Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Polly: class dunce

Is it worth attempting to pick through the latest mush from Polly Toynbee? Will any of us gain from such an act of self-sacrifice on my part? Here's the headline and sub-title:

Money busts the convenient myth that social class is dead

Britain likes to pretend it has moved on: but birth determines our destiny and income more now than it did 50 years ago
So, Polly's going to attempt to bust a myth - only there is no myth, convenient or otherwise, illustrated by, according to her, everyone she speaks to on the subject. I suppose it's part of her modus that she needs to be slaying a dragon in order to motivate herself. Take the mythical myth away, and all she's doing is writing up a report on the current state of class in our society (and puffing her new Ministry of Truth Radio 4 series on the subject).

What she does is trawl through the figures, note that people mainly consider themselves middle-class these days, chat to people who 'reveal' that class still plays a part, whinge that their is less social mobility, but I've no clear idea, and I don't think she has, what she actually wants.

There is a clue in the last paragraph when she name-checks the egalitarians' holy scripture, 'The Spirit Level'. The presumption is thus, that she wants everyone to be equal, but equal what?

What we will not find, I expect, is any kind of analysis which looks at the results of Polly and co.'s egalitarian / welfarist agenda, which has been running rampant for decades, with one example being the abolition of grammar schools. This was intended to make everyone equal, by kicking away the main ladder which enabled kids from a working class background to rise to higher positions. Was this a success or failure, in Polly's terms? I can't say because I can't work out what Polly's terms are.

Come what may, no doubt the conclusion of Polly's thought process will be: more government action, higher taxes, more wealth transfer, indeed more of the same that we've seen over the last fifty years. The notion that these socialistic policies may be part of the problem will escape her.

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