Champagne Socialism

Updated on June 8, 2018

One of the most insufferable aspects of the modern liberal class is the enduring double standard of classism within their ranks. I especially recall a tirade in support of immigration on a weekly political panel show in the UK, Question Time, by writer and food critic, Jay Rayner. Voicing his support for the EU's open door, freedom of movement throughout the Schengen Area (the abolition of border and passport control), Rayner railed against British workers. Rayner, the son of middle-class teachers and raised in the affluent London area of Harrow, said Polish workers: "turn up on time, do a better job and leave on time (video below)."

Rayner's derision is emblematic of two things, liberal guilt at their success (which they can use less affluent countrymen as scapegoats for) but chiefly, plain old hypocrisy. Another example of this hypocrisy is British celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver (net worth: £240 million), the son of wealthy parents who ran a successful village pub, further derided the common man - whose image he likes to "appropriate" with a cheeky Essex chap affectation - by claiming Eastern European workers do a better job than British ones. Oliver asserted that his restaurants couldn't function without non-EU migrants, saying:

"Older people always complain about youth and I think it’s a good thing because it is always changing. The young will be better at different things. But long hours in hot kitchens is not one of them. I have never seen anything so wet behind the ears [as British kids] I have mummies phoning up for 23-year-olds saying to me, ‘My son is too tired’."

What compels such disgust of the native workforce? Money. British workers are not lazy, they know their rights too well. They refuse to work 12 hours a day, six days a week for a pittance, virtually no breaks, sick pay or holiday. British workers are wise enough to know they deserve a competitive wage, holiday/sick pay, pension schemes, a chance of promotion and so on. Eastern European workers, mostly having grown up under the shadow of the Iron Curtain, are ignorant to a lot of these perks and even so, the lousy wages they earn are preferable to what they are paid back home. So wealthy individuals like Jay Rayner and Jamie Oliver use this defence to justify exploiting migrant workers (2014 article on the subject). Such a philosophy, or "I'm Alright, Jack," mentality is the bane of how the wealthy are contemptuous of the serfs beneath them. A philosophy Americans saw recently embodied by Hillary Clinton - daughter of a successful textile business owner - during the Presidential election campaign last year referred to half of Trump supporters as a "Basket of Deplorables." Hillary's sentiment was taken up - at least indirectly - by much of the obsequious Hollywood elite, a collective whose vast wealth the majority of Trump voters could never hope of earning.

Back in the UK, the kind of waxing lyrical about how dreadfully racist the working class are for being a little protectionist is something the left elite are well-versed in. Take Shami Chakrabarti, once head of charity Liberty and now a Labour peer in the UK's House of Lords, said at last year's Labour Party conference to her fellow party members: “Please don’t go. Don’t leave me here, don’t leave me locked in a room with Essex man.” Shami Chakrabarti is the Chancellor of the University of Essex, no less and Essex has plenty of poor people, something she should be opposing - affording to send her son to a £18,000 a year private school as she can. This kind of contradiction reeks of the left pulling up the ladder behind them, shouting down: "don't do as I do, do as I say." Labour's leader, Jeremy Corbyn, also disagreed with the UK government's plans to reintroduce Grammar Schools, like Chakrabarti did - where clever children would pass an exam at 11, allowing them to access a higher tier of education, something Corbyn, from a wealthy background himself benefited from.

Owen Jones, a darling of the left and champion of the poor, also denounces Grammar Schools as being antithetical to social mobility. Although as the son of a civil servant and university lecturer that studied at Oxford, he has the luxury to not think they are a good idea. The Tories are choked with highly educated Oxford and Cambridge graduates, but at least they're honest about their heritage. Labour is still packed full of people sharing the Tories backgrounds, yet affect an air of caring about the poor of their nation, while intimating (or outright stating) that those poor being worried about getting undercut by migrants - thus losing their jobs - is racist. Employers will always seek to maximise profits and minimise outlay and with 54% of journalists and nearly one-half of the government's Cabinet being privately educated, it's against the wealthy's interests to encourage social mobility, left or right. There is no chance of Jay Rayner or Jamie Oliver being supplanted by the Eastern European migrants they favour so much, which is they favour them: "migrant workers are so much better than British ones... just as long as I make sure they don't take my cushy job!"

Questions & Answers


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      • Ken Burgess profile image

        Ken Burgess 

        15 months ago from Florida

        Great article, stands on solid ground. Nothing worse than the elites, like Mark Zuckerberg, who have armed security and live in walled compounds preaching to us while they do whatever they please, wherever they please, and disregard any law they want to.


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