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The Post Code lottery

Woden Road South in Summer

Unequal Britain

In Britain your post code; where you live, tends to  determine a lot of things. How you are viewed by society  in general and by public servants in particular. It tends to determine whether you get a good education, good health care, a decent job and equal opportunities in life. It also determines the way you speak and the way you behave. It can even determine whether you are polite or not!

Other countries

I suspect other countries have a similar post code lottery but by a different name. All cultures appear to discriminate against some sections of society. All cultures appear to be elitist with some 20% of the population taking all the decent education and the best jobs.

The Class System

In Britain we tend to blame the class system and divide society up into upper class, middle class and working class. There are working class areas, predominantly middle class areas and the really posh areas like Chelsea in London. Each class lives in different places, shops in different places and most importantly behaves differently. The higher the class, it seems, the more polite people are. The middle classes say please and thank you far more than the working classes. This is a good thing, right? Maybe not. I behave more like working class in that respect, but when I say thank you, it isn’t gratuitous. I mean it.

A room with a view

Even the view from the window can be determined by post code or class. The view from the houses opposite the lake in the photograph is a nice one and I’m sure the people living in those houses would regard themselves as middle class and take pride in their environment. It’s harder to take pride in your community and environment when you look out on to filth and graffiti.

Getting a job

Employers in Britain frequently turn down job applicants simply based on their post code, they don’t live in the right area.  Some areas have a reputation for drugs, prostitution, violence and crime. Living in an area like that can give an impression that can makes it impossible to get a job. Those people are in a poverty trap and the whole area is often left to decline and so behaviour gets worse and measures to control behaviour become extreme. One such area on the other side of town from where I live has speed humps everywhere. To stop people speeding? No, to stop people from stealing cars, or at least make it more difficult.

No Pride

People who are losing hope or have lost hope, see the graffiti, the dog poo, the dirt, the grime and can’t see the good things. The scene in my photograph doesn’t belong to the working class, it belongs to the middle classes; it’s a place for their children to go feeding the ducks on a summer’s day.

Change your post code

Many people move out, change their post code when they get a chance to. They try to ‘better themselves’ and feel ashamed of their background. They even try to reinvent themselves and learn to talk like the middle classes. We have a strong accent and dialect here and it’s not conducive to getting on in life. It tells everyone the post code of your birth place. Who can blame people for wanting to leave a town known for poverty; that has lost the industry that once made it proud. Who can blame them to wanting to become more polite, well mannered and tidy?

I wonder though, they say thank you a lot; but do they ever mean it? Is anything in their lives real or is it all for show; all superficial. The nice house, the nice car, the wide screen television, the 2.3 children, the coffee mornings, the places on committees’; will any of it matter when they grow old and no one cares any more?

There are more amazing blogs on the Home Page. I have only touched on this subject today, I think it needs more analysis; what do you think? Please comment and share your thoughts.


5 responses

  1. TayabIqbal

    I live an area that, from the postcode point of view, is not very desirable.

    We do live in the nice part of town so we don’t really see the things that drag the town down.

    However, I do feel that regardless of where you live, there are certain things that should be within us that almost guarantee a certain standard of live.

    Manners, humility, smiling, being polite and helpful, honest, dignity, respect.

    These things should not be limited to people who live in the posher parts of the world. It’s up to the parents of every child to bring them up with these values, and as long as they, an area can (or should) never be that bad.

    If I was to get in my car and drive about 15 minutes into the centre, I will see lots of litter, graffiti, mess, people with bad manners, and people in groups trying to look (and fail!) intimidating. These things all create a negative image, and can make a person feel worse than they should.

    I’m not sure what my point is other than regardless of where you live, you should raise children with the right values. It makes a MASSIVE difference.

    22, February 2012 at 4:42 pm

    • Hi,

      Yes, an environment of grime, graffiti and litter can make people depressed and feel it’s a dog eat dog world. I live on the nicer side of town too, not posh but fairly respectable. It’s tougher on the other side of town! I don’t think anyone is posh in this town! I can drive 5 miles to an absolute ghetto and there is a red light district closer than that. They are desperate people with no sense of belonging.

      22, February 2012 at 5:13 pm

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