Azara Blog: Britain allegedly not socially mobile

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Date published: 2005/04/24

Channel 4 News says:

Research shows the British now have less mobility in income and educational opportunity than our key European neighbours -- and it's getting worse...

Opportunity for all. That's been New Labour's mantra - repeated at every opportunity in this campaign. But today New Labour stands accused of denying the least privileged in society exactly that.

A new report out tomorrow - but seen exclusively by Channel 4 news - reveals those from underprivileged backgrounds are less likely to "better themselves" than they were thirty years ago.

And while social mobility is improving in most developed countries, in Britain it is getting worse, with more and more advantages going to those from already wealthy backgrounds.
The data shows how well people from different backgrounds had done financially by the age of 30.

So what's going wrong?

Channel 4 News is easily the best news programme on British television, so it's a bit sad to see them stoop to this kind of garbage report. Children born in 1970 were 27 when Labour came to power in 1997. To associate anything to do with their life in 2000, when they were 30, with Labour policies is just ridiculous. And interesting that the only measure considered to be relevant in life is how much money you make when you are 30.

Of course all the usual suspects come out at election time, because this is the perfect opportunity to make a stink, and the "poverty lobby" is doing that here. The definition of poverty/inequality is one that uses relative differences to claim there is a problem. Even if nearly every person in Britain has a job, even if nearly everyone has reasonable access to health care, even if nearly everyone is mobile (either via a car or so-called public transport), even if nearly every person has enough to eat, the poverty lobby will claim there is a problem, because some people will earn more than others. The only way the poverty lobby will disappear is if Britain becomes a socialist utopia, where everybody earns exactly the same as everyone else.

Channel 4 News had representatives from the three main political parties on the news to talk about this story, and of course they all played along and claimed the situation was terrible, etc. You have to laugh when the political elite say how dreadful the ordinary middle class is for daring to look out for the best interests of their children. Funny, you never notice the political elite having children who end up badly educated or poor, unless they are complete no hopers.

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