Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Progressive Nick?

Nick Clegg’s article in the Guardian last week surrounding the issue of equality and his favourite catchphrase ‘fairness’ has finally laid bare his ideals for the more progressive and fair society he campaigned with such vigour about earlier this year. For many who chose to vote for him in May this may well leave as bitter a taste as his and the Lib Dems decision to raise tuition fees.
Clegg states that “Social mobility is what characterises a fair society, rather than a particular level of income equality.” As many progressives know social mobility is essential in creating a more equal society but as Clegg fails to ascertain it is only truly beneficial, never mind plausible, in a society with high levels of income equality.

The UK currently finds itself with its largest ever gap between the richest and poorest in society and thus a very low level of income equality. With Clegg’s refusal to support greater income equality by deeming supporters of maintaining the 50 pence high tax rate as ‘old progressives’ he fails to understand that without it social mobility is nigh on impossible.

The closer the income gaps in society the easier it is not only to climb up the salary scale but to come down. The higher the income gaps the harder it is to step up, no matter what tools are in place, and more importantly the harder it is for the highest to come down. Also Clegg’s inability to talk about how, if at all, the UK’s tax system needs reforming highlights how he is in favour, systematically at least, of the status quo.

But of course does the ConDem government really want greater equality after all??? For as George Eaton stated in relation to Clegg’s article in the New Stateman “greater inequalities of outcome make it easier for rich parents to pass on their advantages to their children.”

As coincidently many of the government happen to be millionaires who are privately educated we can rest assured that the ‘new progressives’ may well be new but are in no way progressive.


Tom @ Eyes on Power said...

Newspeak strikes again! This is standard ConDem distortion of language, or 'Clegging' as it should be known. We need to wrestle terms like 'fairness' away from the neoliberal right or we'll find ourselves with no words left to express our dissent in.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear

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