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PostSubject: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 3:19 am

Reading posts in P.ie and Machine Nation over the last few months has brought both pleasure and pain.
Amongst the many pearls, there have been a few swine. But what has shocked me equally with expressions of racism, has been the hostility to the young poor of Ireland regularly labelled as "Scum" by posters.

Where has class division in Ireland come from? We don't in theory have an aristocracy and we are supposed to cherish all the children equally and so on. Yet there is an underclass who are despised and loathed by those more fortunate. Where did this underclass come from, and why are they so hated by people who often don't know them?
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 3:23 am

If people get uppity with me I try to play the complete ignoramus, usually successfully
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 3:26 am

SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
If people get uppity with me I try to play the complete ignoramus, usually successfully

But what if they bundled you into a hoodie and installed you in a house in Quarryvale?
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 3:32 am

I don't think "scum" is distributed along traditional social segments as one would imagine.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 3:34 am

cactus flower wrote:
SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
If people get uppity with me I try to play the complete ignoramus, usually successfully

But what if they bundled you into a hoodie and installed you in a house in Quarryvale?

If you had said velour pyjamas, a nuclear bunker and Neilstown I might have been tempted. It is rather close to Liffey Valley, don't you know? *swift ladylike nasal intake to allay potential embarassment
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 3:51 am

Will defer to you all on this, as I have now lived in London for a few years and so perhaps shouldn't comment. Having said that, I am in almost daily contact with various family members and friends, I read the Irish Times (for whatever that's worth or not!) online every day and have stayed reasonably in contact with daily life there, esp. as I hope to return to Irel. at some point.

... so, (intake of breath) CF this has always been there, hasn't it?! In my home town at any rate, though these people definitely weren't always called "scum" ( who is calling whom scum? how many / often?), there were always certain families / estates...etc etc ... - though it has certainly been hugely intensified by a) the huge additional wealth / disparity of wealth of the last 10 years and b) I really don't want to say this but I have to, the tabloidisation of a lot of Irish public discourse.

Like I say, please please correct me, educate me, whatever if necessary, I really want to be told I'm wrong!. But I have been in London for 10yrs now and I can't believe the Anglicisation / tabloidisation of Ireland ... that is a language / discourse I hate using, as to me it sounds Republican and that is totally alien to me. I look at it all economically / financially - it all comes down to money in the end.

Having said all of that, a couple of English friends of mine who have visited Ireland as guests of mine have been amazed at how more integrated Ireland (or my home town?) is ... ie in social evenings, they met a wider range of people / social classes than we ever would have in London

... so having totally contradicted myself, I'll say goodnight! Perhaps one of you can make sense of it in the morn. I read with interest.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 3:53 am

Will do Mr. Finch.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 3:56 am

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Will do Mr. Finch.

so obvious which book I recently re-read isn't it?"! .. ah well, all this reminiscing bout the 30s Depression etc ...
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 3:59 am

Atticus wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Will do Mr. Finch.

so obvious which book I recently re-read isn't it?"! .. ah well, all this reminiscing bout the 30s Depression etc ...

Get you to bed . You have to defend Tom Robinson in the morning
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 4:03 am

Atticus what you are saying rings very true about the estates stigma and the recent 'tabloidisation' of irish culture as you call it. We'll have to dissect that a bit more later but I get the feeling from it that it's right - a bit sensationalist with a short span of attention and oriented towards glamour and shininess.

The German ambassador recently had us down to a tee - we have become a nation of money-grabbing car-changers. Where's the community spirit you'd imagine Ireland would have? What's left of it is here on the net, mate Very Happy

Night night
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 4:23 am

I couldn't understand the furore over the German Ambassador' comments either. He said what he saw. The more, I think it was Gay Mitchell I was listening to, the objectors raised their voice the truer it appeared. Hardly great publicity for Ireland inc as the pr man would have it.

Church communities declining but nothing to take it's place. The Gaa has more influence now but not great in the poorer urban estates. Soccer does it's bit but sometimes lack the tight geographical practicalities that the Gaa thrives on outside Dublin. Real communities are required. Not some fooker with a magic marker and a flipchart who decides they'll attract a new community to St. Edmunds( or something like that)- its the other side of the roundabout from Neilstown near Liffey Valley - by putting up happy middle class people playin cricket ffs. (not anti-cricket I hasten to add)
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 10:33 am

I've lost count of the number of times I've been taken to task on p.ie for pointing out that calling young people 'scum' or 'scumbags' is hypocritical, counterproductive and just plain wrong.

Atticus' point about the tabloidisation of Ireland rings true for me to the extent that the word 'scum' is one I associate with redtop headlines but I think there's a lot more to it than that.

I can't say I agree that it's necessarily a class issue - though the behaviour might be (overwhelmingly at times) seen among a certain class, the language of criticism seems to be universal across all classes. Ironically that commonality of language just widens the gap between those who act inappropriately and those who comment - equally inappropriately - on their actions.

There is no credible school of psychology that would argue that we can effectively change the behaviour of people without changing the causes of that behaviour. A deterrent - such as longer prison sentences, will not work in the case of people who are so deprived, so downtrodden, disenfranchised and demoralised that they don't understand the concept of postponement of gratification, never mind have any notion how to live it.

Anyone who reads their local papers will invariably see that the same addresses crop up time after time after time after the names of young people who have been sentenced for drugs, public order, assault or criminal damage offences. Mention the name Arden View in Offaly, Knockmay in Portlaoise, Moyross in Limerick and the ladies who lunch and the men who read the Irish Times over black coffee will shudder inwardly - and not say to themselves 'there but for the grace of God go I."

Why should we be surprised that antisocial behaviour is centralised is a surprise to me when our planning programme has been shown to be ineffective as far back as Fatima Mansions. Those who make the plans have no understanding of the needs of those for whom they plan. Ghettoising has consequences that reach far beyond the short term nimbyism of those who turn up their noses at the notion of social housing dispersed throughout 'regular' housing estates.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 11:23 am

Kate P wrote:
Mention the name Arden View in Offaly, Knockmay in Portlaoise, Moyross in Limerick and the ladies who lunch and the men who read the Irish Times over black coffee will shudder inwardly - and not say to themselves 'there but for the grace of God go I."


I think you've hit the nail on the head there Kate, the thing is, some imagine it could never happen to them, others know they are only 6 months salary away from a sink estate and are afraid of admitting to the thin safety line keeping them away from feral youths and anti social behaviour. You need to have private means to be really "safe" from the "scum".

Unless parents put a big effort into instilling civic values and manners into their kids, and try to shape the kids social networks, This is very diifficult to do, and has to be at the forefront of the parents minds. it's often just too difficult, despite the best intentions of parents. Consequently each subsequent generation gets demonstrably worse.

In sink estates a generation is often less than 20 years, amongst the "coping classes" it's 30+ years.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 11:51 am

Atticus, Victor Meldrew, Kate and others thanks for very thoughtful answers. I am thankful that I have had occasion to work in sink estates and I have lived in one, so I can say from first hand experience that the demonisation of the people who live in them is unjust, and politically cynical.
I also agree with Atticus that Ireland is much more socially open and equal in many ways that almost any other country I know. That makes the extremity of fear and loathing
all the more surprising. It might be worth while to consider where our "underclass" have come from. Are they the descendants of an old manufacturing class displaced by mechanisation? People who migrated from the country in the famine and didn't make it?
Or much more diverse?
Why do we not have a political party who tries to represent them? I don't count Sinn Fein who I personally believe tries to exploit them whilst running with an FF type social agenda.

Time for work - will hopefully come back to this later.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 12:15 pm

The origins of these people is what was going through my mind as well cactus. Many of the families I know of are said to be from Traveller stock but maybe not all. Perhaps they are the result of an early manufacturing class suddenly amputated by the Famine as you say ... maybe someone knows more about this?

I don't think the solutions are to ghettoise them in estates either, however spanking new. Perhaps they need to be encouraged to live by the simple rules the rest of us do by being given the boundaries they are being given in the new places in Limerick - that they are given warnings if they disrespect their homes and could be turfed out... harsh but what would the alternative be at the moment? Some of the parenting only adds to the problems I think but then again maybe it's time we adjusted our education system as well to bring these families up in a systems which suits them, whatever that environement should be.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 1:05 pm

They aren't Travellers bar a few. Some Travellers find it very hard to settle in estates ( I did too when I tried it).
I agree with you about education, but even that on its own can't fix everything. I knew a girl with over 500 Leaving Cert. points who didn't take her Uni place as she was too nervous - she didn't get any support or encouragement from her school her mother said. A big change in attitudes is needed I think.
Most people in the ghettoes do abide by the rules. But there is very little policing and the bad element gets to run riot, making it miserable for everyone else. More gards on the streets, more after school and summer education and more normal respect for people living in social housing would be a start. Also, when people organise themselves in community groups, as they do, the paid agencies should not be allowed to take over and push them out of the centres they have built up themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 1:14 pm

Auditor #9 wrote
Quote :
Some of the parenting only adds to the problems I think but then again maybe it's time we adjusted our education system as well to bring these families up in a systems which suits them

Victor Meldrew wrote
Quote :
Unless parents put a big effort into instilling civic values and manners into their kids, and try to shape the kids social networks, This is very diifficult to do, and has to be at the forefront of the parents minds. it's often just too difficult, despite the best intentions of parents. Consequently each subsequent generation gets demonstrably worse.

Both of you mention the role of parents and I agree that it's paramount but I think that in many cases, the parents need as much support as the kids do. It was interesting to hear recently people from Finglas and Drimnagh and other areas talking about the anti-social behaviour that goes on in their own estates. Again local court reports often highlight that parents just don't have the skills, ability or courage to parent as well as they would like.

I think that those who intervene and want to improve the situation need also to be wary of the danger of imposing their values on others. What you say about respecting people and not allowing outside agencies to take over is very important, cactus.

If a family has four generations worth of existence on social welfare, it takes huge emotional and social investment to shift expectations. I use the word 'emotional' here because I don't think that mere policy or financing is sufficient to facilitate people in making a better life for themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 1:30 pm

Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 2:03 pm

Kate P wrote:

Again local court reports often highlight that parents just don't have the skills, ability or courage to parent as well as they would like.

And neither do parents in good areas, it's just stuff you don't have to deal with if you can afford the mortgage / rent in a good area. So it's not that we're better parents, it's just that we have it easier. (as long as we can continue to afford it..... pale
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 5:45 pm

Well, I would contend that class division in Ireland has actually diminished and receded over the past 15 years, and that has much to do with the socio-economic revolution which was the Celtic Tiger. The forces, the effects and consequences of the great up-lift in our economic fortunes fundamentally re-shaped Irish society from its pre-existing structures. DMcW calls this the "Wonderbra Effect" and it is quite palpable. The number of people in the lower-income stratae of society have plummeted as wage inflation and house-price elevation acted as an economic escalator for many across the country. At the same time, the middle class of civil servants, gardai, teachers, semi-state employees and employees of stodgy private-sector firms saw their relative advantage eroded over the last two decades.

This compression in Irish society has a lot to do with education. Previously only 'respectable' people got university degrees, only 'respectable' people got LCs and worked in the bank, the service or with a semi-state. A vast under-class either had to scrabble a living, go on the dole or emigrate to the building sites of the US/UK/Australia.

This compression was also the result of the liberation of credit. Again, only 'respectable' people got loans, only 'respectable' people passed muster with the bank manager. They more than likely had regular dinners with the manager as well. Now that virtually anyone can get some form of loan(this is subject to change with the current credit crunch), a lot more people can engage in the quintessential middle-class pursuit. Deferred gratification. This is linked to my above point. Where previously people could only live for today(economically speaking) they can now live for tomorrow. They can go do a degree, take careert breaks, go on holiday and other activities before going out to earn a living to pay for the debt.

This is excellently outlined in DMcW's book "The Pope's Children". While I am at odds with his view of our economy and property market, he makes cogent and relevant points on our social system which must be considered.

This means that previously elitist pursuits like rugby, cricket, tennis, golf and so on are far more catholic in their participants. The Irish rugby supporters are a perfect example of this new social blending in Ireland. Where once rugby was the sport of a handful of Dublin private schools, Ulster Protestants and an enclave in Limerick, it knows no boundaries today. Rugby balls are now tossed about on the greens of Crumlin, Walkinstown, Finglas and Tallaght. The newer rugby players for Leinster are increasingly coming from country areas where previously only GAA held sway.

Admittedly, there is a back-lash. The old middle-class rankle at parvenus and noveaux riche out-bidding them in property/art auctions, they wring their hands when benchmarking fails to keep pace with Breakfast Roll Man's income rises. This attitude is epitomised by a new poster on P.ie Morris Philips. I, however think that these attitudes, while unfortunate, are far out-weighed by the extra-ordinary social advance of our nation.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 6:02 pm

Very interesting. Increased employment has certainly got young people out of bed and, parents tell me, less drink and drugs are taken by those working. A lot of people remaining on benefits are in the cant work category - disabilities or commitments. I interviewed people for a FAS scheme once when Mary Harney was trying to get people off benefits and in to work. Nearly all the long term unemployed were carers of elderly parents, sick wives/husbands or similar. They were not unemployed, just not paid for what they were doing. Paying carers, including grannies minding granchildren, has worked well in some countries, and I think they deserve it.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 6:10 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Very interesting. Increased employment has certainly got young people out of bed and, parents tell me, less drink and drugs are taken by those working.

Exactly, cactus. The old saying "the devil makes work for idle hands" is as true as it is well-worn. The fall from nearly 20% unemployment to 4.6% has taken an awful lot of sting out of social problems in less salubrious environs of our cities. Look at Ballymun, for example, the transformative effects of our economic boom are transforming that previously depressed suburb into a far more dynamic and optimistic place.
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptyThu Mar 27, 2008 9:38 pm

The number of young men who have lost jobs due to 'the recent downturn in the building industry is frightening and that's already making its effect felt in the courts system.

A job offers a sense of purpose and the paycheque is a reward. Deprive people of that and we can expect to see the crime level rocket.

I'm old enough that my mother was beating the 'People with Masters' Degrees can't get a job in Dunnes Stores' drum and my friends' fathers were all emigrating to England to work.

My old primary school had all sorts of students. My classmates were the most deprived and the children of professionals. The interesting thing is that as I work my way around my 6th class room, virtually all of us are in the same relative class grouping now as we were more than 20 years ago. I'm not sure what kind of progress that is in a rural town. But maybe rural towns are different...
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptySat Apr 05, 2008 2:34 am

Speaking of supermarkets and class division and so on - just because the doors of M&S are wide open doesn't mean you will be allowed/comfortable in there...

Even people who cultivate the 'Colin Farrell-look' (a drug pusher) can get eyed ruthlessly by a benetton chick-clone and not in an I-want-your-autograph-way either.

The bourgeouis* are alive and well in Marks and Spencers around the country

*=anyone who can spell this word correctly
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PostSubject: Re: Class Division in Ireland   Class Division in Ireland EmptySun Apr 13, 2008 11:41 am

Atticus wrote:
Will defer to you all on this, as I have now lived in London for a few years and so perhaps shouldn't comment. Having said that, I am in almost daily contact with various family members and friends, I read the Irish Times (for whatever that's worth or not!) online every day and have stayed reasonably in contact with daily life there, esp. as I hope to return to Irel. at some point.

... so, (intake of breath) CF this has always been there, hasn't it?! In my home town at any rate, though these people definitely weren't always called "scum" ( who is calling whom scum? how many / often?), there were always certain families / estates...etc etc ... - though it has certainly been hugely intensified by a) the huge additional wealth / disparity of wealth of the last 10 years and b) I really don't want to say this but I have to, the tabloidisation of a lot of Irish public discourse.

Like I say, please please correct me, educate me, whatever if necessary, I really want to be told I'm wrong!. But I have been in London for 10yrs now and I can't believe the Anglicisation / tabloidisation of Ireland ... that is a language / discourse I hate using, as to me it sounds Republican and that is totally alien to me. I look at it all economically / financially - it all comes down to money in the end.

Having said all of that, a couple of English friends of mine who have visited Ireland as guests of mine have been amazed at how more integrated Ireland (or my home town?) is ... ie in social evenings, they met a wider range of people / social classes than we ever would have in London

... so having totally contradicted myself, I'll say goodnight! Perhaps one of you can make sense of it in the morn. I read with interest.

Apologies to you Atticus, for not having replied sooner to your interesting post. Yes, it does seem to have been "always there", but it might be worth asking the older generations if it really was - older people in rural areas have told me that Travellers, for example, were much less negatively viewed and stereotyped when they were young than is now the case.
To a large extent, the attitude is ring-fenced to people living in social housing - this was built since the 1940s.

What do you think is the relationship between those factors? Were the poorest all put in there (and glad to get a house)? Or is the physical separation of the estates a factor in leading people to fear and loathe the inhabitants ( who they have largely never met ). It is very difficult for people in the estates to avoid /escape from poverty, especially since everyone who could afford to got out in the 80s and 90s with House Purchase grants, leaving single parents and unemployed people.

The contradiction, I agree, is that Ireland is in many respects very open (particularly outside Dublin 4, who are not so powerful for it to really matter) and wonderfully socially mixed compared to any other country I have experienced. I don't think that has been damaged irreparably by the silliness of the boom. We can all sit in the pub together still, and a person is judged by their personality rather than their purse.

This is a very good up to date report on poverty in Ireland.Cori Poverty Briefing 2007
Absolute poverty (poor nutrition, no warm coat type poverty) reduced during the boom, but relative poverty (living on less than 60% of the average) actually increased as a % of the population. This was directly as a result of taxation choices made by government. Poverty in the over 65s dropped due to pension increases. If poverty amongst the old is not to rise due to fuel and food price increases they will need to go up again.
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