60 Second Bulletin: That Class Sketch

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Afternoon,

For many a year, British society could be summed up by watching the classic John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett ‘class sketch’ first aired in 1966.

For those of you too young to remember this (obviously including myself), the sketch features the three comedy icons stood in height order, representing the upper class, middle class and lower class Britain. The late Ronnie Corbett, representing the traditional working man, repeatedly says “I know my place”.

Well the election on 8th June shows that voters don’t necessarily know their place. Whilst Jeremy Corbyn is being hailed as the real winner from the election (another sign of the strange times we live in), it is also true that Mrs May’s disastrous campaign did manage some successes in parking the Tory tanks on Labour’s lawn.

Places like Mansfield, Walsall, Middlesbrough and Stoke-on-Trent punted for the blue rosette for the first time in decades (in some cases, ever). Unfortunately for Labour, northern and midland working class voters appeared to no longer “know their place”.

But of course, neither did a lot of traditional middle class voters, perhaps summed up perfectly by Kensington backing Comrade Corbyn.

Is this a sign that the class system in Britain is dead? Or that it is just being reconfigured? As polling companies have shown for a while that we can actually be divided up into six classes, including “Not working” class.

One of the other lines from the iconic Frost Report sketch is the upper and middle class Cleese and Barker “looking down” on working class Corbett. With Brexit driving a wedge between well-heeled, university educated urban voters and traditional working class communities in “left behind” Britain, it could be that voting Labour is now how the new metropolitan elite “look down” on the Conservative voting hinterland.
Strange times indeed.

Tom

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Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Katy Katani on 0207 399 2288