The English are obsessed with CLASS. Their politics are class based, education is class based, and even employment is class based.
At present the 'lower classes' have (in many areas) the upper hand. We are told that England's top universities, for example, will now give preference to a 'lower class' applicant who has poor exam grades, over an 'upper class' applicant with traditionally good grades.
A 'lower class' person may insult or make disparaging remarks about the 'upper classes', but visa versa is strictly verboten.
TV reality shows/talent shows/soaps are all exclusively 'lower class'. The get-rich-quick notion of celebrity is designed to demonstrate that ANYONE can be famous/rich/a star overnight. No brains brawn or breeding is required!
So how would a foreigner tell these classes apart? Certainly not by wealth, nor by what car one drives, and not even by the cut of one's twenty-first century cloth.
I'm told that one should try to find someone who holds their knife like a pencil, and calls the letter H, haitch and not aitch, and you've probably discovered your 'lower class' citizen. But watch out; the 'upper classes' will soon be imitating him or her 'just for fun'. "Oh Harry, just look how I'm holding my knife; and does one spell Harry with a haitch?" Guffaw, guffaw.
Will aristocracy ever be replaced by meritocracy? I doubt it; not in ye olde England.
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