Writing for the Telegraph blogs, Dan Hodges claims that the sad death of Bijan Ebrahimi was due to the "dark side of working-class Britain", which no one, except him, is prepared to confront. And after a title positioning himself as a middle class Luke Skywalker, Mr Hodges claims that:
"The brutal killing of Bijan Ebrahimi has exposed the other side of working-class Britain. The intolerance. The suspicion of distinctiveness. The naked hatred of anything, and anyone, that dares not conform."
Sadly there is no distinctiveness in Dan's article, it is just one of many similar examples of the stereotyping of the working classes. And the other problem for him is that the characteristics which Dan is describing are depressingly quite common. In fact, I'm sure there are some who'd use such terms to describe him; or if you replaced the term "working-class" in certain sections of his article with the name "Ed Miliband", it could be mistaken for just another of his many diatribes towards the Labour leader. However, Mr. Hodges goes even further, to state that:
"...a man gets burnt alive in the middle of a white working-class housing estate and no other conclusions should be drawn."
Of course Dan, every time a crime is perpetrated on "working-class housing estate" it is the sole blame of an entire class of people. Part of me knows that Dan has probably only written this to bait people like me, so he can drive hits to his blog, and justify his existence. But I have bitten.
Now, I don't want to get all "Owen Jones", but I've bitten because I was deeply offended that in picking a one off and deeply saddening crime on a council estate, Dan chose to spin it into what he deemed to be an example of "working-class Britain"; and by doing so, he generalised to such an extent, that he could be easily accused of taking part in the "demonization of the working class", (which would make a great name for a book...).
Because what Dan Hodges is playing on is the new modern stereotype that white working-class people are all intolerant racists and bigots. Yet when a middle class rural community is seen to be against someone of Mr Ebrahimi's ethnicity even living next door to them, there is no cry that this is an example of the "dark-side" to middle class communities.
And when employers are found to be turning down applicants due to the sound of their names, names like Mr. Ebrahimi's, middle-class racism or "naked hatred", is not seen to be being exposed. Nor, as a recent BBC investigation found, it wasn't working class people discriminating against renting to people based on ethnicity; yet it was also not seen as an example of middle class "intolerance".
Nevertheless, the predictable problem that someone somewhere, usually in the right-wing media, will declare that this is yet another shameful example of those "working-classes", whereas those I have mentioned have no basis in class whatsoever, is that there is a distinct lack of working class people in the media. The plethora of commentators on blogs, and news website are sadly as middle class as Mr. Hodges is bad mannered.
When a white working class person does pop up, it tends to be someone like Tommy Robinson, talking about race; or mockney cockneys like Kelvin Mackenzie with right wing views. When we are not being parodied we are being impersonated by middle class people. Or even worse, in the sights of the likes of Dan Hodges, we become fair game for them to live out their fears and stereotypes.
It was a disgusting crime committed upon Mr. Ebrahimi's by a group of small minded criminals. But Dan is no Luke; more of an Anakin, as the only "dark side" exposed in his article is his own. And the only class based "Community" he should be confronting is the media commenteriat he is a member of.