Two topics today. One, the attempt by a journalist at the National to make independence a class war and two, the unthinking accusations of xenophobia related to Teresa May’s Brexit speech.
A possible third is Ruth Davidson’s objections to grammar schools in Scotland, because she went to a comprehensive in Buckhaven and turned out OK. Good for Ruth. She is actually from Largo, which has some of the most expensive undersized property I have seen on my travels in search of a house around Scotland. Ruth’s upbringing was far from deprived.
Neither was mine, but unlike my siblings I also attended a comprehensive school in Glasgow. Within the first two weeks, I had been identified and targetted as a ‘snob’ by the kids from the estate, which is notorious but basically just a bit odd in its defensive class-based self supression. One of the exs, a builder who was earning at least seven hundred pounds a week, claimed that I came from a ‘big, posh house’ and was to be treated like shit because ‘he had no capital and needed a council hoose.’ This is not an unusual attitude from his neck of the woods, but like me, he was considered an outsider because he had actually achieved something and so we ended up in the same rejected social circle.
Making independence a class issue is, as I have said before a really big mistake. That means making aspiration a bad thing, and we know from experience that killing aspiration kills the country. Having been at the mercy of inverse snobbery for my entire life, between school and searching for the work I actually studied for in Glasgow, I can tell you that people like me have a great deal to worry about if you start making independence about class.
If I had got the career I studied for, I would have been able to afford the children I could not afford to have. I would have been able to afford the pension I do not have, and if I had been able to do this in Scotland, I would have been able to support my elderly parents whilst I did that. Instead what I and many others got was a bin bag full of rejection letters. No I am not kidding – I actually took it to the jobcentre at one point for a back to work interview whilst claiming benefits and they told me to take it away because it was too much for them. One DIY supermarket manager who actually took the time to interview me said he had had much the same experience as a middle class Hindu in Glasgow. Instead of the work he studied for, he eventually took a job shelf stacking and eventually became manager of the same store.
In case you assume that I am going to talk about ‘British jobs for British workers’ as being a xenophobic thing, I am not. Like me, my friends struggled to find work, and either moved out of the country, stacked shelves, wasted their education working in bars and gradually gave up hope of getting anything out of their lives that they actually wanted. Graduates don’t tend to talk about it, because it is a source of personal failure and miserable embarrassment, and nobody ever feels sorry for you or makes it part of their ‘class struggle for the worker.’ During the protests about nursery nurses many years ago, I remember tearing a strip off my super lefty friend for his protestations over £18k a year for nursery nurses, when people who study for far longer get no consideration at all.
So, according to Twitter today, apparently the rights of migrants are superior to the rights of people who were born here, who support their relatives here, and whose lives were constantly maligned here. I lost count of the number of bitches I encountered in temporary work who sneered at my ‘posh’ voice as I did their filing.
Thanks a lot Scotland. For goodness sake don’t bother getting an education, or working to actually pay for anything because according to the latest ‘class struggle’ theory, anything you actually do with your life will be taken away in taxes to pay for people who more sensibly had babies at fifteen and got themselves a council house in order to sneer at the ‘snobs’ who actually wanted to work.
This is not what my great grandfather was fighting for when he attracted those tanks to George Square. He would not be impressed, although, like my experience of the wider public, my father was rejected by his revolutionary communist family when he started his business as being against the interests of the masses. This is not progressive, and it does not provide opportunity or widespread growth. It simply encourages a friction which is good for nobody, and doesn’t get us anywhere. If you want suppressed wages, suppressed lives and a dearth of opportunity, you are welcome to carry on without further input.