-formers have ‘class on the brain.’
 
So, nowadays, do British politicians. In the last three years of the Labour government, three official reports were commissioned on class inequality. They all concluded that Britain is an unfair society where lower class children are blocked from realising their potential. Former cabinet minister Alan Milburn claimed in one of these reports: ‘Birth, not worth, has become more and more a determinant of people’s life chances,’ and he described Britain as ‘a closed shop society.’ Not to be outdone, the Tories then produced a report of their own, which proclaimed: ‘Social mobility has ground to a halt.’
 
Very similar claims were made by my fellow-panellists at the Battle of Ideas debate. One, a journalist from the left-wing tabloid The Daily Mirror, told the audience: ‘Your parents’ occupation will almost determine your occupation.’ Another, a sociologist at a FE college, told us: ‘Upward social mobility is a total myth.’
 
Now, I recently wrote a review of the evidence on social mobility in Britain. It showed that social mobility is extensive, both up and down. More than half the population is in a different social class from the one it was born into; one-third of professional-managerial people come from manual worker backgrounds; one in seven sons born to professional/managerial fathers end up as manual workers. Britain is remarkably meritocratic: somebody’s raw ability, measured by an IQ test at age 11, is more than twice as important as their class origins in predicting their class destination.
 
Why, given this evidence, do intellectuals continue to claim Britain is an unfair, class-ridden country? And does this repeated falsehood matter?
 
I think the resilience of the myth may have something to do with the survival of the monarchy and aristocracy at the very top of British society. This upper class froth gives credence to left-wing claims that birth matters more than worth, even though this doesn’t apply to the other 99% of us.
 
And yes, these claims do matter, because they send out such a negative and counter-productive message to working class children. The evidence tells us that, if you are bright and you work hard, there is nothing to stop you from succeeding in Britain, no matter where you start. But working class families are being told by Labour politicians, Daily Mirror journalists, and Marxist FE lecturers that it’s all hopeless, the game is rigged, and their future is pre-determined. Nothing is more likely to prevent children from succeeding than being told by those in authority that there is no point in them even trying.

 

 
The GOS says: The Centre for Independent Studies is an Australian think-tank. You have to wonder, don't you, why this article had to appear on an Australian website instead of a UK one?
 
The GOS once had a girlfriend who was rather thick. She was a lovely girl in every other way and the GOS was very fond of her. Of course, he was the GYS in those days. This girl would get in a terrible wax whenever the GYS mentioned the word “class”. She was convinced that even to use the word was snobbish, and was completely unable to discuss the subject rationally. Mind you, she was Welsh.
 
Actually, we know perfectly well the answer to the myth of invulnerable class division. In the past it has been promulgated by authors, playwrights and film-makers for the simple reason that it gives them an extra dimension for their plots: not only is the hero a misunderstood messiah spurned by the people around him and loved only by one faithful, clear-seeing woman, but he's working class so all hands are against him. Or most of the dramatis personae are just ordinary human beings with human needs and dreams, but made more interesting because they are just that tiny bit alien as they live in a stately home and have servants and posh frocks (“The Go-between”, “Brideshead Revisited”).
 
In the present day it is perpetrated by media people who have very tiny brains and can't be arsed to look around them and make their work reflect the real world they live in, instead of the artificial one that's built up over the years in books, films, plays and TV programmes (“Downton Abbey”. And don't we all love it?).
 
Class exists, sure. But does it matter? A lot less than you'd think. Scum will always float to the top, and shit eventually sinks.
 

 
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