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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, March 07, 2008
    Morning in the Streets :: Hideously middle-class

    More on the White theme:

    Thanks Dave [comment, below] for pointing me towards the wonderful film Morning in the Streets from which I've spliced this still image. A documentary by Denis Mitchell portraying a morning in Liverpool, 1959, filmed largely, I think, in the streets of Everton around Roscommon Street School. Most of these streets no longer stand, but they still truly exist in the folk memory of people then the age of this girl who now live in areas like ours and with whom I spend my days. It's a delight and a great insight.

    Thanks Lynsey Hanley for your review of the White season in today's New Statesman - films which demonstrate that their makers are, she says, 'hideously middle-class'. The series sets out to address the invisibility of the white working class but 'working-class lives in Britain are invisible only insofar as they have almost always been invisible to those who comprise the country's power base', she writes. In a piece of writing far better than my stumbling attempt yesterday Hanley challenges the idea that the preeminent problem for the white working class is race. Actually, it continues to be what it always has been: class. Working-class people of all colours and cultures continue to share in an ongoing struggle:
    The innumerable challenges of being working-class in a liberalised economy - never mind the challenges of being working-class full stop - are reduced, in this season, to race and immigration alone, with those (and only those) who are white cast as passive victims of policies they didn't choose.

    But here is the news: deindustrialisation, deregulation, poor pay and prospects, low educational standards, bad or insecure housing, pressured living environments and lack of control disproportionately disadvantage working-class people, whether they are white or not. Not that you would know it from watching any of these programmes.
    Pic from Morning in the Streets, BBC 1959