There's a section on one of those C4 "yoof" programs called "Chav or Chav not" where minor celebs are invited to guess whether random people on the street self-identify as Chav.
The inexorable rise of chav detracting is proof only of what a despicably snobby and curtain-twitching nation we are becoming, once again

Oh don't be such a wet liberal. It reflects the fact that Britain is finally casting off its shell of anal-retentive politeness and giving antisocial scumbags the stigma they deserve.

We had original snobbery, then we had inverse snobbery (which, fascinatingly, actually means I come into my own natural father's class of "Fi-eau-nas", aka little girls who ride horses); now we're getting the backlash against the backlash and going back to calling a scumbag a scumbag, and with venomous satisfaction at finally getting the chance to make their lives a little bit more unpleasant for a change instead of the other way round. But every trip round the cycle reflects a step closer to a balance, which will presumably be a society where it's neither acceptable to hound people solely because they're Not Posh nor to be a shamelessly obnoxious and socially irresponsible sponger.

If what you're complaining about is the broadening of the term 'chav' to include 'anyone who isn't as posh as the person using the word', then I can point you at numerous sources going back as far as ancient Egypt which bemoan the way language is going to hell in a handbasket and the petty hypocrisy of human nature.
I don't have a problem with calling scumbags as such, I would just define that by what people do rather than by what they wear. The criticism is, in general, on taste grounds, which is snobbery pure and simple. And inverse snobbery is snobbery also - two wrongs, famously, not cancelling each other out.

shamelessly obnoxious and socially irresponsible sponger.

The majority of people labelled chavs work like anyone else. This assumption (and it is just an assumption) that your stigmatised group are lazy and feckless is just one more example of what I'm talking about.

And snobbery being traditional doesn't make it respectable.
Hmmm... having read the article, it's a guardian writer writing an article deploring an ex-guardian writer for defending a social group who are supposedly persecuted by guardian readers. Even by the high standards of weekend broadsheet journalism that article was so far up its own "analysing the analysis of the analysis arse" it should properly be read with an endoscope.

Paul Flynn:"Earth to Julie: Chavs do not want you as their saviour! They do not even know who you are."

Oh, the irony, it hurts my eyes.
So the fact that Burchill used to work for GMEN means that she can't be criticised? Or is it the bit about them not knowing who she is that you think is wrong/lamentable? I don't understand what point you have here. In any case, he wasn't saying that she's wrong, but that she's irrelevant (which AFAICT was the majority view among writers and readers when she was with the paper anyway), and the main thrust of the article wasn't about her but about the sudden enthusiasm to see chavs everywhere - which I notice you haven't commented on at all.

defending a social group who are supposedly persecuted by guardian readers.

By Guardian readers? In my experience, it's not The Grauniad which prints articles about them.
Never used the term myself, but the fact that Julie Burchill says the same makes me think there might be something in it...
I loathed and despised people who enjoy being antisocial, offensive, destructive and aggressive before there was this handy label for one set of them.
But if you wear Burberry and tracksuits and aren't any of those things, you'll still get called a chav. It's just not defined by behaviour any more - if it ever was. Several articles have claimed that it was popularised by Popbitch, who used it solely as a mark of poor taste (by their definition).
Thames estuary word, apparently, probably from Romany, and I believe it did previously imply someone was a thief. It only hit the mainstream once it had been extended to say that people were just cheap, though.
I'm probably in the minority here in refusing to use insulting labels like chav or pikey.

I don't like the behaviour (that I've seen) of loud mouthed working class with fake labels and jewelled-clown necklaces, but whether or not that is "chav" or "pikey" isn't important to me.

So I'll avoid calling people names like chav, pikey, spaz. But on the other hand, I'll quite happily refuse to buy a clothing item because it's "common".

Maybe I am old fashioned.
When I was at school (posh single-sex vile place) in the 80s, many of the other girls used the terms Sharon and Barry to mock people whose clothes, accent and interests marked them out as of a different social class. (Shellsuits, white stilettos, pink lipstick, glottal stops, h-dropping, fondness for football or New Kids on the Block or Blind Date or 18-30 holidays...) Chav seems to be used in very similar ways now by many middle class people I know; it may also be used with a slightly different referent (petty criminals etc.) by others, though.

(Basically I agree with you.)
(grin) My school wasn't notably posh. The words Sharon and Kev were used to mark out people whose clothes and interests marked them out as a different part of the same social class. (The word "Barry" for some reason was used to indicate supposed mental impairment.)
Well said mate.

Chav hating is bourgeois. Criticising people for antisocial behavoiur - fine. Criticising people for their aesthetic values - acceptable. Assuming that anyone who wears Burberry and lives in a Council house is violent, stupid and criminal - knee jerk middle class ignorant stereotyping.
I clearly left the planet a few years ago and I have no idea what this "chav" refers to. Maybe I should read that article. But I got as far as "julie Burchill" and figured I didn't want to know anymore.
But being spiteful and snobbish is the most fun part about being middle class. Take that away and we'd be nothing but a pile of Tupperware in a damp puddle of earnestness.

(I'm happy to use the royal we here if no one else will admit middle classedness.)
Translate for Americans?
(Anonymous)
I'm still not clear what a chav is...is it like a casual?
Re: Translate for Americans?
Yes, sort of. Regardless of the universal claim once challenged that what's disliked is threatening behaviour, unwillingness to work, or criminality, in my experience most of the comments and the most venomous comments are to do with style. The chav's crime seems to be, as far as I can tell, being cheap and tasteless in other people's eyes.