Recently one morning, as I was weeping over Caitlin Moran’s (daughter of Mr and Mrs Moran of Wolverhampton) brilliant book How to Build a Girl — specifically, the heartbreaking way she writes about coming from an impoverished family — a report came on to the radio with the glad tidings that working-class white children are now doing worse in schools than any other ethnic group. Said one Graham Stuart, the Conservative chairman of the education select committee, ‘They do less homework and are more likely to miss school than other groups. We don’t know how much of the underperformance is due to poor attitudes to school, a lack of work ethic or weak parenting.’
No, we don’t, do we? But what if it was to do with feeling that there’s just no point in bothering? That the odds are now so shamelessly stacked against a white working-class child getting a decently paid job, let alone one they actually enjoy, that to try hard at school would be to give up the last remnants of agency and rebellion? It’s no secret that social mobility — which just a few years back we all presumed would rock on regardless — has reversed, doing over the already vulnerable working class with the force of a steamroller. Yes, you chirpy Cockneys and you stoic Northerners, not only have the jobs your parents did — making things — disappeared, but the cushy jobs that a blessed few of you once might have escaped the surly bonds of the proletariat by nabbing — modelling, acting, writing for newspapers — have now been colonised by the children of the rich/famous/well-connected, too.
Looking at photos of Moss Junior, one is spitefully reminded of that line some wag came out with about Greta Garbo’s stand-in, one Geraldine Dvorak: ‘She has everything that Garbo has. Except that thing that Garbo has.’
They think qualifications can be bought.
Though simple starlets may compare showing off for lots of money to being a soldier (Paltrow and Cruise), being raped (Charlize and Kristen) and being stoned to death (Geldof), that’s just to put us ‘civilians’ off and keep the jammy jobs safe for their own spawn.
Idiots. Not even useful idiots.
If a Martian came down today, he’d believe that only the children of the famous are allowed to have enjoyable careers — the royal family started it, but only now are we seeing how crass and counterproductive it is when people get jobs because of who their parents are.
Because they aren’t qualified. And it isn’t fair, but neither is life.
Insult follows injury follows indignity when it comes to the prospects of today’s white working-class youth.
That’s the thing about nepotism; it’s ultra-conservative but the opposite of patriotic, wasting the endless talent of all those could-have-been runners and writers born on the wrong side of the tracks.
No matter, because the BBC have just announced that they have hatched a new £2 million scheme to fast-track black and Asian writers, actors and presenters. That’ll be the young blacks and Asians who in fact do better than poor whites in school — but as the white trash have a lack of work ethic, it’s probably their fault. Similarly, the Guardian has a ‘Positive Action Scheme — Ethnic Minorities’ in place, but zero for poor white would-be journalists.
They are noticing.
These deaths by a thousand snubs add to the impression of white working-class children being young ghosts in their own country, a new blank, betrayed generation of Chesterton’s famous Secret People:
‘We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia’s wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.’
These ghosts may be less patient than their pacified parents, and prime candidates for the Ukip dream.
Correct. They will be very angry voters.
I believe these are the people who will pull off any sort of Revolution, if it hasn’t already sunk in they’ve been abandoned and replaced by Labour, their historical home.