'Classless society' a myth

Brown presides over a society riven by class divides
Brown presides over a society riven by class divides

Most British people still feel bound by class, a new poll has revealed today.

A massive majority - 89 per cent - of those surveyed feel their social standing determines the way they are judged by the rest of society, despite ten years of Labour rule.

The Guardian/ICM poll of 1,011 people, published today, found that just eight per cent of UK residents feel class is irrelevant in shaping perceptions.

Though Gordon Brown professed at this year's Labour party conference that "a class-free society is not a slogan but in Britain can become a reality", a startling lack of social change appears to have occurred in the last decade.

While 55 per cent of people surveyed by ICM in 1998 considered themselves working-class, 53 per cent of respondents in the new poll define themselves as part of the same social group.

The same proportion of people - 41 per cent - see themselves as middle-class, while only 2 per cent of those surveyed claimed to be upper-class.

Ninety per cent of 18-24-year-olds believe people are judged by their class, while 57 per cent of residents of northern England believe themselves to be working-class.

Social change is only revealed through generational differences, according to the new poll, with 41 per cent of people considering themselves middle-class, but only 32 per cent claiming their parents were.

Similarly, 69 per cent of people thought their parents were working class in 1998, but only 63 per cent would claim the same today.


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