Politicians claim social mobility is real – a just reward for ambition and hard work. This book proves otherwise. From servants’ children who became clerks in Victorian Britain, to managers made redundant by the 2008 financial crash, travelling up or down the social ladder has been a fact of British life for more than a century. Drawing on hundreds of personal stories, Snakes and Ladders tells the hidden history of how people have really experienced that social mobility – both upwards and down. It shows how a powerful elite on the top rungs have clung to their perch and prevented others ascending. It also introduces the unsung heroes who created more room at the top – among them adult educators, feminists and trade unionists, whose achievements unleashed the hidden talents of thousands of people. As we face political crisis after crisis, Snakes and Ladders argues that only by creating greater opportunities for everyone to thrive can we ensure the survival of our society
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