Growing Up White & Working Class | Britain’s Forgotten Men
You can call us feral.
You can call us chavs. You can call us pikeys.
You can call us hoodies. What is going on? 25p. We’re the sixth richest nation in
the world, yet our social security,
our state is a load of crap. No-one’s happy round here. ENGINE REVS That should do fine. How important is this fight on
Saturday? It’s everything, really. BELL RINGS We’re City, we’re mad, we’ll kill
your mum and dad. There’s nothing, no better feeling. I sell bud, whiff, crack, anything,
mate. Why are you watching Bourne? There’s just no end goal. There’s no end point, there’s no
path. Hey, what’d you get kicked out of
school for? The system’s on its arse. Yeah, there’s nothing for kids. That same cycle over and over again. They grow up, have kids. And they’ve got nothing to give
them. Working class people in general know
that they’ve been robbed of
something. RADIO COMMENTATOR: Premier
League, Manchester City against
Stoke, full match commentary… POLICE SIREN There’s the police.
He’s following us now. City, we are, we love it, mate,
we love it. SHOUTING We’re all City fans.
And we all went for years. Home and away, I loved it as a kid,
absolutely loved it. I’m a blue through and through. I’ve got City on my arm, I’ve got
City on my back. I’ve got all the
T-shirts. Once I got to 10, 11, 12, and I see
people throwing bottles, bricks, as a kid you want to join in. And that’s how I got into it. It could be a number of different
things that happen today. You never know. SIREN That’s what makes it that little bit
more fucking fun, innit? GLASS SMASHES Oh, my God, he’s got some Red.
Oh, my God. As an honest, hard-working police
officer trying to keep the peace… Leave them alone. Young lad,
young lad. Leave them alone. Some lads get on to drugs.
Some get into gangs. Others just enjoy
a bit of football thuggery. That’s just your outlet as a young
working-class lad. Oi, boys! You can’t do nothing today,
there’s too many police around. So, what’s the plan?
Vengeance, isn’t it? A couple of miles from the stadium
is West Gorton, where Aaron lives with his family. I’m a HGV driver at the minute, I left school at 16, became a
driver’s mate. And I worked my way
up from having my own van, and then I’ve funded my own HGV
licence as well. Let’s get Lily. VOICEOVER: Got no
help of nobody, done it all myself. Do you normally pick the kids up?
No, I’m usually at work. I never get to do it.
That’s why I’m doing it today. When’s the last time
I picked you up, Lil? In Year Three. A completely different year. TOY MOTOR GRINDS Yeah, turn it off, L,
cos it’s doing my head in, mate. 17 I was when I met Aaron. At KFC. I’m not interested in the football,
to be honest. I just leave him to it and I just
think if he gets in trouble, then it’s his own fault. La-la-la, mama. Mmm? As long as they don’t
get in too much trouble, that is. Like getting locked up and stuff
but, you know… Do you want your tea? She likes to kick me out a lot. HE LAUGHS Where is she? She’ll be listening.
Right, then… Just stubborn,
we both don’t like to give in. Fucking knew you should have gone,
we should have been gone by now. When he’s with the lads he’s
a different person. When he’s here with his family,
he’s a lot different. When he’s with the lads he’s… KNOCKS ON WINDOW
I’ve not got me key. How is he different? Erm… When he’s here, there’s a different
side to him. He can be quite sweet. You know,
when we are all by ourselves. He can be. He loves us really, don’t he, L?
Yeah. Yeah. SHE LAUGHS
Mama, help me. Help you? What’s the matter?
Wee. You want a wee? Mama. You want Mama to come too? LAUGHTER My mum pays for me phone,
but I pay for the petrol and stuff. She pays for the insurance and that. How do you afford it? I don’t know.
A bit of this and that? Hmm. The high school I went to,
I got there till Year 11, then ended up getting kicked out. Why?
Just being a little shit really. What are you kids up to then?
Been at school? Yes. No. Been down school? No.
Are you bunking off today? Yeah. Hey, what did you get kicked
out of school for? I can’t sit, like,
down and just be writing and stuff. I’ve got to do something physical. Right, I’m going in this spinny
thing. I’ll probably not be sick. I thought I wasn’t getting anywhere,
and my GCSEs are going to be rubbish, cos I always mess about
in lessons. I won’t focus on school. I didn’t like it.
I didn’t want to be there. I’m stuck! I can’t get out! For those lads who get to the
end of school, they’re kind of 15, 16 and they haven’t got their GCSEs,
what happens to them? Just a life of misery. White working-class boys are now the
worst performers at GCSE, and fewer of them go to university
than any other group. But some people do make it. I was brought up in a working-class
way, in a working-class background. I were lucky. I were good at
school. I were academically minded. I were quick. I could make people
laugh, you know what I mean? I could do things. I could chat
and still get on with my work. Most people couldn’t do that. There were people genuinely who were
fantastic with working with their hands, but the other five hours
of the day they were just miserable. It’s just not set up to
cater for working-class lads who are that way inclined. There’s just no end goal. There’s
no end point. There’s no path. There’s “just get on with it” is the main phrase that you hear
constantly. And that messes
with your mind after a while. I think that sums up what
a lot of working-class men feel. There’s opportunity there.
There’s just not enough. I come from a massive family. We’ve never had much money
obviously, there’s so many of us. Even when my mum was working
it wasn’t pulling in enough to help all of us out straight away. Dale lives with his mum,
four of his five brothers, his aunt, cousin, three dogs and the parrot. I’m playing another game! Right, well, move it a bit forward
and don’t raise your voice to me. I don’t give a fuck. When you live in a community
and you’ve got a lot of children, people automatically think that
you’re having them children to claim more benefits. We’re not all like that. Some of us actually had our kids
because we wanted to. Always at the heart. Well, I made
some Sunday dinner for you. Did
everybody eat? What, has Stacey made me
some Sunday dinner? I’ve done cleaning jobs, I’ve done
bar work, I’ve done waitressing. Anything to bring money in. You used to be able to walk out of
one job and straight into another. You can’t do that now,
because there’s too many people and not enough jobs. Got a job in the market,
was there for about two months, went in on my birthday,
did an eight hour shift, got home. Within ten minutes of me
getting home, I found my mum had been rushed to
hospital. They paid me £50 holiday pay
and then took me off the payroll. Stuart was in a car accident,
shattered his leg, so he’s not got everything. Michael’s got two kids, he can’t be
back and forth, you know, he’s working full-time. Jordan’s on the autistic scale,
so he can’t just go out and get a job, and he’s not bright
enough to look after me mum. And so it’s only really me
that can do it. So, I’ve got basically a family of
eight and it’s mostly on my head. Dale, will you put this rubbish out
or get one of your brothers to do it? Yeah, yeah.
Because it’s going to go everywhere. No, I need to get my feet down,
they’re hurting. Do you want a black bin bag? Mum,
I’m taking them down, bloody hell. They’ve only been there
since bloody yesterday. So I’m back and forth shopping,
helping everyone out, trying to get everyone sorted, and then trying
to sort my own situation out as
well. And you’ve been the man of the house
pretty much your whole life. Pretty much, yeah. You know, someone said to me once,
they says, you know, “The one thing I will never
regret in life is my kids.” “Because they’ve kept me going.” Everybody needs something to
believe in. Everybody. I don’t believe in fuck all.
Don’t swear. F all. Oh, shit! What do you want to be
when you grow up, mate? I want to be a rapper,
a sick rapper… Prime-time TV. Sometimes I rap, but I don’t, like, don’t, like, let people listen to
it, because I’m a bit shy. Yeah. Which one are we singing? Are you doing it as well? Yeah. Three, two, one… # Yo, yes, light the bifta # I’m gonna rape your little sister # Five chicken lickin’,
I’m going to give you a kickin’. # When I grow up
I want to be an Army person, who gets to save the world
and that, shooting people. Why do you want to be in the Army? I get to kill people and
shoot, explode buildings and that. # But there is no time, no time to
waste # I got my own for free. # We’re told unemployment
is at its lowest level in years, although we met a lot of people who
thought differently. But in this part of town one
option has always been available. “Excellent news. You have been
booked on an Army selection event at “Glencorse Assessment Centre.” Felt happy about myself, like,
I was going somewhere, I was doing something. I was getting away from round here
and seeing other places. In a lot of ways it feels like
a good opportunity. Yeah, it is. What’s on the menu? Going to stick some chips on and
then chilli con carne on top
probably. HE LAUGHS Unlike most of his brothers,
Jordan does have qualifications. Not that they’ve helped. I’ve applied for hundreds
of different jobs. Supermarket jobs or, just, you know,
cleaning jobs, baby-sitting jobs, anything. Most of them don’t even bother
getting back to me. Honestly, I feel like a lot
of companies now, when you apply for them, you know, they look at your application
and they just slide it to the side. SMOKE ALARM Are they done? Yeah. I mean, what can you do for money?
Moneywise? Erm… I’ve no idea. Good girl. I think working-class people
in general feel this kind of thing weighing down upon them, and I can’t
put it into words of what it is. But I think people watching this
will understand that you feel it pushing you down all the time. Baba-ba. No babas, no. I’m pretty good with money, but I
don’t want to do it all by myself. He needs to help me, so that’s where
a lot of the arguing comes in. You have to do, like, a mile
and a half run, the Paras, that’s the hardest one to get in,
and that’s nine minute 45. I got eight minute 20. There are other tests as well.
Online tests. But on the literacy one I failed.
Two points away, I was. That same cycle over and over again. They grow up, have kids, and they’ve
got nothing to give them. If there’s no opportunities, real
opportunities out there for them, how are they ever going to progress? How are they ever going to get
the confidence to say, “I want to go to college,
I want to go to university?” I would have been going in next
month to do 42 weeks of training. So you failed by
two points on literacy? Yeah, yeah. A lot of working-class people
in general, and people from where I’m from, know that they’ve
been robbed of something. Robbed of some kind of opportunity
that a lot of other people in this society can access. Just through the biological lottery. And there’s something
wrong about that, isn’t there? ENGINE REVS Being working class is not fun.
It’s just not. Do you think it’s difficult then
to kind of get out of this kind of lifestyle for
people? You’re looking at zero hours, and you’re looking at the rubbish
pay that people are getting. It’s barely keeping them afloat. And I think this is why
a lot of people turn to crime. Well, I feel safer. FROM RADIO: Manchester United
against Manchester City. What’s going on today, mate? I’m hoping to kick
the fuck out of a Red. LAUGHTER SHOUTING