Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Class War In the PC Age

Well it may be the 21st century but clearly social attitudes don't change as fast as technology. According to the beeb, though hardly in need of verification for those of us attuned to life on the island, class sensitivity is increasing in Britain. The gap between rich and poor is widening. And social mobility is at its lowest since Disraeli was prime minister. Essentially, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the class system and the caste system. That's progress!!

What especially disturbs me is that, in an age where racist comments on the world's dumbest and nastiest tv show can trigger a diplomatic incident in India, not to mention national self-flagellation, we can be so blasé about our little class problem. I've checked with a raft of friends from Finland to Fiji and it turns out that they are utterly flumoxed by attitudes that the UK considers perfectly natural...I'm sorry, but our country's obsession with accent is second to none (it's a little like Google-earth, Brits have an ability to home in on somebody's precise background and origins simply through how they speak).

No where else in the world does the Prime Minister get a voice coach to change his vowels simply to sound more like Mondeo Man. No where else in the world do people discuss the 'regionalisation of accents' in their national media portals as if it were some sort of government conspiracy. No where else could my highly educated friend, who's fluent in German and has an MA in EU Studies, find it difficult to get a job simply because of a strong Fife dialect...

It's a funny old world

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