THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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BBC News - Rich-poor divide 'wider than 40 years ago'

This doesn't surprise me. The portrayal of the Thatcherite times of my youth by the left-wing establishment has long been ridiculous. It's amusing that it takes such statistics to give the lie to their distortion of history. It's more than amusing that, having acknowledged without thinking that things were (in their terms) better in the Thatcher era, they will now propose more of everything that made matters "worse".

Inequality is not a bug, it's a feature. Like a young man I once knew whose whole career was propelled by one ride in a Ferrari, young people need fuel for ambition. They need to aspire to things that they can't have if they don't make an effort with their education and career. People are different. They don't all have to want the same things. Maybe other youngsters would be inspired to create wealth for the chance it could bring to cure AIDS or cancer. Maybe they just want financial independence to enjoy quiet leisure. The fact remains that if the equality Labour bangs on about so much were actually ever to be achieved, few except saints and sadists would put in much effort.

Every government intervention to create equality will make things "worse". Consider the extreme level of "intervention" adopted in Soviet times. It resulted in huge inequalities between the lifestyle of shop floor or agricultural workers and the Party bosses. Arguably they were far greater than in capitalist countries, where the biggest bosses of the most powerful companies did not enjoy anything like such power over their fellow men.

My driver in post-communist Poland was the son of the General Director of a State Enterprise. They used to fly to their family holidays on the Black Sea in his personal helicopter. Worse, he was offered a place at medical school on the basis of his father's status. Thankfully, he was responsible enough to decline, knowing he was not smart enough. Every time I met a Polish doctor of a certain age, I wondered how responsible he had been when offered such a chance. Every time I hear a Labour politician propose to force universities to take account of the class background of applicants, I remember that story.

All this was happening while at the same time production was being driven into the ground because, in the words of the proverb of those times, for the ordinary worker; 

"Standing up or lying down it's still five zloties an hour"

Why has inequality increased since the 1970s in Britain? Because Labour destroyed (and the Conservatives did not stop them) the grammar schools. If you are born today into the sort of community where I grew up, your only educational option (unless your family is already very wealthy) is a shabby comprehensive school with an appalling academic record and a bad attitude to the very idea of achievement. If you dare to aspire academically, the negative peer pressure from a proudly ignorant community will be reinforced, rather than balanced, by left-wing teaching staff. They will sneer at your "elitism". Your time will be wasted on political indoctrination, and on staff dealing with kids who should never be in the same classroom with you.

If you are black, female or gay you will be told that you are doomed by racism, male chauvinism and homophobia (all of which exist, and none of which have ever prevented anyone from achieving who had talent and actually made an effort). What effect do you expect such teachings to have? Would any sports coach tell his players they have no chance? So, if you are a good boy or girl and believe your teachers, you will actually do less well than if you rebel.

You may well be better off leaving school early and starting a business, provided you are not stupid enough to grow it to the point where it creates employment, thus attracting the attention of the regulators. How many of our glut of cardboard graduates earn enough more than non-graduates to justify their investment? Education doesn't increase equality of opportunity across society as a whole unless, paradoxically perhaps, it gives opportunities to individuals to rise above their peers, whether financially or otherwise.

A rational society strives for quality, not equality. It strives to give those who have talent the maximum incentive to deploy it. A vibrant society that efficiently harnesses the energies of its most talented members is a richer society overall. The creations of the creative and the output of the industrious may fill their bank accounts more than others, but their effort benefits all. The corollary of that is that the idleness of others, costs everyone. A rational society therefore incentivises effort and never rewards idleness. In pursuit of the chimera of "equality" Britain has adopted precisely the opposite approach. Now we can see that, even in its own terms, it doesn't work.


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Peter Whale

So right Tom. I was a product of a grammar school in the East end of London, left school at seventeen (1958) then went to work and then into business. I had a schoolfriend who became a successful money broker for a major bank and ended up teaching others the money game for the bank. These guys were out out of public school and university. His first lesson and first sentence to them in a distinct east end accent was "Eton Arrer you know fuck all about life listen and learn or fuck off" He was by far their best teacher.
Sadly that education springboard that allowed him from the East end of London and many others to make the leap out of poverty and more importantly to personal self-fulfilment is now no longer available to kids from poor backgrounds. The educationalists should be ashamed that they have allowed their profession to be so politicised.


I second the motion. If only someone who wanted to be Prime Minister would read this and the light bulb go off....

The Equality Bill that was rejected by the Lords seems to be a prime example of why this government, and HM Opposition, just don't get it. I am coming around to your comment about racism, chauvinism, and homophobia - and I think you can add 'equality' to that list - that their existence is not a barrier to talented people. If a business or person does not wish to hire someone through some form of prejudice, and that candidate is a good candidate, that person or business will suffer, as they have lost the chance to improve their enterprise. The prejudice will come at a price to them, which they have to bear. Sounds about right to me - it is self-correcting (or punishing if you prefer).

The candidate, with their talents, will have to find another opportunity. This may seem unfair, but I think there are two reasons why this is not. First, no candidate (should) want to be somewhere by forcing the issue as it will not enable them to flourish. Most of those with talent, ambition and drive wish to achieve on the basis of their talents, rather than their membership of a category of a legislated 'beneficiaries'. Secondly, and more importantly, enough of this world focuses on merit, and will give them that opportunity that their talents deserve. I think it does no-one, the candidate, the ones with prejudice, or the ones who wish to comply with these ever stupid laws, any benefit to make decisions on the basis of a real or imagined sense of duress to follow such laws.

It must also be said that those without the necessary talent, drive and ambition, will have to lower their sights to something that is more suitable, just like the rest of us. None of us is entitled to be a brain surgeon/high court judge/celebrity on television/cleaner just because we want to be.....

It gets back to the simple equation of equality of opportunity versus the equality of outcomes. Labour has pursued with the full power and resource of an ever expanding state the latter, and in doing so has destroyed, for all, the former.

If only there was an alternative in May.....

Mr angryman

Brilliant post. This sums up exactly how I feel. As a child of thatcher I became used to being told just how evil she and her ilk were, how they had destroyed the public services, how education had suffered, how the poor had got poorer and the rich richetwhilst the evil Tories enriched themselves. We were told that when it wasour tine to vote we would have change, and things would be better, that the new improved labour party would never make the same mistakes, they would stand up for the little man. Well we now know how that has turned out, lies and more lies.

I yearn for the return of politicians who actually believe in something, who want to serve the public and who have enough personal honour to resign when they fail

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