Everyone agrees that social mobility has stalled and that education is the answer. They're wrong.by Philip Collins / September 17, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
Rita Tushingham in A Taste of Honey, made in 1958, which has been “enshrined as the golden year for social mobility” (© BFI Stills)
If Hazel Blears has ever made a finer film I am yet to see it. Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste Of Honey features a cameo by Ms Blears, later MP for the city, as a Salford street urchin. A Taste Of Honey describes the prospect of escape from poverty which, in 1958, seemed an immediate possibility. The same territory had been charted the year before in John Braine’s 1957 novel Room at the Top, which relates the story of the orphan Joe Lampton as he starts his journey through the English class system. The sudden demand for white-collar workers—thanks to the postwar expansion of the professional and managerial sectors—opens the door to ordinary Joe.