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Class, caravans and Maddie.

Class is apparently a thing of the past in the UK. The Tories say it’s about what you earn, not where you were born, and the fact they were all born with a full service of silver spoons is pure coincidence. Labour seem to believe their own hype, that they are the party of middle class guardianstas, as the working class is not either chavs or feckless scroungers. We are, they both say, no longer the class ridden society of the past. Anyone can be anything they want to be, with blood sweat and a shiny blairite smile.

They have all clearly never been on a caravan holiday. With the credit crunch and “staycations”, what the working classes call holidays, caravan sites have seen a new market, and been quick to exploit it. They were faced with a dilemma though, the experience was targeted at one demographic, how to appeal to a new, wealthier one. It’s not just having Jamie Oliver approved children’s menus and nature walks.

The very arrangement of the parks would tell everything a visiting alien needed to know about the British class system. Nearest the complex, with its two penny machines and live shows are the cheapest caravans, packed tight like the houses on council estates. More expensive caravans are on cul de sacs, with planted flowerbeds and space between them so you don’t have to see the neighbours, far away from the center where the entertainment comes accompanied by alcohol and demands for glittery deelyboppers.

This is not about income, no matter how much it might appear so at first glance, but about perceptions and judgements of acceptable behaviour and parenting. Earlier this week when the junior anti sex league were praising Cameron and the Daily Mail for their promotion of censorship various people pointed out net nanny exists. The End Violence Against Women Coalition, a collection of do gooders, sex work haters and ladies who clutch pearls, tweeted out that some households were too “chaotic” and in others children are abused.

It is clear who they would look at as chaotic on our caravan site of class. The mums pushing their toddler in the pushchair to the evening entertainment. The toddler sleeping as parents drank and watched the show. The 10 yr old proudly wearing make up and trying to work out what mum and dad were laughing at. Not good parenting is it? Surely the sort of people who wouldn’t bother to get net nanny. There are of course two words in answer

Madeline McCann.

No sleeping in the push chair while mum downed wkds for her and her siblings, like good middle class children they were tucked up in bed. While her parents drank red wine and ate tapas. Nothing chaotic there, I am sure they would have net nanny and google safe search on. The fact they were middle class and respectable is probably why they were never charged with child abandonment. Imagine a single mum on an estate leaving her kids in similar circumstances, she would have had to fight tooth and nail to get the twins back.

This isn’t a blog about the McCanns, or really about different forms of parenting. It is about the fact, those with power, the power to determine who is and isn’t a good parent will always belong to the same elite and use the same benchmarks. Every sex worker parent know she or he may lose their kids just by trying to provide for them, but the white middle class, university educated ones know they will more likely win a fight than WoC or working class women. Not because they are better parents but because the gatekeepers will approve of them.

This is a mindset that says abuse doesn’t happen in nice homes, that is no further advanced than the danger stranger campaigns of the 70s. This is a mindset that wants porn blocks for those who need the state to protect their kids, because of course they couldn’t possibly be doing it already themselves. This is the mindset that sees leaving your kids locked in a room while you get drunk as a tragedy, but taking them with you as bad parenting.

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .

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