Where will all the chavs buy their Christmas presents? Did he refuse to eat the blackcurrant cheesecake that was being "carefully sliced" as his host sought to fill an awkward silence? Did he storm out and call time on their friendship? Whatever he did on the night, its casual malice led him, indirectly, to write this book, which argues that class hatred is the last acceptable prejudice.

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Start your review of Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class Write a review Shelves: politics , favorite I grew up on a council estate and I remember the people who live on them with great fondness. I didnt really know I was working class as I hadnt become aware of the rigid structure of our society but working class I was then and remain now. That same fondness was once felt across the board, maybe not in full but the majority of people knew that those who lived on council estates were the salt of the earth, the wheels of the economy or simply that they loved their mum and would do owt for you.

I grew up on a council estate and I remember the people who live on them with great fondness. Those days and those feelings are gone and they are not gone because the people on estates have suddenly changed.

What has changed is the representation of a whole class, a majority indeed of people across the entire medium of communication. There has been a concerted effort on the part of politicians and media institutions to label the entire working class as cheaters, swindlers, oafs, alcoholic, racist, violent thugs who are a burden on our economy and our public services.

The privatisation of public services coupled with the decimation of manufacturing created a cocktail of terror in the heartlands of northern England particularly and the rest of the country generally. In coal mining towns, all there was, was the coal mine. To de-industrialise alone without giving thought to re-energising those areas was positively criminal and has resulted in huge swathes of people who have been lost to our modern, allegedly burgeoning society.

That is just one way the Tories, and Labour after them ruined the lives of countless ordinary people. Ever since the poor acquired the vote the ruling class has been terrified of the power of democracy, so what do they do? Instead of governing in the interests of the majority they take away their options. Is it any wonder that the bottom decile of the population have the fewest people who go and vote? There is no one who represents their views and when that happens the far right will be the first shoulder to cry on as it fills a vacuum in its own cowardly way.

The media, also highly public school oriented, is equally culpable. When was the last time you saw a working class person on TV, a real one? That means not some sick Little Britain sketch that pokes fun at socially retarded single mothers, or the caricatures we see on the Jeremy Kyle show other exploitative chat shows are available.

When the BBC had its white-working-class season they had programmes made by and for the chattering classes as though working men and women were there to be poked with sticks and observed like some new species discovered in the jungles of Borneo.

We have an elite media, reporting on an elite governing class who in turn carry out policies for elite corporate employers which are reported back to the general population by those same elite media operatives, where do working people get a look in? Owen Jones book gets to the very heart of this subject with his passionate prose and elucidates the argument much better than I can. He crystallises the debate well through interviews with people on all sides of the class spectrum while proving his overriding point that the criticism levelled at the working class for the past 30 years has been false, misguided and unfair.

He calls for a new politics of understanding and fairness, a change to the rigidity of society that only occasionally lets a poor person in to it to spice up the gene pool. Benefit fraud comes to virtually nothing when compared with tax evasion and avoidance by the rich, but when was the last time Philip Green, The Barclay Brothers, Lord Rothemere and their ilk were on the cover of tabloids for the amount they rip us all off? In the working class they found their perfect scapegoat to keep their sordid little racket going, and everyone fell for it.



Chavs is packed full of good reporting and useful information. The class war Jones makes sense of is one that has seen the destruction of a working class world as well as such cultural characteristics as communality, association, collective life and the like in favour of the unfettered individualism lionised by the neo-liberalism of Thatcherism, New Labour and assorted other political tendencies. Y lo peor es que no esto parece que solo acaba de empezar. I unabashedly enjoy my artisan sourdough and free-flowing prosecco, but am I contributing to my community?


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