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Call Me a Champagne Socialist Again and I Might Thank You

11/01/2016 14:38 GMT | Updated 08/01/2017 10:12 GMT

"Bloody champagne socialist."

That's what a fellow pupil said to me in politics class a few days ago when we discussing social mobility. The comment made me wonder whether just because I go to a private school I have to identify myself with the Conservatives, however, the insult soon because a compliment and here's why.

Firstly I would just like to point out that socialism is a philosophy that disregards your background, so calling someone who is perhaps a slightly better off a socialist is completely paradoxical because their wealth shouldn't matter. Otherwise, you can forget people like Gandhi, Tony Benn, Franklin Roosevelt, William Beveridge and George Orwell who all made sure their privileged backgrounds that they were born into didn't change what they did for the world.

Moreover, a "champagne socialist's" political views aren't there when they're born, but the champagne is. One's family wealth, of whatever magnitude, shouldn't affect their political views, unlike as they have done in the past when there have been clearer class divides.

The initial negative connotations that the term carries means people, and young people in particular, are discouraged from not only voicing their opinions but also fuelling progression in society.

Rather those who are called a champagne socialist should see it as a complement. Why you ask? Well, it shows that not only are you fuelling progression by not letting any privilege blind your political views, but it also shows you realise your privilege and consider those who haven't been born into the same privileges.

If being labelled as a champagne socialist makes me a good person, so be it.

The funny thing is, when we were discussing social mobility and welfare in politics, I wasn't promoting a lot of socialism - it was a lot more centrist. I was just saying how there is a lack of social mobility in the UK, in fact the UK has some of the worst mobility figures in Europe, and that welfare should be used as a "jump lead" (not a lifestyle) to get people back into work. At first, I was taken aback by this attempted insult on my seemingly obvious comments and observations but then I came to realise the people saying this were kids who were under pressure to base their political opinion on what schooling system their parents decided to put them through 10 years prior.

Whilst I realise that young people can of course form a political opinion that lands them on the right-hand side of the spectrum, I fear some do so blindly, and the use of this insult-turned-complement proves that, especially when they use it on people like myself, who are in no way that far left, or in fact anyone further left than themselves.

I guess that despite the fact that several of us teenagers currently on the left side or centre of the spectrum will eventually lean more to the right as time goes on, we will carry those more liberal views with us and help society move forwards. What is concerning is that those who label us (including me - a centrist) "champagne socialists" will not help society progress as much because there are fewer liberal views to be carried through.

If there weren't generations carrying increasingly liberal views through to adulthood then we would still have slaves and homosexuality would be illegal.

If being labelled as a champagne socialist makes me a good person, so be it.

Carl also blogs on The Liberal Mind