Being a class mongrel

15 Nov, 2018 at 14:05 | Posted in Politics & Society | 3 Comments

bragg We were working class, and you don’t lose that. Later on, I bolted on middle classness but I think the working-class thing hasn’t gone away and it never will go away. Quite a few of my interactions and responses are still the responses I had when I was 18 or 19. And the other things are bolted on and it is a mix. It is what it is, and a lot of people are like that. I’m a class mongrel.

Melvyn Bragg

Most people think of social mobility as something unproblematically​ positive. Sharing much the same experience as the one Bragg describes, it is difficult to share that sentiment. Becoming — basically through educational prowess — part of the powers and classes that for centuries have oppressed and belittled the working classes can be a rather mixed experience. As a rags-to-riches traveller,​ you always find yourself somewhere in between​ the world you are leaving and the world you are entering. Moving up the social ladder does not erase your past. Forgetting that, rest assured there are others that are more than happy to remind you. The social mobility many of us who grew​ up in the 50’s and 60’s experienced, only underscores that the real freedom of the working classes has to transcend the individual. It has to be a collective endeavour, whereby we rise with our class and not out of it.


  1. From a cybernetic point of view, good governance would seem to depend on good understanding, which can only come from experience. It seems to me that in so far as British governance has been not too bad it is because of the influence of mongrels, and that governance by some ‘political class’ isolated from ‘the workers’ is going to be problematic. Arguably, in the UK, there is plenty of evidence to point to that there has been a decline in social mobility or at least in the mongrel contribution to government, and that the Cybernetic view has not been falsified.

  2. I’m homeless class. I could not stand the hypocrisy involved with living in one of the richest areas of the US (I used to jog past Bill Gates’s house). Now I live out of a car. Best is sleeping outside when it’s warm and no people about. The more I learn of nature the more insignificant humans become.

  3. in 20 years of In Our Time broadcasts covering many lesser figures Bragg has never aired a show discussing one of the most important thinkers and men of action Britain has ever produced: John Maynard Keynes.

    And Keynes came from the elites.

    “Mongrel”: a somewhat offensive Milton Fiedman choice of term considering Thatcher’s Tory expressions: “There is no society;” ” There is no alternative;” and that, “Poverty is a personality defect.”

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