Which class should I aspire to belong to next year?

`The upper classes aren't interested in governing the country. They're just interested in owning it'

NEW LEAGUE tables have just been published by the Government showing which social class has performed best in the last two years, and giving guidance to those who wish to change class in the near future or just put their children down for a new class. And the surprise is that even under New Labour the upper classes have continued to perform very well.

"The upper classes have got a lot of experience and history behind them, and a gift for cunning and camouflage," the author of the report, Professor Jeremy Thursday, told me in an exclusive interview. "Also, they have got an inherent sense of their own superiority. It's significant, I think, that we talk about the upper classes in the plural, but the working class in the singular."

What's significant about that?

"I don't know. I just have a gut feeling that it is."

So, which classes have performed best in the league table?

"The working class have done very well. So have the middle classes. And the upper classes too. All social classes have shown progress under the government's new class performance incentive scheme."

What does the scheme involve?

"Making everyone feel better even if they're not better off."

Hmm... Isn't it surprising that the upper classes continue to thrive under a Labour government?

"Well, that might be so if we actually had a Labour government. What we've got is a New Labour government which is dedicated to keeping the Tories in opposition for the foreseeable future by stealing Tory policies and operating as a crypto-Tory government."

Phew! Isn't that a bit satirical, a bit sort of alternative comedy, coming from a professor of sociology?

"Yes, it is, and one interesting thing that comes out of this British class league table is that almost all alternative comedians and sociology professors do come from the working class or upper working class. And if they don't, they pretend they do."

And did Professor Jeremy Thursday himself have a working class background?

"With a name like Jeremy Thursday? You're kidding! I had to struggle to get where I am today."

And where are you today ?

"Near the top of the professional classes."

And who are they?

"They are that part of the middle class who are ever so middle class but who don't want to call themselves middle class. But I tell you, if I had known what I know now, I would never have started from the middle class to become a sociologist. I'd have joined the working class first and got the right background.

"If you want to get into a certain profession, you would be well advised to choose your class carefully first. That's why parents like to study class league tables. You want your son to be a comedian or a footballer? Sign up for the working class. You want him to be an accountant or a bureaucrat? Go for the middle class."

How easy is it for someone to move from class to class? If you reckon you're in the wrong class, can you change without trouble?

"If you're prepared to work at it. Relocating from working class to middle class seldom involves a great deal more than modification of accent, change of table manners, revamping of meal times and a change of dog."

Change of dog?

"Dog By Class Chart, see page 165, Table 78. But going from middle class to upper class would be a lot harder. Unless you married into the upper class. That's quick and easy. Otherwise it could take a generation or two."

Presumably, though, it will be less attractive to become upper class now that peers' hereditary votes are being removed?

"Rubbish! The upper classes aren't interested in governing the country any more. They're just interested in owning it. That's why extreme wealth is the key to entering the upper classes. And why extreme poverty is the key to leaving the upper classes."

I thought birth and position were the key to entry?

"No, no - that comes later. You get birth and status after you've become upper class. Nobody ever became upper class by being upper class. You start with wealth and move on to breeding later. You don't know much about this, do you? What class are you?"

Um... middle class, I think.

"Then you should seriously think about polishing your shoes more often. Next!"

The `Government Report on Social Standing Success', commonly known as the Class League Tables 1999, is published by HMSO, 196 pp, price pounds 19.99. Or free, if you know the right people

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn