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EDITIONS
Monday, 26 August, 2002, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Meet the Meldrews...
Richard Wilson as Victor Meldrew
The Meldrews are miserable about the NHS ...
Now there is a new social group for politicians to worry about, according to a polling organisation - the Meldrews.

Named after permanently put-out Victor Meldrew, hero of the BBC's sitcom One Foot in the Grave, they are successful and suburban but fed up with the way the country is run.

They are among the least deferential members of society, and according to Mori, there could be as many as 7.5 million of them in the UK.

Mori's statistics indicate that between 1999 and 2001, ratings of the quality of life in London, Essex and Kent rose among people aged less than 24 or more than 65.

But it fell among those aged between 35 and 54 - those identified as the Meldrews.

Ben Page, of Mori, told the BBC's Today programme this group was bearing the brunt of longer working hours and resented overtime eating into their lives.

"We have some of the longest working hours in Europe and these people are of prime working age," he said.


These people are trying to bring up kids worried about what is happening around them

Ben Page,
Mori
The Meldrews were also most critical of the government and pessimistic about public services.

"Younger and older generations are quite optimistic about the National Health Service."

The Meldrews were even miserable about education, "which across the population as a whole is one of the government's success stories", Mr Page said.

"These people are trying to bring up kids worried about what is happening around them.

'Disillusioned'

"They are beneficiaries of rising house prices - but are stretching themselves as their families grow to buy bigger and more expensive properties.


This Meldrew category are really going to turn against New Labour in a pretty severe and ferocious way

Professor Richard Scase
"And they are among the 40% of the population making heavy use of public transport."

Many Meldrews are already deserting Blair's Britain, according sociologist Professor Richard Scase, author of Britain in 2010.

"France is seen as a great place to go because of the quality of life there, which according to this Meldrew group has been lost in Britain because of the major social and economic changes we have experienced," he told Today.

"This is a group that became disillusioned with the Conservative Party in the late 1990s, was attracted to New Labour and Tony Blair, gave him a chance to see what he could do and has now given him a second chance.

"But if he does not deliver in the next couple of years, this Meldrew category are really going to turn against New Labour in a pretty severe and ferocious way."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rory Maclean
"Meldrews are often high achievers"
See also:

13 Aug 02 | Politics
05 Aug 02 | Politics
04 Apr 02 | Politics
18 Dec 01 | Business
08 Aug 01 | Politics
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