Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Not raoulmoatley funny
July 16, 2010 3:40 AM   Subscribe

Raoul Moat left prison, shot several people and hid from the police for a week before shooting himself. Not long after, the Facebook group 'RIP Raoul Moat You Legend' was set up to predictable outrage and condemnation from the UK Prime Minister (and then condemnation of his reaction.) An astounding radio interview with said group's founder.

For further details on the founder, see this link from the Daily Mail - but be warned, there's an unpleasant picture about halfway down.
posted by mippy (136 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh. Kind of reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde
posted by lysdexic at 3:44 AM on July 16, 2010


Cameron Beginning to Realise Exactly Who He's in Charge of.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 3:50 AM on July 16, 2010 [14 favorites]


For further details on the founder, see this link from the Daily Mail - but be warned, there's an unpleasant picture about halfway down.

There's an unpleasant picture right at the top. Those awful, awful ugg boots.
posted by Jimbob at 3:55 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Moaty, it's me Gazza. I've got some chicken, a can of lager and a couple of fishing rods.

An astounding radio interview with Paul Gascoigne, friend of Raoul Moat.
posted by fire&wings at 3:59 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can anyone from the UK tell us if this is real? Or is it a pumped-up media-created 'trend' designed to shock! and outrage! and sell papers!
posted by kanewai at 4:00 AM on July 16, 2010


When white people do bad things, they can be charming mavericks fighting The Man and silently (or not so silently) cheered on. Never mind his ex-girlfriend being shot in the face, he was on the run! how resourceful of him. His friends helped him, he wasn't exactly living off the land.

If a black man had done this, there would only be two reactions - a devastating critique of mental health services from the left or fear, outrage and a call for the return of hanging from the right.
posted by shinybaum at 4:02 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


BORKEN INTERNETS! The Cameron will fix with bicycle mounted laser smile & twine of Boris Johnson hair mixed with rock hard traditional VALUES.
posted by srboisvert at 4:03 AM on July 16, 2010


When I told a friend about his he said he'd been listening to a radio program about highwayman back in the 18C and how, though they were basically vicious thugs, ended up becoming heroic legends... so not much has changed.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:06 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


a pumped-up media-created 'trend' designed to shock! and outrage! and sell papers!

If there's anyone who likes those more than Americans do, it's the Brits.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:07 AM on July 16, 2010


Come on shinybaum, there's not really any support for this guy. The fact that some wankers joined a Facebook tribute group means nothing. If you actually went up to any of these people and asked them "How do you feel about someone who tried to kill his ex and shot a policeman in the face?" they'd agree that he was a shit.
This whole thing is a purely manufactured outrage.
posted by atrazine at 4:08 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can anyone from the UK tell us if this is real?

The event, or the Facebook group? Both are real - I looked at the group yesterday, it had 34,000 members, but has since been taken down.
posted by mippy at 4:09 AM on July 16, 2010


When I told a friend about his he said he'd been listening to a radio program about highwayman back in the 18C and how, though they were basically vicious thugs, ended up becoming heroic legends... so not much has changed.

My dad, on the other hand, would rail against civic structures being named after Nelson Mandela on the grounds that 'he was a terrorist'.
posted by mippy at 4:10 AM on July 16, 2010


I think there really is some support for him. Not as much as people think, but speaking to some younger people about this they really do think it's hilarious that he evaded them for a week. I agree that if they thought about it they'd probably modify it but there's definitely support there.

OTOH pretty much everything they do in the Mail is invent trends to scare people. On the internet you can find people to agree with you on anything. If I said kittens were delicious, 30, 000 people would wante me dead and another 5, 000 would PM me to see if I had recipes.

I don't have recipes. Terrible cook.
posted by shinybaum at 4:12 AM on July 16, 2010


Only having a passing relationship with the mainstream media, I missed the disgusting circus surrounding the unfortunate events. It would seem that the media were at their most amoral and bloodthirsty. It is as if they watched Charlie Brooker's 'how not to present a spree killer in the media' as an instructional piece.

That this has had the effect of Moat being perceived as some kind of anti-hero is far from surprising.
posted by asok at 4:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


If there's anyone who likes those more than Americans do, it's the Brits.

Who do you think we learned it from? It's not like the American media environment leapt full-blown from the brow of William Randolph Heasrt or something....
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm looking forward to every post being deconstructed through the lens of race, regardless of context.

People view white people eating HAMBURGERS like this.
People view black people eating HAMBURGERS like this.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The following views don't represent what I think about this, but this is what I've observed:

I don't think the authorities realise just how much sympathy and respect there is for this man. And how much antipathy there is against the Police.

Not sure what can be done about it, but a good percentage of the people I've discussed this with see the whole story as either a joke or they actually believe Moat had a valid grudge. And almost everyone I know think the reason that he's dead now is because the police either killed him or screwed up to such a degree that he inadvertently took his own life.

Here's a collection of summarised comments I've heard about this story:

"Obviously, the Police killed him."
"You don't taser a wet man holding an armed firearm to his head without knowing that he'll probably kill himself."
"Why are the Police making everyone stay inside. He's only after killing the Police. They're just trying to turn everyone against him."
"He's just smarter than the police."
"The most disgusting thing about this is the press intrusion."

You can call the creator of the facebook page disgusting and stupid all you like, but she's not as outside public opinion as people would like to believe.

Also - I'm not sure that colour made any difference to public opinion here. Moat picked up the respect he did by (a) only killing certain people (b) taunting the police (c) managing to hide for a week and (d) being shown by the press as a loving father.

I don't think this is an "anti-hero for the white underclass" story as much as it is a "anti-hero for people who really distrust the police / authority" story.
posted by seanyboy at 4:24 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Raoul Moat is the new Diana.
posted by Phanx at 4:26 AM on July 16, 2010



In the conversations he described himself as emotionally unstable and repeatedly asked for help.

In August 2009 he told a social worker: "I would like to have, erm, a psychiatrist, psychologist, have a word with me regularly, on a regular basis to see if there's somewhere underlying like where I have problem that I haven't seen.

"I would like a professional, you know, not a DIY thing you know? A professional thing for someone to come along and say look there's area for improvement here. This is a problem."

At the same meeting, Moat asked again to see a psychiatrist. "Why don't we just have a psychiatrist sit me down and say: 'Right, OK, I want to see you regularly, then we can move towards where your areas of fault are, we can enhance on these areas you know, erm and work with us'," he said.

"If I'm at fault myself in any way I'm open to all kinds of suggestions but I refuse to spend the rest of my time fighting with social services."...

"I'm quite emotionally unstable you know, I get myself over-the-top happy sometimes you know," he is heard to say. "The more you block things out the more numb you become in the heart you know, you get to a point where happiness to you is just like, you know, neither here nor there."

posted by catchingsignals at 4:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also - That asok youtube link is chilling. Charlie Brooker on the money. As usual.
posted by seanyboy at 4:29 AM on July 16, 2010


Fair enough point seanyboy and probably true, although I really do think the loving father stuff and a few other points wouldn't have been made by the media if Moat wasn't white.

It does get to the point where guilt or crimes committed just fail to register with people because the Police are so distrusted.
posted by shinybaum at 4:30 AM on July 16, 2010


I think seanyboy is largely right.

David Cameron's involvement didn't do him any favours. There's an underclass of people in the UK that Cameron simply doesn't 'get', and that underclass found a way to taunt him and make him look riled.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:31 AM on July 16, 2010


The interesting thing about the Charlie Brooker link is that a few weeks earlier saw A Gunman On The Loose in Whitehaven. That began as a revenge mission and then escalated to shooting strangers.

If someone goes to prison for a violent or serious crime, are psychiatric services not involved as a matter of course?
posted by mippy at 4:34 AM on July 16, 2010


If someone goes to prison for a violent or serious crime, are psychiatric services not involved as a matter of course?

I think the prison mental health system has its critics:

Research suggests that prisoners are twice as likely to be refused treatment for mental health problems inside prison than outside.

also from the link: Prison regimes do little to address the mental health needs of prisoners. Research has found that 28% of male sentenced prisoners with evidence of psychosis reported spending 23 or more hours a day in their cells - over twice the proportion of those without mental health problems.
posted by shinybaum at 4:40 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not raoulmoatley funny

Wait are we doing Raoul Moat sick jokes now?
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 4:42 AM on July 16, 2010


There was a time when you felt safer if your village had a moat around it.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 4:42 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


On the plus side though, Facebook ought be commended for the excellent job of keeping the feeble minded away from the real internet. I suppose it's like having a browser-based gas giant in outer orbit vacuuming up the shit.
posted by the noob at 4:59 AM on July 16, 2010 [16 favorites]


If you actually went up to any of these people and asked them "How do you feel about someone who tried to kill his ex and shot a policeman in the face?" they'd agree that he was a shit.

There's a class of poor unemployed (or barely employed) people, for whom the police is the enemy. For them, if you have a problem with someone, the appropriate thing to do is to sort it out with them yourself, or get a large male member of your family to do it for you. Going to the police over a disagreement would be the worst kind of selling out - selling out to someone who believes that you and everyone like you are scum and will treat you as such. It makes you a GRASS and an outcast.

By this logic, if your ex partner is discussing you in negative terms with a policeman, as well as sleeping with him, that's a fundamental betrayal, and sorting it out personally using violence could be seen as an appropriate and honourable response.

Leading the police a merry dance on national TV for a week only adds hilarity to the situation, to everyone who feels like they or their family has been harassed or messed about by the police.
posted by emilyw at 5:00 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Well I'm not ashamed to say it, I had some empathy for him. I don't think he was hero, I didn't disregard his victims and I didn't join a group. I didn't even think about it much until I heard Cameron slapping the nation's legs and telling us not to feel any sympathy. I find that a bit hard when the person involved is obviously so troubled and damaged.

I can live with my conscience.
posted by vbfg at 5:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Re: Moat as mentally unstable: Ken Clarke, the new Justice Secretary, plans a shake-up of the prison system, based on rehabilitation rather than incarceration. However, it has been pointed out (first letter) that the lack of capacity to treat mental illness stems in no small part from his acts in the 1980s, when Clarke started closing down mental hospitals.
posted by djgh at 5:23 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


But speaking to the Daily Mail, cigarette in hand, from the £64,000 terraced house in Burnley she shares with her young daughter...


Once again the Daily Mail continues its absolutely inexplicable policy of reporting exactly how much anybody's house costs.

This is how Daily Mail readers rate their worth in relation to other people. Does anybody with half a mind really care?
posted by Ted Maul at 5:24 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't think anyone came out of this whole debacle looking good. Cameron's right to say that Moat shouldn't be turned into a hero, but when he said "I cannot understand any wave, however small, of public sympathy for this man," well...I think he's just wrong. I feel sympathy towards Moat, certainly. He was clearly seriously mentally ill, desperate, and suicidal. While that doesn't come remotely close to beginning to excuse anything he did, it does make it more understandable. Besides, I think it's always a healthy response to not be pleased that someone has killed themselves.

That said, so far as the Facebook groups go...yeah, screw 'em, that's simply disgusting. Kudos to Facebook for refusing to remove them due to governmental pressure, and double kudos to them for removing them anyway for their content.
posted by ZsigE at 5:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jesus, I can't understand a word that woman is saying. I thought the country invented English, but nobody there fuckin speaks it!
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 5:31 AM on July 16, 2010


Does anybody with half a mind really care?

posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:30 PM on July 16 with a hot Dr. Pepper in his left hand from his $15m private yacht anchored off the Azores [+] [!]

There's a mean streak running through our culture, for sure. I shudder whenever I think of how the UK would look if the Daily Mail and its readers one day woke to find its every intolerant dream come true.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:36 AM on July 16, 2010


Let's play a game. How much of the Daily Mail article is telling you what to think?

the sick Facebook tribute site
- First sentence

speaking to the Daily Mail, cigarette in hand, from the £64,000 terraced house in Burnley she shares with her young daughter
- Dirty smoker
- Rate her as a person via her house
- Terraced house = not Middle England
- Shares with her young daughter but no man = single mum

Miss O'Dowd, who has previously been arrested for criminal damage
- You can't trust her, she's a criminal

Her boyfriend Sean Taney, 28, has been in prison for burglary
- Boyfriend, not husband. Young daughter = bastard child out of wedlock
- He's a criminal as well, you can't trust him either

But the hairdressing and beauty student said she now regretted setting up the site
- She studies an intellectually inferior subject

The Mail: If you're reading it for the news, you're doing it wrong.
posted by djgh at 5:37 AM on July 16, 2010 [39 favorites]


Not raoulmoatley funny

Oh lord, I feel bad for laughing at that...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 5:39 AM on July 16, 2010


There's an underclass of people in the UK that Cameron simply doesn't 'get'

What's to get in some cases? I don't think it's just Cameron who doesn't understand the kind of people who shit on their own doorstep, celebrate violence against innocents, lack the ambition or inclination to be productive members of society, who blame all their woes on "the system" etc etc

I'd bet there is a significant overlap between people who glorify Moat and those who would subscribe to the "hanging's too good for him" mentality if their kin had been a victim.

I don't meet many, but occasionally you come across people so wilfully stupid, whose actions are so destructive to their own prospects and wellbeing that I wonder whether for all the trappings of civilization this might not just be natural selection doing its thing.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:41 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm just waiting for the football chants...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:49 AM on July 16, 2010


There's a mean streak running through our culture, for sure. I shudder whenever I think of how the UK would look if the Daily Mail and its readers one day woke to find its every intolerant dream come true.

Daily Mail Island, courtesy of Charlie Brooker.
posted by Len at 5:52 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Of course, as with all the school shootings it appears that the media coverage of this event (endlessly no less - the 8 hours while there was a standoff in Rothbury turned into gibbering interviews with locals for hours straight) will have caused, OK perhaps not copycats yet, but things like this facebook group and the flowers left at the riverside.

I can't say I was surprised to see a facebook group, just seeing as someone on the internet will always find a way to be a complete asshole, but seriously, leaving flowers as a memorial to someone who killed two people and blinded a cop?

As for questions as to whether this is real, I think Americans tend to underestimate how many mind-numbingly stupid, essentially trailer trash people we have living in this country. They breed at an alarming rate, and then proceed not to teach their children any life lessons. The Thatcher government and on through Blair just widened the divide between middle class and the poor, and the poor just keep getting poorer, and stupider.
posted by opsin at 5:53 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mental health provision in this country is utterly appalling. Most doctors are unhelpful to the point of criminal negligence, so none of this surprises me.

That said, Moat was a hideous thug who apparently beat his wife on many occasions. Still, that never stopped John Lennon also becoming a "LEGERND!!!!"

r_nebblesworthII, your ignorance and parochialism is showing. Very appropriate in a thread featuring the Daily Mail.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 5:59 AM on July 16, 2010


Research suggests that prisoners are twice as likely to be refused treatment for mental health problems inside prison than outside.

I don't know what surprises me more: that there are prisoners outside prison, or that we treat some of those prisoners for mental health problems.

In all seriousness, though, this is the kind of passive sentence that we should avoid when talking about serious societal problems - it doesn't assign blame. If anything, it suggests the prisoners are somehow at fault. How about 'Mental health professionals are twice as likely to refuse treatment to people inside prison than people outside,' or 'Government fails prisoners with mental health problems'. That way you get the causes of the problem right there at the start of the sentence.

[Sorry, really not trying to have a go at you - the articles and discussions are filled with these sentences that seem to suggest that it's just a blameless phenomenon that these people aren't getting help.]
posted by doublehappy at 6:00 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The Marketing of Colton Harris-Moore." Joel Connelly on the Pacific Northwest's "Barefoot Bandit."
posted by Carol Anne at 6:02 AM on July 16, 2010


I don't meet many, but occasionally you come across people so wilfully stupid, whose actions are so destructive to their own prospects and wellbeing that I wonder whether for all the trappings of civilization this might not just be natural selection doing its thing.

As for questions as to whether this is real, I think Americans tend to underestimate how many mind-numbingly stupid, essentially trailer trash people we have living in this country. They breed at an alarming rate, and then proceed not to teach their children any life lessons.

Eugenics, anyone? Come and get your lovely eugenics here. Solution to all society's ills. Chav-B-Gone is guaranteed, yes guaranteed ladies and gentlemen, to rid your town of the indolent and the ill-educated...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:06 AM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


Grr, "are showing," that's what I get for posting before my second coffee.

I don't think this applies to most of the people leaving flowers for him and joining the Facebook page, but I know that there's very little respect left for the police since they shot Jean Charles de Menezes for looking a bit foreign.

The subsequent whitewash didn't help matters either, but I think these feelings are generally within the politically aware middle classes, not the disaffected working ones.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 6:08 AM on July 16, 2010


The Thatcher government and on through Blair just widened the divide between middle class and the poor, and the poor just keep getting poorer, and stupider.

I don't think stupider is true. They are definitely entrenching into their own culture that is increasingly difficult to improve. I live on one of the worst council estates in my area and while services and income have increased on the surface, including more community policing, the culture hasn't changed at all. Moving the most disruptive families and knocking down an entire street only improved things for a year.

I'm against ASBOs and things like that, they just seem to not work. The best preventative treatment for antisocial behaviour is ambition, and the Thatcher/Blair continuum removed all hope of that for a huge number of people.

Doublehappy I took the sentence from the article, no worries.
posted by shinybaum at 6:15 AM on July 16, 2010


I come from a town near Burnley, and all the statements about the 'underclass' are true - there are groups of people who distrust the police and see them as the enemy. If both the woman and her boyfriend have been arrested, then they would undoubtedly feel that way - as the interview shows where she speaks of harrassment by the police. I've had dealings with the police two or three times, and have found them easy to deal with and helpful (one of these occasions was reporting a crime), but I've never been taken into custody, questioned or restrained as someone arrested for criminal damage probably has. And yes, Cameron doesn't really get it - said 'underclass' tend to live on benefits or in social housing, often due to a lack of available work, or mental health problems, and his Cabinet wants to cut housing benefit making a low quality of life worse. I'd highly recommend reading Lynsey Hanley's 'Estates' to understand why "the kind of people who shit on their own doorstep, celebrate violence against innocents, lack the ambition or inclination to be productive members of society, who blame all their woes on "the system" etc etc" It's hard not to blame things on 'the system' if you see literally no route to changing your circumstances. We all have access to free healthcare and education, yet some of the opportunities afforded to us come from the mind and the home, and not everybody has access to these.

Also, half the girls I went to school with ended up doing hairdressing and beauty (the other half, childcare). I hated growing up there and a lot of people were like the woman on the interview (and sounded like her too - I got bullied for having a different accent).
posted by mippy at 6:16 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


As a followup to the comment about Paul Gascoigne posted by fire&wings:

I got great amusement out of this article from the Guardian.

It begins: "Paul Gascoigne, the former England footballer, arrived in Rothbury to offer his support for Raoul Moat, the fugitive who was tonight in confrontation with armed police."

It ends: "Gascoigne's agent, Kenny Shepherd, said: 'He's doing what? I am sitting having an evening meal in Majorca. I'm speechless.'"
posted by Put the kettle on at 6:17 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Still, that never stopped John Lennon also becoming a "LEGERND!!!!"

I think exactly this about Sinatra. He was a good singer, if his singing is your thing, but not much of a role model.
posted by mippy at 6:18 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


these people who post the first thing that comes into their heads on public forums just because the can are all idiots
that's why i stay clear of such places

posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:25 AM on July 16, 2010


Once again the Daily Mail continues its absolutely inexplicable policy of reporting exactly how much anybody's house costs.

The Toronto Star for many years adhered to a strict and baffling policy of reporting everyone's ages even when it was entirely irrelevant. "For the coming year, the Ministry of Labour projects nationwide unemployment at 2.3 percent, said federal Minister of Labour John Munro, 44."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:35 AM on July 16, 2010


Some of the sympathy for Moat is based on blame-the-victim misogyny - the belief that he was a victim of women. There were remarks on the Facebook page along the lines of "if she had kept her legs together, none of this would have happened". There is also a strong streak of puerile Bravo-Two-Zero Ross-Kemp machismo involved, which sadly some women have bought into (a surprising number of the FB comments were from women). This is, of course, the kind of puerile machismo that the tabloids gleefully indulge at other times.

The more interesting part of it has come out of the rich seam of British anti-authoritarianism, which seanyboy describes pretty well. Politicians reserve the strongest condemnation for the things that frighten them.

There may be something else going on as well - and this is my own speculation. As public disquiet about our lack of progress in Afghanistan grows, we're being treated to a steadily greater drumbeat of militarism in public life - returning troops turned into public spectacle, increasing right-wing press attention to tales of heroism and troop deaths (all soldiers are now heroes, by the way, the title comes with the job), a growing meme that the armed forces are beyond criticism. Some of this may have curdled into the Moat sympathy, or it may be a reaction against it - when he was at large, I heard someone say "send him to Afghanistan, he'd sort out the Taliban".
posted by WPW at 6:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


so destructive to their own prospects and wellbeing that I wonder whether for all the trappings of civilization this might not just be natural selection doing its thing.

They're quite good at breeding though.
posted by Not Supplied at 6:47 AM on July 16, 2010


What the media furore has done is show how populist seeking and easily rilled the government is. The call for Facebook to ban the group is painfully infantile. The fact what is in essence a tiny proportion of the population spent all of 5 seconds clicking an FB link to be contentious is largely unremarkable. The idea that a group should be banned because you dont like the cause being discussed is offensive in its simplicity.
posted by numberstation at 6:51 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Raul Moat may have been deserving of sympathy and let down by the system. It's hard to say without knowing the full story with social services.

However, the police were in no way at fault for the way they tried to bring him in. He already shot someone, was armed and had declared war on the police. They used untested tasers probably because killing him would be a pr nightmare...but it gave him a chance of living. Normal practise would be for a marksman to shoot him in the chest.
posted by Not Supplied at 6:52 AM on July 16, 2010


so destructive to their own prospects and wellbeing that I wonder whether for all the trappings of civilization this might not just be natural selection doing its thing.

They're quite good at breeding though.


Yeah, can we stop talking about actual people like they're fucking rats please?
posted by Happy Dave at 7:07 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, can we stop talking about actual people like they're fucking rats please?

Lighten up man. I respect teh uniquely beautiful and meaningful UK chav culture...but sometimes people act like rats, and need the piss taken out of them.
posted by Not Supplied at 7:11 AM on July 16, 2010


I don't even know how to respond to that. Keep on with the dehumanising bollocks the Murdoch press has fed you pal. They're all scum right?
posted by Happy Dave at 7:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Not Supplied, please stop making Happy Dave unhappy.

And stop making yourself look like a silly billy.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 7:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Press hasn't fed me anything. I am part chav, I have ratboy dna. Yeh a lot of the time the tabloid press present a ridiculous image of 'plague ridden peasants that should be put on an island and nuked' (quote planB) which is bollocks but why should any group become a sacred cow that is never ridiculed...I can tell you that a lot of the 'underclass' are ok people but a lot of them are serious idiots.
posted by Not Supplied at 7:46 AM on July 16, 2010


Is it just me, or is this oncoming "LOLCHAVS" argument splitting across north/south lines?

"I am from Manchester and I do not wish to dehumanise poor people."
"Well, I am from London, and wish they'd all get jobs and stop breeding."
posted by seanyboy at 7:49 AM on July 16, 2010


seanyboy, I'm from London, and agree with Happy Dave.
posted by catchingsignals at 7:53 AM on July 16, 2010


seanyboy, I couldn't be more middle-class and Southern if I tried.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 7:54 AM on July 16, 2010


I can tell you that a lot of the 'underclass' are ok people but a lot of them are serious idiots.

That's certainly true, but the same can be said for every part of society. The problem is that the government and media (Daily Mail in particular) often choose to the jobless, undereducated, council-housed poor as the enemy because they're easier as a group to identify and beat with a big stick.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:55 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


they're easier as a group to identify and beat with a big stick.

Fair enough. But does that mean I can't take the piss out of them, given that I generally treat all people with respect.

I get it if you don't want to have a LOLCHAV argument now, but I don't think dark humour should be discouraged about one group...sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
posted by Not Supplied at 8:02 AM on July 16, 2010


There are pockets of London far more deprived than Manchester. Remember London is the UK KNIFE CRIME CAPITAL. And here's how our local paper deals with it.


Press hasn't fed me anything. I am part chav, I have ratboy dna

Social class isn't a bloody race, no matter how much the Tories want to cap social mobility. Unless by 'chav' you're referring to gypsies.
posted by mippy at 8:04 AM on July 16, 2010


Is it just me, or is this oncoming "LOLCHAVS" argument splitting across north/south lines?

I've lived everywhere from Cornwall to Newcastle, spent a fair few years in West Yorkshire and now live in the Midlands. I grew up on a council estate. It's a rich/poor thing. Every town has its council estates and every town has a significant section of the population who speak in scandalised tones about the single mothers and the kids hanging around after dark.

Still, I got a really good deal when I bought my house, because it's five minutes' walk from the laughably tiny 'undesirable' part of my village, so I shouldn't complain. We had a murder here once - a quarter of a century ago - but from the way some people talk you'd think we were in Beirut.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:05 AM on July 16, 2010


I get it if you don't want to have a LOLCHAV argument now, but I don't think dark humour should be discouraged about one group...sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

There's a difference between taking the piss and literally discussing people as if they're animals.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:11 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah - That was me just saying something without thinking it through. Please ignore.
posted by seanyboy at 8:13 AM on July 16, 2010


>There's a difference between taking the piss and literally discussing people as if they're animals.

Yeah - And what's with all this talk of us as pheasants. You upper class pigs. WE ARE NOT MINDLESS BIRDS TO BE HUNG ROTTING IN YOUR OVERSIZED SHEDS.
posted by seanyboy at 8:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I see a sad parallel between the Moat case and the deleted "honor killing" post. They're both to do with the mentality that sees women as things, and sanctions the use of violence when women display unthinglike behaviour.

Also, how the fuck did someone who just got out of jail for assault get hold of a gun and ammo?
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:23 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another Londoner who agrees with Happy Dave.
posted by WPW at 8:24 AM on July 16, 2010


WE ARE NOT MINDLESS BIRDS TO BE HUNG ROTTING IN YOUR OVERSIZED SHEDS.

I dunno, there's a lot of game birds in West Yorkshire of a Friday night.
posted by Not Supplied at 8:24 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, can we stop talking about actual people like they're fucking rats please?

Oh please. Some people are genetically wired to get po-faced about non-serious comments.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:29 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So Raoul Moat turns up at the Pearly Gates.

"Can I come in?" he whines. "It wasn't my fault. It was society and the police and bloody women who were all to blame."

Saint Peter looks at him and says, "I believe you. But sorry mate, no trainers."
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:31 AM on July 16, 2010 [12 favorites]


r_nebblesworthII, your ignorance and parochialism is showing. Very appropriate in a thread featuring the Daily Mail.

Well, when in Rome
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 8:35 AM on July 16, 2010


Anyway, this whole thing will blow over quickly enough and weird women can go back to writing Love Letters to a man who murdered 13 women and attacked 7 more.

World is a weird place, and this hysteria accorded to people calling Moat a "lergend" is nothing but a feeble attempt by politicans and the media at getting sales and/or social engineering. The phenomena is nothing new.
posted by seanyboy at 8:45 AM on July 16, 2010


Oh please. Some people are genetically wired to get po-faced about non-serious comments.

Well, you can call me po-faced if you like, but I think it's linguistic and cultural poison to regard people that way, meant in jest or not.

But maybe I should just 'get a sense of humour, man' and just go along with casual racism, sexism and classism?

Tell me, would it still be a 'non-serious comment' if it was about how Indians are 'good at breeding'? How about Chinese? Blacks? South Americans? Catholics? No, it'd be bigotry.

All of this just makes it easier to handwave around the real problems this country has - they just need to stop having so many ASBO-collecting brats, amirite?
posted by Happy Dave at 8:59 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Following this from the other side of the pond has been weird. Knowing instinctively how the press would react the moment Moat went on the run (badly, yet again Charlie Brooker nails it) the rest all seems rather predictable. No one comes out of this smelling of roses, but the press stink. They stirred the whole thing up yet again, and then are perfectly happy to decry exactly what they wraught just to create more headlines. I feel much more inclined to condem them than the twats that started and joined the FB group, if only for the fact that the press knew full-well what they were doing.

OK, I'm being unfair, one thing does save this whole awful mess: the Gazza interview. This, even though I feel sorry for the guy and bad for laughing at it, is comedy gold.
posted by ob at 9:05 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


ob: They stirred the whole thing up yet again, and then are perfectly happy to decry exactly what they wraught just to create more headlines.

I think the problem this time round is more subtle than that - or rather, it's a subset: the media spent a week and a half gazing with prurient glee into Moat's chaotic life, presenting him like some latter-day DB Cooper and not someone who seemed violently unpleasant (sometimes literally), misogynist and deeply psychologically damaged. They revelled in his hardman, working class, nightclub bouncer machismo – the kind of identity WPW talked about upthread. For this part of the narrative, working class men are downtrodden, screwed over by the police, by women (especially by women), their employers, society at large, immigrant workforces and everyone else. The incompetence of the police in being unable to catch him is just a sideshow in this.

And then he shoots himself. Once they're done replaying the sound of the gunshot over and over again, they're suddenly shocked – shocked! – to find that they've created some sort of folk hero for anyone who wants to set up a Facebook tribute page. At this point, under-employed, or unemployed people in working class areas who have, for a number of interrelated reasons, sometimes complex and chaotic lives, can safely revert to being scum of the earth, and can be treated with a particularly British mixture of contempt and sneering superiority.

It's this last part – and the ease with which people of all classes buy into it – that is so horrible. There's a deep, deep vein of internalised class hatred that almost always looks towards the bottom of the social hierarchy in this country, even – or perhaps especially – when it's the people who have been ground down to the bottom doing the looking.

In short it's a perpetual motion machine in action: the press – particularly the Sun and the Daily Mail – both feed it, and feed on it.
posted by Len at 9:33 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


There's a difference between taking the piss and literally discussing people as if they're animals.

Yeah, it's really not fair; most animals don't randomly happyslap, break car windows, fling bins into the road or scream and yell at 3am most nights. Give them some credit, jeez.

One thing that worried me on this was Cameron not only trying to condemn a site into censorship, which is all kinds of iffy given the general desire to have the internet have freedom of speech (it doesn't, but that's not the point; maintaining the illusion that it does is desirable), but also his attempting it on a US-based site, which would have been a great big internet-vs-national-boundaries can of worms if he tried to undertake any official action.
posted by stelas at 9:35 AM on July 16, 2010


he'd been listening to a radio program about highwayman back in the 18C

I think that was an Adam and the Ants retrospective.
posted by scody at 9:48 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


OK, I'm being unfair, one thing does save this whole awful mess: the Gazza interview.
Agreed.
At the height of the insane media circus the clown prince appeared. I almost wet myself laughing. My girlfriend thought I was joking when I went running through to the other room exclaiming "Gazza's appeared!"
Priceless.
posted by Monkeymoo at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Len, thanks for that, you're absolutely right. It's exasperating. As I say, I live in the States now, and it's really hard to explain this horrible media/class nexus to Americans, as it doesn't really happen here. Actually a lot of the time I forget about it, the US has other problems, but following the Moat saga really brought it back home, so to speak. It's one thing that I find deeply troubling about back home and you said it much better than I did.
posted by ob at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2010



(on De Menezes) The subsequent whitewash didn't help matters either, but I think these feelings are generally within the politically aware middle classes, not the disaffected working ones.

Yeah - I think the prevalent view amongst the people who are making a 'ledgend' out of Raoul Moat would be that de Menezes shouldn't have run from the police (I know, I know) and that if he hadn't overstayed his visa etc etc. Many of them would also think that police officer who backhanded and beat a woman at the G20 protests quite rightly got off without a conviction, but that police officers who are at all pushy with away fans are nazi thugs etc etc.

I live in the Northumbria police area, and while Moat was on the run heard and saw a lot of comments took some relish in the fact that he was making Northumbria Police appear foolish. A lot of the support for Moat is because of that, and because the people supporting him hate the police. And a lot of it is because the people supporting him are fucking idiots.

The moment that once-most-famous-footballer-in-the-country Gazza turned up to end the UK's biggest recent manhunt by offering to help out in hostage negotiation with his fishing rod, chicken and dressing gown does qualify as the most bizarre moment of the last few months, mind.
posted by reynir at 10:22 AM on July 16, 2010


But maybe I should just 'get a sense of humour, man'

This.

and just go along with casual racism, sexism and classism?

One of these is not like the other, and if you believe that people people who are wilfully stupid and who behave in a way that is destructive to their own prospects and wellbeing is restricted to a single class - whatever that means these days - then the problem is yours and not mine, my friend.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:54 AM on July 16, 2010


The Mail: If you're reading it for the news, you're doing it wrong.

Sometimes I wish all the people who read the Daily Mail for news would collectively decide to walk over a very sharp cattle grid while wearing an extremely heavy hat.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:40 AM on July 16, 2010


That picture they flash in the YouTube video: Is that her, or is that a joke? Really? Did she send that to them? Or did they pull that up from somewhere...like Facebook...then use it with her permission? Without? Or does one presume that Facebook published photos are ok to use in press? Why would someone post a pic like that of themselves? Was that one of her better pics? Really?
posted by Xoebe at 11:51 AM on July 16, 2010


I live in the States now, and it's really hard to explain this horrible media/class nexus to Americans, as it doesn't really happen here.

We have messed-up class issues here in the US as well, we just pretend we don't, which makes them harder to talk about. I do confess, though, as someone who watches lots of British TV, that there are certain class-related references and emphases that I have to consciously "unpack" to make certain things make sense/be funny.

I'M NOT A WINDOW CLEANER! ALASTAIR, I'M NOT A WINDOW CLEANER!
posted by jtron at 12:12 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


whatever that means these days
It means the single most important factor affecting a person's life chances that somehow remains utter mystery to ignorant sections of the I'm-all-right-Jack chattering classes, only to be discussed in the context of circus side-shows like Moaty's bold adventure. Still, even framed by tragedy and farce you get to see some of the truly anti-social types put their cards on the table.
posted by Abiezer at 12:14 PM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Xoebe: this is her

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3056676/Facebook-fan-Siobhan-ODowd-who-called-Raoul-Moat-a-legend.html
posted by marienbad at 12:47 PM on July 16, 2010


THE creator of a sick internet tribute to killer Raoul Moat was yesterday revealed as an unemployed single mum.


Meanwhile, the Sun comes out and just says it. God damn some people suck.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:55 PM on July 16, 2010


if you believe that people people who are wilfully stupid and who behave in a way that is destructive to their own prospects and wellbeing is restricted to a single class

Isn't it curious, though, that it's only in the case of the working classes that it's their class, and not their stupidity, such as it may be (or not), that is blamed? I mean, I certainly didn't see any headlines about "canoe man" John Darwin saying "MIDDLE CLASS NUTTER DECEIVES CHILDREN IN BIZARRE 'DISAPPEARANCE' SCAM" above stories which read "Like many middle class and middle aged con-men, John Darwin wanted, paradoxically, to move overseas after realising that Britain had been ruined by foreigners, having decided that he'd rather shout English at Panamanians in the sun than deal with Magda working in the Post Office, whilst it rained outside."

I think my favourite in this category – which for bonus points also brings in immigration and the July 7 2005 bombings in London – is the Express headline a couple of weeks after the bombing: BOMbERS ARE ALL SPONGEING ASYLUM SEEKERS* which is such a perfect cocktail of prejudice I can't help thinking that it was written by someone at Private Eye.

*self link.

posted by Len at 12:58 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It can't beat 'Allah is a paedo' from that EDF video though.

The chavs aren't really the same working class though, they're dropouts which is why rightly and wrongly they're villified...people of all classes love to hate them, take a vicarious pleasure in fucked up stories, getting their own back for being terrorised and having to deal with their crap and probably a touch of fear that they could end up like that.

I don't think chav bashing is all good and you need empathy, but the intelligent mind can understand subtleties and apparent contradictions.

If I'm talking to a single mum with babies by 3 dads, I'm not taking the piss, I'm trying to understand where she's coming from...but seriously some of these people are horrible specimens get off your high horse about the broad jokes.
posted by Not Supplied at 1:27 PM on July 16, 2010


People in general I mean, not Len in particular I mean.
posted by Not Supplied at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2010


The chavs aren't really the same working class though, they're dropouts which is why rightly and wrongly they're villified...people of all classes love to hate them, take a vicarious pleasure in fucked up stories

Isn't this almost a British analogue of Chris Rock's Niggas vs Black People routine? In that, the behaviour of a small minority of a particular group (whether race-based or class-based) becomes the stereotype for that larger group, both in the media and among the group itself, and before long, you've got a self-perpetuating stereotype that is fed both by the media and by select members of the class in question? (The media because it sells papers; the class in question because it appeals to the anti-authoritarian streak that has been inculcated in them over generations, a streak often inculcated for very good, though different, reasons.) I thought it was interesting that upthread, emilyw talked about the idea that going to the police made you a grass – which exactly mirrors the kind of thing you get in hip hop culture regarding "stop snitchin'" campaigns.

On preview: Not Supplied, it's not so much the joking about it that gets me; it's more that some of the jokes are perhaps using a much broader brush than seems either necessary or justified, which ends up, intended or not, enforcing some pretty horrible prejudices about what used to be called the lower orders.
posted by Len at 1:48 PM on July 16, 2010


Maybe it is similar, but there's a whole load of subtleties and apparent contradictions in the niggaz thing as well. I can't really it's always a good thing to take the piss out of these stereotype black people or always a bad thing...it is what it is and I think you have to understand the ever shifting context.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:00 PM on July 16, 2010


can't really say
posted by Not Supplied at 2:00 PM on July 16, 2010


It means the single most important factor affecting a person's life chances

It's a derail, but an interesting point when you consider that other love affair of the Daily Mail - immigrants.

Because by any economic and arguably academic standard the majority of immigrants from South Asia two generations ago should have been of a certain class and yet within one or two generations have ripped apart assumptons of class mobility.

Similarly, the idea that Raoul Moat's supporters might be a disenfranchised social underclass is belied by the fact that they're on the internet. Using Facebook.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:54 PM on July 16, 2010


Because by any economic and arguably academic standard the majority of immigrants from South Asia two generations ago should have been of a certain class and yet within one or two generations have ripped apart assumptons of class mobility.
Utter nonsense - look at the different fates of the largely working class Bangladeshi immigrant communities and those of the mostly middle class Ugandan Asians - confirms everything we already knew about class mobility.
posted by Abiezer at 4:32 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Angus Moat, Raoul Moat's half-brother, gives an interview to the Guardian. He's no chav. Sounds like they had a pretty rough upbringing. I don't personally believe that people's wrong-doings mean you can't be sympathetic to them, Mr Cameron.
posted by criticalbill at 4:39 PM on July 16, 2010


the idea that Raoul Moat's supporters might be a disenfranchised social underclass is belied by the fact that they're on the internet


70% of households in Britain had internet access in 2009
. I've known plenty of people in the US who were well into the lowest economic quintile and yet had internet access... I know these two things don't properly add up to anything but unless you're running a 'no true scotsman' gimmick where access to internet -> you're not disenfranchised or in an underclass, I feel your assertion is weak. Weak sauce.
posted by jtron at 4:49 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


70% of households in Britain had internet access in 2009

And this year we're specifically targetting the lowest income households to close even that gap, so among the likely people to have a brand new laptop and broadband right now are people who can't afford clothes.
posted by shinybaum at 5:12 PM on July 16, 2010


she's got a beautiful voice, nice accent
posted by nervousfritz at 5:43 PM on July 16, 2010


I don't personally believe that people's wrong-doings mean you can't be sympathetic to them, Mr Cameron.

From his 49 page suicide note:

"Hid under farker's window and waited. For an hour and a half, I listened to them mocking me. It was hurtful listening to Sam, especially after six years. They had opened a window and I could hear everything. If I was ever going to back down, listening to them stopped that.

[...]

"Sam was like no other and filled huge gaps in my life, and changed my view on life. Always in my adult life I have felt alone, estranged from my entire family, and needing to belong somewhere but never did.

[...]

"All my life I wanted death, hence the reason I took risks, made the worst kind of enemies and behaved the way I did. Shot at three times in my life yet didn't care. But now I had different thoughts. I wanted my life with Sam. Someone who understood me and helped me be who I really wanted to be. She was beautiful, sexy and the best company ever.

We waited about two months before sleeping together, which made it so much more special."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/7874077/Gunman-Raoul-Moats-confession-l et ter-the-key-extracts.html
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:48 PM on July 16, 2010


OK, I'm being unfair, one thing does save this whole awful mess: the Gazza interview.

>Agreed.

>At the height of the insane media circus the clown prince appeared. I almost wet myself laughing.


I almost gave up on the interview. But when he started rattling off the random inventory that he bought for Moaty, "an' a, an' a chicken..." Hilarious.

Not Gazza, but a funny snippet from his suicide letter, Moaty on chavs:

"For years I enjoyed strangling these little farks, with their poxy stripey jumpers. Trust me, if you're having a shiat day, batter one of these little farks and give yourself a boost. farking hate 'em, with their Charlie Chaplin walk and Jimmy Savile clothes and gold.

Ear rings like bath robe hangars and more chains than Mr T. They're like farking monkeys the way they're attracted to shiny shiat. farking Lambrini drinkin farkers."

posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:58 PM on July 16, 2010


70% of households in Britain had internet access in 2009

Correct. This is another way of saying 8 million households don't have access.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:19 PM on July 16, 2010


Not apologising for the state of mental health services in this country, but I wanted to give a bit of perspective on why that referral might not have been made by Newcastle social services.

My understanding is that he was under assessment by a child and families team, to determine his fitness as a father. A mental health or substance abuse team referral is the first thing that many parents in this situation will request. Some are sincere, and others are just saying whatever they think the social worker wants to hear.

They may do things differently in the Toon, but where I work, the assessment period is over 12 weeks, after which a report and final recommendation is made to a court. Contrary to myth, social services teams try as hard as they can to work to keep families or parent/child relationships as intact as possible. If the assessment team thought that Moat was sincere in his request based on the behaviour he showed over the 12-week long programme, or that he could be salvaged as a father in the short term, they would have needed to make the mental health referral as part of their justification to the court as to why Moat would have kept contact with his kids.

If Moat really felt he needed to see a counsellor or a psychiatrist, and he wasn't getting any joy from social services, he could have gone to his GP for a referral as well.

Not saying I know what the team was thinking, or what Moat was like, or if he was sincere in his request. I'd hesitate to use his story as an example of failures in mental health services, though.
posted by Grrlscout at 1:43 AM on July 17, 2010


Must be difficult for news teams, struggling to shed light on this immense planet peppered with stories. Where do you start? You determine which current event is most likely to affect your audience, and place that at the top of your agenda. Then you methodically explain said event, so your viewers or readers retire for the night with a clearer sense of the world, and their place in it.

Unless there's a gunman on the loose. Then you just shout like a wanker.

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:52 AM on July 17, 2010


Utter nonsense - look at the different fates of the largely working class Bangladeshi immigrant communities and those of the mostly middle class Ugandan Asians - confirms everything we already knew about class mobility.

Well seems like you've taken two polar opposites to try and prove your point. I'm sure anyone would agree that if you take a group of poor illiterate people and a group of educated people with a bit of money on average the latter will fare better.

What does that say about mobility? Some poor Bangladeshlis have made sure their kids were educated and they went to uni and got into 'middle class' jobs, some just want to make money to buy a house in Syhlet and have done jack all to help their situation here...and I'm sure there are shades of grey.

Of course the nebulous concept of class comes into it, but I don't feel there's much class prejudice these days...of course if parent's don't have the skills and values it's impossible to impart them to children, but what can you say about that? It's not really a political issue.
posted by Not Supplied at 4:54 AM on July 17, 2010



Similarly, the idea that Raoul Moat's supporters might be a disenfranchised social underclass is belied by the fact that they're on the internet. Using Facebook.

Over 70% of Americans don't hold passports, something which in the UK is seen as evidence of lower social class. Does that mean most Americans are in the underclass? Just as using the internet is clearly a measure of British middle-classness?

There have been schemes in the UK to provide low-income areas with free computers and net access, and thanks to broadband and inclusive TV packages internet is pretty cheap here. My sister is on benefits and has broadband.
posted by mippy at 6:05 AM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


That brooker article is good. this made me laugh loads:

"Moat was so enraged by this kind of coverage, he threatened to kill a member of the public for each inaccurate report he came across, like an extremist wing of the Press Complaints Commission"

And the Gazza phone call is hilarious. Holy cow, he descibes moaty as a nice guy.

The problem is we have this chav underclass who have no prospects at all, and, as mentioned previously, and they despise the police (the filth). whoever said "if you believe that people people who are wilfully stupid and who behave in a way that is destructive to their own prospects and wellbeing..." well, yes, they do. but there is so little social mobility in the UK after thatcher and even more so after blair and brown that it must be totally disillusioning for them. Like pulp said "drink and smoke and screw, cos there's fuck all else to do" and "pretend you never went to school." Anti-intellectualism is a very english thing.
posted by marienbad at 2:31 PM on July 17, 2010


Well seems like you've taken two polar opposites to try and prove your point.
I've taken an example that proves my point to prove my point? What a despicable debating tactic!
But you don't have to take my word on it Not Supplied, there's endless studies showing increasing class polarisation, different health outcomes [PDF] and life expectancy [PDF] and unequal access to education, and so on and so on.
It's not about 'class prejudice', which is indeed a nebulous non-political formulation of the problem, it's about how the accident of your birth affects your whole life chances. In the immediate post war years inequality of opportunity fell in part due to macro-economic factors but also as a result of the social policies of the post-war consensus; since the neo-liberal retrenchment of the 1970s all those gaps have begun to widen again and mobility has declined. Historically (and in evidence from other countries) it's been shown that policy actions can ameliorate such inequalities without recourse to limp Tory-lite exhortations to parenting as the sole determinant - which is not to say parenting doesn't matter, just that making it the central factor is the classic Thatcherite denial of the social and focus on individuals and families. Yet study after study shows structural inequalities which can be addressed, and that's the absolute bread and butter of the political as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Abiezer at 3:10 PM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


i came across this while clicking through various links...

"Recent events in this country, specifically incidents involving the police force and the recent general election, have left a growing sense of dislocation between state and public, especially amongst the lower classes, who feel betrayed by the electoral results and unable to reconcile themselves with a draconian authority that threatens their wages, tax credits, benefits and support structures. Likewise, they are grossly misrepresented by the mass media, who offer unsightly caricatures of a vast number of their viewers purely because the media professionals responsible for them have no experience of their subjects – and neither do they desire such. Programmes like Misfits (2009-Present), Eastenders (1985-Present) or Shameless (2004-Present) are constructed by liberal middle class graduates without sufficient research into the poorly educated and inherently bigoted lifestyles of those they portray. The working class in this country are expected to swallow this scenario without question: in Raoul Moat, they have found someone who wouldn’t."
posted by marienbad at 3:15 PM on July 17, 2010


well said Abiezer. even the bbc wrote about the life expectancy issue.

What is the stat, 10% of the population own 90% of the wealth? And they want to keep it that way. Dumbing down? well you don't want too many clever peasants running about questioning your authority, they should be bin men and shop workers, factory and warehouse workers. There was a bit in the Excellent Empire of the Sea, where, in Victorian times, an admiral exposed the lie that the navy was a meritocracy to the times, and a woman wrote back saying that "those jobs are for our boys," not for us oiks. There is still this attitude today - look at radio 4, it is full of plummy toffs. The poor don't get a look in.
posted by marienbad at 3:31 PM on July 17, 2010


There is still this attitude today - look at radio 4, it is full of plummy toffs. The poor don't get a look in.
Had to chuckle when this Oxbridge-educated journo was shocked to discover that Oxbridge-educate people dominate the media; but it's OK, Jeremy Paxman explains: "God, this is a boring subject, isn't it? Surely the reason is perfectly obvious. Oxford and Cambridge are the finest universities in Europe and two of the best universities in the world." Must be that excellent education he's had allows him to see through all the social factors :D
posted by Abiezer at 3:43 PM on July 17, 2010


And just to pile it on as I had the link in the same place as the others:
In a remarkable portrait of childhood in Britain, academics have exposed a society in which inequalities are entrenched and social mobility is a myth. Millions of bright children face 'multiple deprivation' in adulthood simply because of the circumstances of their birth.
posted by Abiezer at 3:46 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well seems like you've taken two polar opposites to try and prove your point.

I've taken an example that proves my point to prove my point? What a despicable debating tactic!


Eh? I'm not trying to fight dirty mate...I just don't see any new information in there. You're saying well off educated Asians do better than poor uneducated Asians...well of course, but it doesn't prove there's no mobility for those that are capable of it (which is not to say people are necessarily at fault if they can't)

How long have any Asians been part of the British class system anyway?

It seems like the whole thing is a big reframe...if you define 'class' as now being all about who starts out with more money, then naturally enough people who start out with more momentum are statistically likely to keep doing better, have better health etc. No shit Sherlock!

That's not the same as the old stratified British class system.

Are these what you mean by structural inequalities:
different health outcomes [PDF] and life expectancy [PDF] and unequal access to education

They can be seen in a different way...people don't know how to take care of themselves, and no school is going to be great if it's full of kids who are brought up with no values. How exactly can you change that politically?

I believe historical policy actions worked because the traditional working class gained access to healthcare, university education equal rights etc and a lot of mobility happened for some people...but things have been different for years there was a whole load of opportunity before the recession, and I really don't see how you can make the horse drink if it's just ignoring the water.

I'm not saying do nothing IMO the intervention can only come by offering education and hoping people will take it which is a slow process.

If not can you say what you do mean by structural inequalities and how they could be addressed.
posted by Not Supplied at 4:04 PM on July 17, 2010


look at radio 4, it is full of plummy toffs. The poor don't get a look in

That's just ridiculous...Radio 4 has programming values that happen to coincide more with the traditional middle class, which is more defined in people of their age range.

If something comes up by someone working class or black or whatever that fits in they bloody broadcast it.

What is being on radio 4 a human right now, shall we give chav's their own weekly slot?
posted by Not Supplied at 4:12 PM on July 17, 2010


How long have any Asians been part of the British class system anyway?
The subject arose because it was suggested that the experience of South Asian immigrants went counter to the pattern of class inequalities in Britain; my contention is that in fact the class background of Asian immigrants substantially affected their own and their families' life chances after they got here (the point at which they became part of nexuses of class) - you seem to accept all that's true but don't think it's class. Here's the actual re-frame - "naturally enough people who start out with more momentum are statistically likely to keep doing better" - but that's not class? Even if you substitute another term to describe that 'natural' phenomenon you're describing social class in action - that groups of people by and large (they'll always be a few exceptions) have broadly similar experiences and opportunities in life because of their background. It's not the same as other points in history because society is dynamic - mass immigration from Ireland in the 19th century changed the social make-up of the working class but can't think of anyone remotely serious who puts those immigrants outside 'the old stratified British class system'.

They can be seen in a different way...people don't know how to take care of themselves, and no school is going to be great if it's full of kids who are brought up with no values. How exactly can you change that politically?
The problem can indeed be viewed in different ways, and that's what makes it political. You seem to be saying that broad social phenomenon are merely the agglomeration of many individual actions - you are Margaret Thatcher and I claim my five pound dole money!
How exactly you can change life outcomes through social policy has been the content of debate for decades - it's no coincidence in my view that when that Thatcherite view of the atomised individual came to the fore we saw an end of the gains in equal opportunity in the post-war decades and increasing polarisation. Without setting out my ten point programme to further what's already a derail, I expect you'd at least concede that it's entirely within the realms of political debate.
posted by Abiezer at 4:44 PM on July 17, 2010


OK I concede that how to improve anyone's chances is open for political debate in the same way that politicians discuss any policy issue, but I really don't think it has anything to do with traditional ideas of class or left right politics...and without wishing to offend you, it seems like the fact that you see my view as a Thatcherite seems like you're seeing things through an old prism.
posted by Not Supplied at 4:55 PM on July 17, 2010


No, it doesn't offend me, it's what argument's all about - but I do contend that the denial of class is intensely ideological, that it came to the fore during Thatcher's time as part of the neo-liberal agenda and that whatever your own position on some putative left-right spectrum if you buy into that ideological view you're helping support that agenda whether you think you are or not.
posted by Abiezer at 5:12 PM on July 17, 2010


"but I really don't think it has anything to do with traditional ideas of class"

Really? You think a poor kid of any colour from say Moss Side or Toxteth has the same chances in life as Princes William and Henry?

"look at radio 4, it is full of plummy toffs. The poor don't get a look in

That's just ridiculous...Radio 4 has programming values that happen to coincide more with the traditional middle class, which is more defined in people of their age range."

Radio 4 is very left wing and liberal in its outlook, and for this, you have to applaud it, but it is still staffed virtually exclusively by toffs, oxbridge educated toffs.

"What is being on radio 4 a human right now, shall we give chav's their own weekly slot?"

You are being ridiculous. I am not saying r4 should have a chav hour. I am saying that people from lower class backgrounds do not get any chance of working on radion 4, even as, say, a sound engineer.
posted by marienbad at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2010


Really? You think a poor kid of any colour from say Moss Side or Toxteth has the same chances in life as Princes William and Henry?

No, I just think it's bad reasoning to look statistcally at how well people do in life and see a families class as a 'cause', when by the definitions people seem to be using it could just as easily be seen as an 'effect' of their choices.

The aristocracy are a vestige of a bad old system, I'd happily get rid of them apart from tourist revenue. However for the vast majority of people 'upper middle class' wealth and status is possible. I'm not crying because I'll never be a Prince or Earl.

Yeh, a lot of people won't get there. I won't because it's not my priority in life. But unless you believe in commie style redistribution of wealth what you gonna do? Offer opportunities to disadvantaged people by all means, but the opportunities have been there, still are even.

I notice you're quite happily mixing definitions of class on the one hand you're talking about poor people on the other hand you're talking about 'oxbridge educated toffs' which is a 'class label' To me this is quite telling, as it shows the seams cracking in the simplistic idea it feels like you're trying to push.
posted by Not Supplied at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2010


No working class people work at Radio 4? Have you checked?

In any case, how many 'Toffs' work at a grime rave in Tottenham?

You're saying they 'don't get a chance' but I question whether that's true. People network and end up with the same kind of people, but you seem to see that as exclusively class prejudice.

I went to a non-toff college where a lot of people got into Oxbridge. No doubt they had a chance to work for radio 4 if they had wanted. They had the right kind of parents, natch.
posted by Not Supplied at 12:53 PM on July 19, 2010


"However for the vast majority of people 'upper middle class' wealth and status is possible"

Social mobility is at its lowest levels ever and you say that? wow. read Abeziers link about this, which shows just how misguided you are.

Did you read the other link in Abeziers comment mate?

so the poor are getting the top jobs now are they? They work at high levels in the arts, media, military, PR, law, government, Journalism, the city, as CEO's? They have fantastic lives where the opportunities are boundless? They don't have to worry about social deprivation, poverty, crummy schools; living on estates full of yobs and drug dealers gives them the same advantages as the wealthy?

Don't make me laugh. Off to watch a footy programme now as this is too much. Yeah, i like football, even though there has been a concerted effort to remove the working classes from this too.
posted by marienbad at 1:24 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, I just think it's bad reasoning to look statistcally at how well people do in life and see a families class as a 'cause', when by the definitions people seem to be using it could just as easily be seen as an 'effect' of their choices.
The magical thinking of the liberal utopians. Facts and figures mean nothing when they show patterns that refute the notion of the atomised free individual unencumbered by history frolicking amidst the panoply of opportunities, opportunities that by some strange coincidence children of the poor 'choose' to spurn at vastly higher rates than those of the already connected and wealthy. There is no such thing as society.
posted by Abiezer at 2:19 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Abiezer, will you stop calling me these dirty names! Maybe what I'm saying is something like these groups, but I've never subscribed to them so its hard to know what you're getting at.

I didn't say the facts and figures mean nothing. IMO it's a complex cycle of cause and effect, but by your definition of 'class', saying that 'class' causes people to have worse lives is not any more true than saying that their 'class' is caused by what they do.

You're saying I'm denying class, but it seems to me that by defining class by things like income bracket or geographical area you are doing just that.

The concept has certainly always used to mean more than that, incorporating ideas about values, education, 'station in life' and prejudices against other classes. A rich builder who moves to essex would probably say he was 'working class' whereas a single parent teacher living in a flat could well be seen as 'middle class'. Of course it's very complicated these days.

In any case, the core of what you're saying seems to be that there's a trend where less people from lower income brackets are moving to higher income brackets or improving their lifestyle.

I don't deny the facts and figures - they might show that this is the case, but there are probably multiple reasons why. What do you think the reasons are?

What can increase mobility apart from changing people's values?

Without giving your ten point plan, I'd be interested to know what you think a solution is to increase mobility.



so the poor are getting the top jobs now are they? They work at high levels in the arts, media, military, PR, law, government, Journalism, the city, as CEO's? They have fantastic lives where the opportunities are boundless? They don't have to worry about social deprivation, poverty, crummy schools; living on estates full of yobs and drug dealers gives them the same advantages as the wealthy?


This is simply hyperbole marienbad, so I'm not gonna answer it. It should be obvious that's not what I'm saying.
posted by Not Supplied at 3:01 PM on July 19, 2010


Abiezer, will you stop calling me these dirty names!
Light-hearted dig for rhetorical effect, I assure you. Though I do think that there's a pernicious ideology lurking behind the view that it's all about choice sans socio-historical context or indeed largely a question of personal values. David Harvey sets it out well in his Brief History of Neoliberalism, which to my mind also answers your:
I don't deny the facts and figures - they might show that this is the case, but there are probably multiple reasons why. What do you think the reasons are?
As you say, like all things involving vast numbers of people there are complexities, but the shift in social outcomes coincides with the political turn of the late 1970s that has come to be called neoliberalism, and if you plough through works like Harvey's the reasons become fairly clear. In part you begin to see those post-war decades as the anomaly - my sense is that the shock of the two murderous world wars and the kind of social mobilisation necessary to fight them spurred a popular resolve to have the state do something for us all (since we were expected to do things for it such as die when push came to shove) rather than merely 'manage the affairs of the bourgeoisie'. After about thirty years of that the push-back came, and combined with generational shifts and a clever (also sincere in part) co-option of the discourse of personal liberty of the '60s found some popular purchase.
Without giving your ten point plan, I'd be interested to know what you think a solution is to increase mobility.
Well, I think even social mobility is a very limited goal if it leaves political economic arrangements as they are; setting that aside there are reformist policy choices that tend to level the playing field and various well-meaning think tanks produce them, such as this from the Sutton Trust [PDF].
posted by Abiezer at 3:33 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks. Well it's hard to take it further without going into detail, and I admit I'm out of my depth if it comes to political history etc.

All I can say is that it just feels to me that from 1990-2009 opportunities were there for the taking, and that some people weren't going to take them, and without wanting to shut down anyone else's views, my own life experience is in these income and geographical brackets, as much as that is true in London. I haven't taken half of what was on offer myself, but I put that on my own issues not 'class'.

I haven't read the whole report (I will read the docs you've posted) but it's interesting that it's all about education, which is inevitably changing people's values.
posted by Not Supplied at 4:00 PM on July 19, 2010


Ah, that was just an example of potential reforms I happened to have been reading (and I wouldn't claim to be an expert on education nor a supporter of their particular recommendations) - I wouldn't want you to go away with the impression that it's all about education in isolation. Even there, it's not so much about 'values' as access to the paths into the elite that education provides.
The crack about liberal utopianism was aimed at this view that despite observable patterns across decades showing that things happen to people as groups, it's supposedly just a matter of individual choices. Of course, if you take any life in isolation there'll be a whole complex of factors at play and explanations based on 'class' alone seem reductionist; but at a distance and in the long view it's there plainly enough for those who care to see.
posted by Abiezer at 4:21 PM on July 19, 2010


This conversation needs more real ale. Until then I disgracefully withdraw myself.
posted by Not Supplied at 4:53 PM on July 19, 2010


Really? You think a poor kid of any colour from say Moss Side or Toxteth has the same chances in life as Princes William and Henry?

Ironically, like Princes William and Harry, a poor kid has very little say over their path in life.
posted by atrazine at 8:28 PM on July 19, 2010


"my sense is that the shock of the two murderous world wars and the kind of social mobilisation necessary to fight them spurred a popular resolve to have the state do something for us all (since we were expected to do things for it such as die when push came to shove) rather than merely 'manage the affairs of the bourgeoisie'"

Hurrah. I argued exactly this with someone recently, when they were banging on about how much the labour party has done for the poor. He got very angry as just didn't know what to say. I then asked him about Labours role in the AIOC affair and he didn't know what i was talking about so we left it.

Labour - shitting on the poor since...

"This is simply hyperbole marienbad, so I'm not gonna answer it. It should be obvious that's not what I'm saying."

If there is so much social mobility (which you say there is) and opportunity for the poor (which you say there is) then these jobs should be available to them, which, clearly they are not. hardly hyperbole. or basic cosine ;)

anyway, gotta go - have this and smile
posted by marienbad at 2:22 AM on July 20, 2010


"I'm just waiting for the football chants...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:49 PM on July 16 "

They have started Already

Toon Sing about Moaty and Bird
posted by marienbad at 4:32 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Raoul Moat GTA story makes Daily Star look like idiots
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:32 PM on July 21, 2010


« Older iPhone 4's reception woes, wherein bridging the ar...  |  Although the Stupak amendment ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments