Owen Jones – The Undemocratic Chav Misrepresenter

Many people will know Owen Jones as the author of, ‘Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class‘. He describes himself on Twitter:

Socialist, Independent columnist, author of ‘Chavs’, Sheffield-born but Stockport-bred, looks a bit like a 12 year old. My views only, obviously.

Owen Jones might look like a twelve year old, but compared to the many idealistic 12-year-olds out there, he seems to me to be more entrenched in the status quo than they are or would want to be. Owen Jones may have been Sheffield-born, but Owen Jones lacks in my view the character of the reputed Sheffield-born outlaw Robin Hood, whose claimed birthplace in nearby Loxley I once visited.

On Twitter I have long spoken against the way Owen Jones uses the word ‘chav’ as if it is an insult. As a media studies graduate, for me the word is no different to ‘NEET’ or ‘Mondeo Man’. It describe a specific type of person, which in my view should be defined as follows:

Someone who is in a socio-economic bracket lower than what they would prefer, who design their life around making themselves believe that they are in that higher socio-economic bracket so that they don’t become depressed and are instead happy.

So it is easy for one to see how say a couple made up of teachers who teach at state schools, who live in a posh area and act as if they are millionaires are also ‘chavs’, but I would say these are not as desirable as the traditional chavs who claim welfare benefits, because these people often look down on others, like the traditional chavs Owen Jones speaks of, even they are funded from the same pot of tax-payers money as public sector workers.

As you can see, this opinion of mine is legitimately constructed, but it would seem that Owen Jones thinks I have no right to express it. Owen Jones, who uses Twitter under the username @OwenJones84 has blocked my account from posting to his page – all because he disagrees with me!

I often block people I feel do not give the confirmation bias I want from my personal Facebook profile, but the people who I do this, are free to debate with me peacefully uncensored  on my Facebook Page and Twitter account. I am a true democrat, unlike Owen Jones in my opinion. This is so much the case, that one of my opponents at the last election, Jools Jones, who was unable to deliver her leaflets because of a recent operation, had the support of my firm, The Crocels Press Limited, to deliver her leaflets. In the end she beat me, but as a true democrat is was more important to me that she had a fair shot at the election than for me to win without a fair fight.

People like Owen Jones, claim to be socialists, but in my view their so-called ‘solidarity’ is only with the few socialists who agree with everything they they, and those socialists who disagree with them do not seem to count. When I was in the Labour Party it was rare to find any more than three people who could get on at the same time. Things were very clique-like, and it seems that Owen Jones, who became a celebrity because of that book, is no different. Owen Jones now finds himself well funded among the chattering classes, giving sympathy to poor people, of which I’m one, yet Owen Jones is so remote from ordinary people, I feel he has become “one of them”.

Owen Jones appears to me to be clinging to this idea that ‘Chav’ is  that is a bad word that stigmatises. When one comes across a stigmatising word you have two options:

  1. To try to stop the word being used
  2. To redefine the word and re-purpose or re-mould it
I would prefer to do the latter of these. There are many good things about being a Chav. One is aspirational, and want a better life. One is not willing to let one’s poverty get the better of you or make you bitter. And, regardless of what people think of you, you are happy to believe the things you do and what the things you do.
The so called working-class Chavs spoken about by Owen Jones are often on one of more of the following Welfare benefits:
  1. Income Support
  2. Incapacity Benefit
  3. Employment and Support Allowance
I was once on these, and as you can see from the following video, I took advantage of those opportunties to me when I was forced off them to go to being a ‘level 2 chav’, where I am dependent on Tax Credits, not because I lack ability or ambition, but because like the level 1 chavs are denied jobs I am denied government tenders. Owen Jones cannot appreciate the good side of being a Chav, so Owen Jones is as much a part of the problem of stigmatising being a Chav as those he complaints about.

Before Owen Jones came on the scene, with what I see as vieled bigotry towards being a Chav, I created a quiz on Facebook called ‘Are you Chav Labour?’ – to be a Chav you had to prefer Gabrielle’s R&B song, ‘Dreams can Come True’, like the golden merchandise from the Labour Party, among other stereotypical attributes. But, the groups you could be assigned to were ‘Stooge Labour’, ‘Pacifist Labour’ and ‘Chav Labour’ – The only one I wrote up in a positive way was ‘Chav Labour’ because Chavs embody the Labour movement, which is being ambitious and wanting a better life than what you are given. Owen Jones might not want to accept that being a Chav can be a good thing, but that is Owen Jones’s unfortunate way of looking at the world that we have to suffer.

My life as a ‘renaissance chav’ – Fighting off the bureauchavs

I define a ‘chav’ as someone who is in a socio-economic bracket lower than what they would prefer, who design their life around making themselves believe that they are in the higher socio-economic bracket so that they don’t become depressed and are instead happy. Unlike Owen Jones, who wrote the book, “Chavs: The demonisation of the working class,” it is not my view that all chav’s are working class. Anyone of any income or social status can be a chav, providing they are living their lives with the belief-system of the higher-bracket they want to be in, and managing the income they have to achieve that ‘delusion’.

One could therefore see me as a chav – I have the business structure of a major corporate enterprise, but the profit is a lot lot less than the take-home pay of the civil servants I apply for grants to. I call myself a ‘renaissance chav‘ because I’m as dependent on the tax-payer as the traditional chav, yet have an advanced education and experience of the world of work that I would not have had if I had chosen to stay on the same state-aid (i.e. benefits) as the traditional chavs feel compelled to stay on.

Most people, wrongly in my view, think of chavs as being people claiming a benefits which gives a top income limit of £3000 and a maximum potential weekly income of £30. But look at civil servants, they often get 10 times more than this income, yet still want the tax-payer to top up their pensions, or else they will bribe us by withdrawing their labour. Also, they live a make believe life, thinking shuffling paper around makes them the envy of the private sector.

The difference between this bureauchav and the traditional one is the bureauchav think they have the right to determine the whether the traditional chav has access to even a breadcrumb of the privalaged life they have, whereas the traditional chav has to put up with what they are given. When Owen Jones speaks of those who ‘demonise the working class‘ with reference to chavs, he is talking about this ‘bureauclass‘ of people who like a traditional chav:

  • Get paid out of tax-payers money
  • Don’t have a real job in the private sector sense
  • Don’t have enough income to sustain their ideal life

So whether you are a traditional chav claiming Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, or Employment and Support Allowance, or perhaps more of a ‘renaissance chav‘ like me, the civil servants are your master, as your ability to achieve the ideal life that you have the belief-system to achieve is dependent on this bureauclass of bureauchav who think they are better and more deserving than you are.

The glorification of class struggles perpetuates it

Popular self-confessed 12-year-old lookalike Owen Jones, who wrote the book, “Chavs: The Demonisation of the working class,” posted this tweet to Twitter:

“The General Strike has taught the working class more in four days than years of talking could have done.”- Tory Arthur Balfour

I replied to this, criticising him for glorifying class conflict, and he replied:

@jonathan_bishop To get rid of those divisions we have to understand the ones that currently exist, rather than pretend they’re not there

I think he is right that we should understand the ones that exist, and many of them are perpetuated by many associated with the Labour Party calling entrepreurs who want to do something with their life, or any public service funded by tax-payers income and not their taxes “posh”.

It seems from Labour politicans point of view, anyone who has any amount of wealth, even if they earned it from the fruits of their own Labour are “posh” and being posh is bad. One thing one can take from this is, working class voters, are not posh, and therefore as Labour aren’t posh, then if one is working class one should vote Labour.

How does one define working class? Is it someone who works hard but earns below the national average? Is it someone who is a member of a trade union who has no choice but to work in order to live?

If it was the first one, then as a risk taking entrepreneur I meet that definition. In terms of the second, well I could not maintain my existence without working, but how does one define ‘trade union’?

For me being working class has little to do with income and more to do with division of labour and control over one’s working life. I would say one is working class where:

  • One works for an employer for income and has little freedom over the work they do and the direction it takes.
  • One cannot vary one’s asking price for work as one’s paymasters has one tied down to a restrictive contract of employment
  • One cannot easily withdraw one’s labour without risking breach of contract and losing one’s income stream
  • One cannot send someone else to do one’s work if one is ill, meaning one could lose one’s income for the day one is not at work
  • One has to work a set amount of hours in order to get by and often relies on overtime to make ends meet.
  • One can be moved from a task one is enjoying doing without any say-so if that is what one’s paymaster wants

Trade unions depend on the working class, as if there were not people under the restrictive conditions above, they would have no purpose. I am self-employed, and probably take home less money that most workers in those jobs above. However, I don’t see myself as working class, for one because none of the above apply to me, and also because I:

  • Enjoy the fruits of my own labour – the profit made from the work I do goes to me
  • I control my own means of production – I can do whatever work I think profitable, at present writing and speaking, and I can vary how much I do and when I do it
  • I control my own means of distribution – I can sell my products and services to whoever I want who also want it. I can distribute it via any printer/publisher, I can choose my own supply chain, engage my own marketers, etc.
  • I control my own means of exchange – I can decide to only write for people who pay me certain royalties, or I can choose to barter, by providing a person with a good or service in exchange for theirs, or even using what I call ‘co-operative advantage’ which is where I work with others pro-bono in the hope of future profits from what we co-produce

Ask yourself this. If everyone, like me, was self-employed and a member of a profession body that gave similar rights to traditional trade unions, then who would join these traditional trade unions? Equally, if every worker was emancipated through self-employment, accountable only to themselves and not being supressed by an employer or trade union, and therefore not working class, then who would vote Labour?

While Labour and The Sun are the guardians of the working class, and the Tories and certain broadsheets are the guardians of the business owners the class system in this country will continue to perpetuate. It is only by breaking past these divides and people taking control of their own working life, perhaps through self-employment, that the suppression of the working classes can end, as they would cease to be working class and start being the individuals they are.