“Look at inner city. Once merely a descriptive term to distinguish a core urban area from the surrounding suburbs, it has become a code word for 'the place where unemployed black people on welfare, living amid the drug trade and homicides, send their children to bad schools and the penitentiary.' The inner city is contrasted with the tree-lined streets of leafy suburbs, meaning 'the place where affluent white people live and where the writer lives, or would like to.' Contrast leafy suburbs with any place described as hardscrabble, which indicates 'usually rural area or place in flyover country where working-class or poor white people struggle to get by'. (The Baltimore Sun, January 2013)
be yourself: don’t copy Kevin and Tracey from down the road
brands: Decipher expert says ABs shopping at Primark while CDs buy aspirational brands. The Times, Oct 29 2011 (Meaning that the best upper sets are saving money by shopping for clothes at budget store Primark, while the less well-off buy branded merchandise by Armani, Louis Vuitton etc. Top people may buy Cath Kidston and Boden but in some mysterious way these are not “brands”.)
civilised: A “civilised” (i.e. posh) festival, Rewind has 1980s pop, “glamping” and champagne bars. (The Week, May 2011)
educated: middle class
emerging neighbourhood: embourgeoisement, gentrification
fine dining: linen tablecloths and obsequious waiters
from all walks of life: all classes
grinding chaos: other people (“I hate the noise, the dirt, the fumes and the grinding chaos." Politician Ian Duncan Smith on living in London, March 2013)
he rose from a humble or non-academic background: working-class background – it must have been if he “rose” from it
heavy, heavily: code for vulgar décor (“The rooms, though heavy with brocade swagged curtains…” redonline.co.uk “The tablecloths are heavy with starch.” Daily Mail, May 2012 “Heavily decorated chiffonniers inlaid with of mother of pearl.” frenchprovincialmag.com)
hysteria about paedophilia: using the word “paedophile”. (Only chavs say “paedophile”. Chavs are hysterical about paedos. We have legitimate concerns about child molesters.)
idyll: middle-class cosiness, flight from reality
intelligent: Men like to say that they find intelligence attractive. This means “not an Essex girl, won’t show me up in public”. Middle class, in fact.
It's only the poor and the posh who “breed”. (Andy Lewis/@lecanardnoir)
man, woman, girl: In Agatha Christie, if characters refer to people as “the man Archer” or “that girl Amy”, it means Archer and Amy are working class. Same goes for “a woman called Mary Smith”.
mannered (of an actor’s performance): posh
our absurdly risk-obsessed society: We had a teensy fire at our house and firemen and paramedics turned up and started telling us what to do!
petty bourgeois: lower middle class (They’re soooo petty! Actually it’s “petit” and it just means “small”.)
popular culture: working-class culture
potential: “The middle classes are leaving the state sector in droves… partly because they think their children will be mixing with pupils who will not help their child reach full potential.” (Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, reported in the Evening Standard, Nov 23 07)
product of the northern club circuit: working class (Telegraph piece on Frank Carson explains, Feb 2012)
reality TV: common people getting on television
regional accents: the Home Counties (around London) are not a “region”. (Viewers switch off the One Show because the presenters are from the northeast and Wales. Or do they just say they do?)
regional: working-class (Regions are where “we” aren’t.)
rentier class: always petty like the bourgeoisie (from Marxism?)
rough: working-class (Skegness too rough for Peroni, Guardian, 22 April 2013)
run-of-the-mill: people we are superior to
rural idyll: chav-free zone (“Why is the rural idyll I call home voting for Marine Le Pen?” Independent headline April 30, 2012)
social mobility: upward social mobility
There are certain standards!: I am a snob.
very ordinary people: working-class people (writer to The Times explaining that it’s not just middle-class Anglicans from the south who sing in choirs)
we, us: middle-class white people