I am British. You are quite correct there is a rigid class system in Great Britain. For example ( one of many) officers in the British army all come from upper class backgrounds. There is no exception to this rule. A lower class soldier will NEVER rise to become an officer, that is only seen in the movies! All officers in the British army come from Sandhurst training school and not through the ranks. The British army also swears its allegiance not to the country or the British people but to the Monarch and the Monarch alone. This oath of allegiance is also the same for the British police force.
The highest levels of the British civil service are also dominated by class. There is no possibility that a lower class person could ever rise to the position of permanent secretary to a government minister. Indeed, the office of Prime minister itself is exclusively reserved for those who have attended either Oxford or Cambridge university. The Prime minister must also be of the Protestant faith and no other!
The Monarch is not allowed to marry a non protestant. There is a house of Lords that sits in equal control of Parliament. Note it is a house of LORDS which means you cannot belong to it unless you are a member of the aristocracy. It is an unelected chamber made up of hereditary lordships and politically appointed lordships.
In the fields of high finance, the premium jobs in the British financial centre ( the city or 'square mile') are dominated once again by those who have attended Oxford or Cambridge university. So there you have it...captains of industry, military leaders, high civil servants and Lords, Barons, etc hold all the influential and wealthy positions in British society.
I also need to mention that in the legal system of Great Britain, the Law lords ( the highest judges in the land) are appointed for life and cannot be removed. Guess which universities they all went to?
The middle classes desperately attempt to associate themselves wit the upper class and are known as 'aspirants' It is the middle classes that fuel the economy of Great Britain by spending their money on extravagant displays of wealth to differentiate themselves from the lower working classes.
The lower working classes are known called 'chavs' in Great Britain and are the victims of much abuse from the middle classes. This is becoming very similar to the attitude towards the untouchables in India. So in short...Great Britain is in a stranglehold of class oppression and has been for the last thousand years.
You don't have to be a protestant to be prime minister in uk-ever heard of tony blair
In 1990 I moved to Japan from the USA and that first year there I had 4 British roommates who were from the lower end of the class spectrum. I also had a friend there who was from the upper middle class. At the time I had no idea that a class system existed there but it was very obvious that this friend spoke and behaved much differently than my roommates. For example he would often say “yes, well”, something my roommates would never say. Anyway when I told my roommates about my friend they asked what he did for a living and when I told them he was a banker one of them said “bankers equals wankers”. That same week I invited my friend to a big party we were having at the house during which my roommates completely avoided any contact with him and he did the same to them. They just pretended the other did not exist. I thought it was kind of silly seeing grown adults behave this way but I guess that’s just the way it is over there. Trying to mix the classes socially is like trying to mix oil and water. Of course there are some who will say we have a class system in the USA as well but this is simply not true. You can be born in the gutter here and still become one of the richest men in the world or even president. Of course there are certain groups of rich people (from old money) who attempt to separate themselves into exclusive cliques that consider themselves above the “commoners” but this is an artificial world of there own making and not ingrained into society as a whole. There are also those that will say, for example, that you have to be Jewish to hold positions of power in certain industries but again, a small group attempting to dominate an industry and be exclusionary does not equal a class system. As I said a class system is engrained into society as a whole and is all encompassing. Neither can local prejudice constitute a class system. In Thailand for example people of Chinese-Thai ancestry, and light skinned Thais in general are in many ways looked upon as a sort of upper class while the dark skinned Issans are looked down upon to a certain extent. In fact I had a girlfriend once who was from a town about an hour outside of Chang Mai but she always told everyone she was from Chang Mai proper because, next to Bangkok, this is the next most desirable place to have you family ancestry be from. Like most Thais she was also obsessed with avoiding a sun tan and losing her white skin color. Although she had all the classic features of the Chinese-Thai she still worried about what people thought. Still this is not a true class system as in England, its just local prejudice similar to the racial disparity between blacks and whites that existed 40 years ago in the USA. By the way can anyone verify what the author said about the fact that the Prime Minister MUST have been educated at Oxford or Cambridge. I remember in the British TV show “Yes Minister” that the Prime Minister attended The LSE and the staff would sometimes give him grief about this. I realize it’s a fictional show and purely satirical but why would a show which is trying to highlight the ridiculous aspect of British politics portray the Prime Minister as having attended The LSE if in fact this would make him ineligible to hold the office?
Sorry if this is years late but NOpk4 is absolutely right.
As a British working-class lad (my dad is a taxi-driver and my mum is a low-ranking hospital secretary) I know all about our class system.
Whilst it may not be a strict as the Indian caste system (in which members of different castes may not speak or meet each other) our class system is strict.
Unlike the American system it is based on your ancestry, if your parents are working-class then you are too. Even if you are a millionaire.
The working-class are the lowest class in the system and are therefore the most inferior class in the country (though we are proud of our working-class heritage) and may not become an Officer (instead being the ranks who face the most danger, the "rank and file" - the Officers watched the battle from the safe rear) in the Army or hold any top positions in government. Also if your a member of our class you cannot go (or you face extreme boundries) to any of the most prestigous universities (e.g. Oxford). Also we have a "glass ceiling" in many businesses and are not likely to be promoted to the "board".
Also it is generally accepted that you MUST be courteous to the sovereign (after all she is a leading member of the "Ruling class" and is selected by God to rule). And if you ever meet her then you must show your respect by bowing (or crossing one leg if you're a lass). Much of working-class (me included) find meeting the Queen to be an honour (even if only for a few seconds) and if she was to accept your present to her on her birthday for example that would be a great honour and definetly something to tell your friends and family.
The working-class have always been regarded as "inferior" by the higher classes as they usually (I say usually because I haven't and neither have any of my friends) done poorly at school and have got most of the worst jobs (e.g. Binmen) and one of our well-known characteristics is to not save, rather spend our hard-earned money in the working men's club. The more superior classes are also beginning to regard us as "lazy" because of the fact that most of the "under-class" (a new class that appeared during the 1990's) do not work.
I could write for hours about t'working class (sorry, just had to include a bit of my accent in there).
The British class system is very different from the other class systems of the society. Britain's have more rigid class systems than other class systems of the world such as the United States class system. In history in British there were three types of classes. One is upper class which belongs from the families who are rich by birth and their families had enormous wealth and these people do not need much work hard to gain the status and wealth and prestige. The second one is the middle class these people earn their livelihoods by doing job and these people are creative mind and they work hard to get more money and status.
This middle class is then further divided into two sub segments one is upper-middle class and the second is lower-middle class. These people from the upper-middle class belong from the professions of high paid jobs like doctor, engineer, pilots and Architects. The people who belong from the lower-middle class are those, who are doing routine jobs like clerical and data entry. There were discrimination of classes in the British those who were from the rich class have their own schools, parks and restaurants while those people who belong from the poor class does not mingle with the people of upper class.
There still is a repelant class system in this country,I,m from the working class,I grew up on a council estate,and we didnt have a lot of money,but we had a work ethic drummed into us by our parents,work hard they said,and we do...but.....I still get classs snobery,ive been very seccesfull and also failed,sometimes from one to the other,but I still work hard and don't give up,yes I am accademicaly uneducated,ive had to educate myself[doing open university] and yet in the feild I work in there is such a rampant clss snobbery especily from the middle classes,it seems especialy,if your working class and your brighter,more talented,more hard working,more succesfull...they can't take it...and its allmost like they hate you for it...your lower than me ....how can you be better than me?,if you want to talk about being better,ok I'm better than them becouse there ,not very bright,not very talented,mediocure and lazy,there were they are through connections not talent luck determination and damm hard work,listen I don't set out to judge anyone,I don't care who you are if your a good guy ,your a good guy,bt I sureas hell am sick of being judged and haveing obsticals placed in my why purely on the base of class its a real bore,and unfortunately make you judge all white middle class people in the same way as untrustworthy,stupid,lazy,mediocure and very,verysneaky/snyde..its a great shame this terrible boreing class system..judge people on talent not background
I am an American and have heard many a times that the classes in the UK or just the separate English part can be separated by their voices and the jobs described as higher middle are upper in the us and those born rich are commonly referred to as old money higher class
There are so many Fr eddies, Arc hies, Jacks, Finns kicking about this town it is outrageous. And the f......g annoying thing is that their parents think they are being highly original with the choice of name.