Saturday, October 20, 2007

Guardian Fails To Turn Britain Middle Class

In a front-page story today, the Guardian newspaper admitted it has failed in its attempt to turn Britain middle-class.

A poll commissioned by the paper revealed that "of people born to working class parents, 77% say they are working class too. Only one fifth say they have become middle class."

The survey points to extensive failures across the board at the Guardian, including those of high-profile education initiatives aimed at persuading oiks to eschew McDonalds for wood pigeon roasted in truffle oil, cultural policies including the promotion of Hot Chip and TV On The Radio as healthy alternatives to 50 Cent and Rihanna, and efforts to persuade readers that driving to the nearest Sainsbury's to buy a designer canvas bag is better for the environment than nipping out to Costcutter for 20 Superkings and a copy of Closer.

"I just don't understand it," said Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. "We even made the paper smaller so that proles could read it more easily. And this is the thanks we get. Honestly, to look at these survey results, you'd think some people were actually proud to be working class."

Unbowed by his lack of success, Rusbridger cheerfully announced a new initiative: to bring a little bit of Islington to a small village in Uganda. "It's amazing when you think about it, but some people in Uganda have never even heard of Carluccio's," Rusbridger said. "We asked one lady what one thing would make her life easier, and she simply said 'more time to talk to my friends'. We can do better than that - we're going to fly in copies of Observer Woman every month so the women of Katine can fully understand what they're missing out on by not participating in 21st century society."

"Thanks to our amazing experiment, pretty soon every woman in Uganda will be queuing up for Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream and high-waisted pencil skirts," he added. "These people need never be unhappy again."


Lettuce Hater said...

love it love it love it!!!!!!!!!!!

you've quite suceeded in distracting me from my pathetic mope about the poor decor choices we've just made (and seen instituted) in our bathroom

(yep, i am one of the grauniad's few successes - middle class through and through and through with my painted clapboard and slate floor tiles...)

Tim Footman said...

Don't be so harsh on Rusbridger. He defeated Voldemort and married Hermione after all.

Were there figures for the offspring of middle-class parents, who now consider themselves to be proles?

rivergirlie said...

i just threw out a tube of dr hauschka rose day cream this very day because it has a texture like lard. does this make me working class?

cello said...

No, no. he married Ginny.

I won't hear a word against AR. He plays Beethoven piano sonatas before breakfast which makes him a god.

And am I the only person who thinks that it would be great if everyone were to be just a bit more middle-class?

Welcome back. When's the move?

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Absolutely spot on, P :) And perfect title - as soon as I saw it every single thing that's annoyed me in the Guardian over the last year or two suddenly made sense.

Paul Rayson said...

Parody newspaper posts are the way forwards!

patroclus said...

I like the Guardian, of course, but it did seem to me yesterday as though it had completely taken leave of its senses. Why on earth should people who consider themselves working class aspire to be middle class? And why did Alan Rusbridger call the paper's Katine project an 'experiment'? That's not a nice word to use when you're talking about making fundamental changes to other people's lives. Two examples of the worst kind of that 'we're middle class so we know what's good for you' attitude right there on the front page. Ugh.

Tinsie said...

This is *by far* the funniest thing I've read this morning - and I've read a lot! Great stuff.

Betty said...

Presumably Katine is going to feature in the Weekend's "Let's Move To" section soon. Only by moving Our Sort Of People out there to set an example will there be any hope of dragging the locals out of their medieval cesspit, or whatever they called it in yesterday's paper.

(Obviously, when I say "Our Sort Of People" I don't mean "My Sort Of People", who would no doubt cause everyone else to move out and local property values to plummet.)

Sarah said...

I love the Guardian but find it a bit weird. On the one hand, a strong social stance. On the other, adverts for weird, middle class, unnecessary items; promoting international travel; suggesting good places to invest abroad - it just doesn't seem to practice what it preaches.

And this village idea is really weird - I think the Guardian is in way out of its depth. Say they do manage to 'improve' Katine, or develop it somehow. How, over the long term, are they going to stop the cattle raiders* coming and stealing it all? How is it going to help to create a little pocket of higher wealth in a deprived area?

*I lived in northern uganda for a little bit and it really isn't unusual for men with guns to steal cattle. They do get shot if they get caught, as cattle are so pivotal to the life of communities. I really don't know how the Guardian are going to deal with these big cross-cultual issues.

james henry said...

Ah, I can answer that: the Guardian is hiring a elite team of left-leaning middle-class mercenaries, capable of field-stripping an AK47 whilst discussing whether The Rachel Papers was actually the best thing Martin Amis has ever written (yes), and how best to compost grapefruit rinds (cut them up small apparently).

They also pull an 'eek, sorry' face whilst slitting enemy throats from behind.

patroclus said...

Tinsie: Thank you.

Betty: They'll have to set up a decent independent school first. Actually I think that's part of the plan.

Sarah: Yes, that's exactly it. It's all very well intentioned but it does seem a bit misguided. You can't lift one village 'into the 21st century' in isolation, as an 'experiment'. That's the kind of thing that goes on in science fiction, and not usually with pleasant results.

James: And constructing cannons that fire pecorino-stuffed butternut squash and Ligurian dwarf pumpkins. Just like in The A Team.

Spinsterella said...


AND - Peaches Fucking Geldolf all over the mag AGAIN!

Billy said...

I wish the Guardian would make me more middle-class. I like avocadoes and Radio 4 but that's as far as I go.

Del said...

Ah, but the Guardian isn't the paper of the aspirational middle class. That's the Mail. The Guardian's for those who feel guilty for being Middle Class, not for people who want to be.

No wonder they failed, the fools.

patroclus said...

Haha, yes, the Guardian is the paper for me - I have middle-class guilt up to here. In fact I felt so abjectly guilty for writing this post that I immediately went and signed up to two causes that I've been meaning to sign up to for ages.

Malc said...

The Guardian sport section is excellent - the rest finds it's way into the recycling box pretty quickly.

I was born solidly middle class (parents were both teachers), but I now spend my time working with my hands, filthy most of the day for little or no financial reward.

Think that just proves that the upper-middle-working class is hopelessly out-of-date.