As I was spending £80 filling the car at the petrol station this morning, just after spending £350 on an MOT and service, I started thinking.
Mobility is one thing that has made the working classes less amenable to control by the ruling elites. If you can jump in your car and go where you like then you are much harder to control than if you are restricted to walking, riding your pedal bike or using public transport. Ideally, I’ll bet the elites would like to see the availability of private motor cars restricted to them. This would not only clear up the congestion caused by “other people’s cars” but would enable the elites to control where people lived, where they went, where they worked, everything.
Now they cannot pass laws saying only people above a certain status can own a car, not in a democratic country like ours. They can however make motoring so expensive that it moves beyond the reach of most of us. People are already changing their behaviour to reduce dependence on cars so maybe we will go back to the good old days were the workers lived within walking distance of their place of employment (assuming they are lucky enough to have employment these days); they shopped at local stores within walking distance of their homes; their children attended local schools and when they went on holiday, they were shipped by coach or train to suitable places for them to enjoy appropriate entertainments. The places off the public transport network were reserved for those people with cars who could afford to travel independently.
As the cost of motoring rises towards levels where ownership of a car becomes the reserve of the well off then mobility of the rest will decrease and so will their life choices and the opportunities of their children. This then affects another area where ordinary people have an opportunity to challenge the elites. Education. Some research has shown that Grammar schools were actually less popular with aspiring middle class families than with the working class families they were supposed to "disadvantage". This is because Grammar Schools selected on ability not family background, how much your father earned, or where you lived. The new system, based on catchment area, meant that families who could afford to move home to a certain area could guarantee their child went to the school of their choice.
In other words, comprehensive education created a market place where you could use your financial muscle to buy your children a place in the school of your choice when ability couldn't get them through the doors! A great triumph for those who despise the elitist nature of Grammar Schools? I wish someone would explain to me how?
Today, many young people faced with the increase in tuition fees are now choosing their university based on location not necessarily the best course for them or their career aspirations. They are studying where they can live at home to save money! If your parents are rich enough then that doesn't matter!
Education leads people to challenge elites. It was increased education that challenged the Christian church. If education had been kept for the few and all church services still conducted in Latin then how would ordinary people ever have challenged the teachings of the church? As ordinary people gained access to better education then they obtained knowledge and qualifications that enable them to challenge the entrenched elites.
This is why the elite so jealously guard access to the Oxbridge Universities; they don’t want the oiks, chavs and spivs going to their university. Should an unsuitable person manage to sneak through the recruitment sieve, in the name of social engineering, then they of course are never permitted access to the inner sanctum of the privileged, private dining and drinking clubs. If this person does manage to use their education to break into the elite then their children are born into it and the second and third generations are absorbed into the ruling group. The Milliband Children for example, Peter Mandelson another. There is less real mobility in the Tories; there it takes more than a couple of generations and a title helps enormously!
So let’s ramp up the costs of motoring until cars once again become the toys of the rich rather than the tools of the rest of us. Return motoring to where it belongs, a privilege of the few. Let's all move back into subsidized housing owned by the factory, the mine, (or the call centre?) where we work. We can shop in the company store, holiday by bus or train in the approved holiday camps and our children can learn their place early in life. It would also have a beneficial effect on crime! If thieves, burglars and muggers were restricted to carrying out crime within walking distance of their homes then think how much nicer it would be if you lived far enough away from them that they couldn’t reach you. Even if they did get out to where you lived, possibly by using the bus provided for your cook, cleaner, gardener, etc, then they would be easy to spot getting the bus back to their own area while carrying your 50-inch plasma TV!
Of course, the trick is to be one of the elite riding past in your car rather than one of the people you swish past who are walking everywhere! I'm going out to buy some stout shoes this afternoon, just in case!