As i have made my way through the political blogosphere i have begun to notice certain things. Most importantly is how terribly middle class it is, oh sure, there is a left right divide, and there are some really smart people out there who knows where it is at, but when it comes to class, and all those areas that surround it, there is a genuine lack of real knowledge by experience.
Oh the right i grant its ridiculous, i mean most of those people have never seen a poor man, and those who have, have probably seen the extreme rural poor of South America or Africa, and this tends to mean they over-right the grievances of the poor at homes for they often do not realize the bleakness of estate existence and the strange kind of intelligence that it brings.
On the left however it is almost as bad, these people are not anti poor, but they certainly don't know what it is like to be in that position most of the time. Claiming benefits one day is not enough to understand it, because its not just about having poor income which too many people on the left fail to understand. This is worrying because it reduces our arguments firstly to abstract, and when things become abstract there is almost no point in arguing over it intellectually because all arguments can quickly become esoteric.
I am not much better, i am of middle class stock, but i lived in small houses most of my life, and i went to a proper state school, one that wasn't on the up but a ten year slump, and one which has spawned a lot of amazing music because of its heavy mix of working class kids, second generation immigrants and a sprinkling of the white middle classes, i but a lot of that cultural mixing for the successes of Hot Chip and the XX in recent years. I genuinely became friends with working class people, for many years, and although it might seem matter of factual to many, i still think it might be worth putting up a bit of what i learned.
1. Everyone knows people one way or another, i met people several estates over who could make links to friends of mine, the whole "say my name and they wont touch you" stuff actually worked. There is a huge emphasis on who knows who and because of this an estate is a highly socialized environment, as i suppose you may expect from such a lifestyle, but while middle class friends might have friends of friends that you can herald too, it is not the same as the smaller world that are these estates.
2. Look them in the eye and be honest, unless you don't know them and your on the street in which case avoid all contact. Okay first part. The whole middle class trying not to notice stuff has a major inferiority effect on a lot of people, it makes it look like you think your better than them, and almost all working class people believe that a little bit, they do feel inferior. And if you handle matters badly you will get words. So first things first, if there is some nicety you don't want to bring up with someone just say it, because they can tell your thinking something that isn't too nice and not talking is treating them like an idiot. On the other hand if this is someone you don't know on the street, don't make eye contact, especially if he is in the 13 to 19 bracket as it feels to them like your seriously disapproving of them. And there is a good chance that its gonna make them react, badly.
3. Arguments are fleeting. Obviously don't make anything an issue of respect or such, but remember that at times it might be better to get a bit loud and proud with this person. Its not that it will necessarily resolve the issue but they might get a bit of respect for you and its not gonna be held as a grudge anyway. So if its going that way over something silly, don't back down because you look like someone who doesn't deserve respect and push on because it wont be held against you later. So long as you don't go around looking for fights.
4. Be direct. All that word play bullshit from the middle class way of doing things doesn't count for shit here. You may as well say exactly what you think, how you think. Anything else just sounds like waffle and if there is one thing we learn from politics is that the public hate waffle.
If anyone for any reason comes across this i hope its of some help next time your down the Ash Burton estate, and remember, if any group starts giving you trouble, say Conor knows you.