Working Class Hero Is Something to Be; Two Thirds of the British Adult Population Now Claim to Feel `Working Class and Proud of It' - a Figure That Has Risen Considerably in the Last Three Years. So What Is the Big Attraction? Lesley Richardson Reports
Byline: Lesley Richardson
THE working class hero has captured the heart of Britain with many people opting to follow the lead of honest hard labour, a strong sense of community and down-to-earth attitudes. According to a new Mori poll twothirds of the British population claim to feel ``working class and proud of it'' - a figure that has risen considerably in the past three years. Oddly enough as more people claim to feel working class the number of people who fall into category is falling in Britain.
In fact 55pc of those who claim to have working class values actually fall into the middle class bracket.
Cherie Blair and the Gallagher brothers illustrate rising wealth while still proud of their working class upbringing. Cherie Blair comes from a working class background in Liverpool while the Gallagher brothers hail from Manchester and both men wear their class past like designer labels.
In the Welsh Assembly, AM Ron Davies has accused First Minister Rhodri Morgan of using a scruffy image and working class mannerisms as a facade to hide his middle class upbringing.
Simon Atkinson, research director at Mori, says he's not surprised that so many people identify with the working class. ``A lot of people are proud in how far they have come because they haven't had all the privileges that money brings. The working class have a strong community spirit and work very hard to get where they are.''
Achieving success through honest, hard labour gives the self-made man or woman a sense of pride and integrity.
As Dr Richard Stevens, senior psychology lecturer at the Open University, explains: ``There's a basic honesty and decency associated with the working class. They don't put on airs and graces and aren't trying to be something they're not.''
He likens the mentality to having a strong work ethos and a straight forward approach to getting on with the task at hand. Many perceive power as corrupting which adds to the sense of integrity associated with the lower and less influential classes.
Dr Halla Beloff, social psychologist, agrees: ``Being working class has a romantic air about it because it somehow seems more honest or genuine. There is a certain dignity attached to it because it doesn't have the same connotations of back-scratching and nepotism that go with the upper classes.''
Anyone opting for a working class identity can also tap into a sense of solidarity dating back to the days of gossiping with neighbours over the terraced house fences. Living in such close proximity gave the working class a powerful community spirit that many look back at through rose tinted glasses. …