This recent delightful bit of fan mail
Whats the problem? During your next middle class socialist dinner party I am sure the network will look after you. Stop whining and stop trying to give the impression that you and your ilk ever suffer in the same way that real working people have to deal with real unemployment. You are a joke. We, the real working class (not the people who don't want to work) despise you and your type. Just go away we don't want you.
got me thinking. People are still terribly obsessed with class, aren't they? For the record, I don't hold socialist dinner parties. I don't know what socialist dinner parties would be. Would everyone have to collectively make the dinner, or get state-provided meals rationed out for them? Maybe. Who knows? But I think the point my correspondent was making was that I am not allowed to be unemployed, by dint of not being working class; that somehow everything's all right for me, because of class - the spectral 'network' will look after me somehow.
I see this kind of working-class hero self-flagellating bullshit all the time from people supposedly 'on the left' or who aren't. That somehow you can't really understand how things really are unless you were born in a shoebox on the M1 and lived in a fucking Hovis advert for all your life; that if you didn't live in grinding Ken Loach poverty for your entire younger years you must have been gallivanting around on a punt in a straw boater in a cream-coloured blazer like Nigel Havers or someone out of Brideshead Fucking Revisited, or something.
Maybe it's true. Maybe I have no idea what unemployment is like, because I'm not working class. But that kind of arbitrary dividing-up of people isn't spectacularly helpful, I would suspect. I've never claimed to be some kind of class warrior. I've never said I have had anything other than a very pleasant life. I didn't go to private school, but I wasn't being brutally murdered in my beds in a crack den either. You know, I was middle class. And I'm quite happy with that. I don't have to try and pretend to be something that I'm not in order to really be able to understand; I try and use something called empathy. I read things and talk to people, and try and understand things that way. Call me old fashioned. I should be sending abusive messages about other people instead, clearly.
No, I'm not a fucking champagne socialist metropolitan elite who secretly hates the working class. But the obsession with class is what makes everyone less likely to get what they want. If you're looking for authentic class struggle, you won't find it here. But I've never said that it is here. What I have said is that being unemployed is unpleasant and difficult - and it's not easy to pay a mortgage when housing benefit doesn't cover it, but of course YOU WOULDN'T KNOW THAT because you're too busy being working class about it - at least that's what I'd say if I were being as wilfully unpleasant as others are to me. But that would be to miss the point. Guess what? Unemployment is shit, whatever 'class' you think you are. I'm sorry if you feel that people like me are intruding on your monopoly of suffering. But that's just the way it is. White collar workers are being shat on from a great height nowadays, just as much as everyone else. Get used to it, because it's not going away.