The Middle Class Vote

The Middle Class Vote

The Middle Class Vote

The Middle Class Vote

Excerpt

Some who read this book may end by doubting whether the middle class exists. Let them be warned. The middle class exists in the public mind. In politics that is what matters.

Since 1945 some hundreds of major references to the problems of the middle class have appeared in newspapers and periodicals and on the radio. The number of passing and incidental references reported in public speeches is much greater. The middle class, its social habits, its alleged political inclination, its hardships and economic interests, are a topic of conversation. Any discussion of the prospects or results of an election leads sooner or later to a consideration of the social class of the electors. In the more specialized atmosphere of the committee rooms, the Labour agent may be heard warning his canvassers: 'Keep away from the villas -- you'll only stir them up.'

A selection from public references to the middle class is used to illustrate this study, and in them the political bearing will become manifest. As we examine these matters, a very large field of inquiry comes into view.

First, what do people mean when they speak about the middle class? Do they mean anything precisely, or is it just a slogan like 'liberty', 'democracy', or 'the constitution' which you may use to great effect without saying just what you mean? There is nothing inherently wrong in using words in this way, especially in politics, but the political scientist may perhaps render a service by trying to make it possible for people to know what they mean, if they so desire. He may also collect and display such evidence as there is concerning the political habits of this middle class, and offer some interpretation of their behaviour.

It is quite common when speaking about the middle class to have in mind some group of individuals, and in political discus-

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