As I've said any number of times the old class constructs are dead.
About class constructs...
They're certainly not enforced any more and the fact that aristocrats exist means nothing. The fact that plummy-voiced people who live in gated communities or have second homes or at least one pony means nothing. That, I assure you, is not a "C" word thing. It's a money thing.
Class constructs have always been with us
From the earliest times, some of the people who were more clever or more skilled than their fellows saw fit to create dependency among their fellows in order to lord it over them — and get them to do all the work. Hunters would go out and kill a large animal, then the rest of the tribe would skin it and process the meat, etc. Farmers would acquire more and more land, then rent it out to sharecroppers or tenant farmers. This was the beginning of the social contracts that begat class. It's been with us from the days of the Neanderthals.
Class constructs have always been fluid
In theory, class is rigidly defined and enforced but even the briefest glimpse at a history book will show you that people of ability can't be kept down; however humble their origins were, they rose to the top and were counted among the elite. Napoleon is a prime example of this. Even here in the UK, class could never be fully and completely enforced. Ever heard of William Wallace? Thomas Wolsey? These men rose up the ranks in society when class distinctions were being enforced.
The Black Death enabled workers to set their own wages as the market swung their way for a change; artisans formed guilds to enforce protectionist policies that ensured a good standard of living.
The Enclosure Act of 1604 gave rise to a new group of landowners who joined the ranks of the yeomanry. These people took advantage of the loss of the commons to enlarge their holdings and increase their acreage, creating the patchwork fields we see in our countryside today. The adventurers, buccaneers, and privateers of the Elizabethan age drove trade in exotica, which created a wealthy mercantile class and resulted in the formation of the East India Company. Later on, the Industrial Revolution, funded by the mercantilists, enabled many a rags-to-riches dream to come true. Class, I say, has always been an illusion. It has never been possible to completely enforce the distinctions between our social strata.
Is there a class war going on or not?
There's only one group actively engaged in waging class war and that's the Marxist lefties.
This lower middle-class — as “The Communist Manifesto” proclaims — “stands half-way between the proletariat and the capitalist class. Being a necessary complement of capitalist society, this class is constantly being reborn.”
...There are only two classes capable of governing: the class of great capitalists, and the proletariat...
...If it once manages, under whatsoever disguise, to reappear in the arena of the workers’ struggle, it will use all its energies to the end that it may remain the proprietor of its little shop, and the client of capitalism. It demands first of all “the re-establishment of credit” — but this cry is, for the lower middle class, only “a disguised form of the cry for the re-establishment of private property.” - Marx and the middle classes
Funnily enough, those neoreactionary rabid right toerags at the other end of the spectrum have almost identical views, particularly where the middle-income earners are concerned; they're hell-bent on destroying them on the same binary grounds. The basic idea is, the far left don't like the middle because they usually side with the right over law and order, while the far right don't like the middle because they usually side with the left over social justice.
What can we talk about instead?
When my left-leaning friends defined "anyone who does a job in exchange for a wage" as "working class," I feel obliged to point out that Her Majesty the Queen works and gets paid for it. This is deflection, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." The real enemy here is the neoreactionary movement and its neoliberal allies. These are the people jacking up Michelle Dorrell's rent and bills, then denying her the tax credits she requires to feed and clothe her kids. The problem is not that she's losing her tax credits, but that she needs them. Rental costs are spiralling out of control and the only answer from the right is, "Move elsewhere."
Okay, where does this stop? Why should we just shut up and accept it when some Loadsamoney-a-like stomps in and yells,
"Shut yo' mouf an' look at my wad. I got loadsamoney! This is now a trendy area, right, so if you carn't afford to live 'ere no more, sod orf and go live somewhere else. They've got Pound shops in the Ou'er 'Ebrides, don't they? You can get a job in one of them, and fish and grow spuds to supplement your income, innit?"
Give me a reason. Just one reason. And it'd better be better than "Taking other people's money." I'm not a fan of supplier-first economics in which people who supply items trade on the basis of "Vote with your wallet." When the market is rigged they'll win every time. And believe me, the housing, energy, and transport markets are rigged.
The elites of the Brave New World
As much as the neoreactionaries may claim to support a return to a feudal system of rule by force by unelected elites, the fact is, mobility is just as fluid in their system as in this, it's just that the process is more brutal. Even if we don't reach critical mass and all the left-wing carping about inequality, pollution from fracking, and people dying as a result of benefit and services cuts doesn't result in a glorious revolution that kicks the neoreactionaries into orbit round Pluto, there will still be opportunities to join the 1% because people of ability will always be able to do just that regardless of their social backgrounds. And don't kid yourselves; aristocrats don't generally look after each other when one of their number falls on hard times. If they did, titles wouldn't be for sale and stately homes would not be open to the public, would they?
There is not and never was a class war on the part of the elite. There has always been a Darwinian struggle to eliminate competition and wriggle into the best possible position. The elites, then, are those people who managed to make or hold onto the most money and power, whether they are titled nobility or not. Those people who claim there is a class war are either splitters trying to recruit followers or ideologues who have never questioned the party line. If we want to get the Tories out in 2020 we are going to have to caucus with the left. They are going to have to become more inclusive in their approach — and leave the dinosaur politics behind.