Saturday, August 02, 2008

Chris Grayling MP: Please Go to Bottom of Class

Five Spectator Coffee House readers have won T-shirts and souvenir magazines for some extraordinary banal questions for me old schooly Chris Grayling. Asking him instead where he got his ridiculous fibs about the poverty gap being the worst since Victorian times would have been rather better.

Was Chris really asking us to believe things are worse for the poorest now than for Oliver and the Orphans or Tom and the Water Babies? No wonder he floundered when challenged on Newsnight last week. Even his climbdown there, fast forwarding to the great depression shows an excess of twaddle over substance. Please go to the bottom of the class Mr Grayling.


Anonymous said...

Strangely, also exactly the same point about the povert gap was made last night by Roy Hattersley on Any Questions.

The operative word is "gap". I don't think anybody is suggesting that people are poorer now in absolute terms, just that Labour are making the differnce even larger and social mobility even harder.

Do you think the ex-Deputy Leader of the Labour Party should also go to the bottom of the class?

Chris Paul said...

I'm sure he didn't put the same codswallop point as Grayling anon. And he certainly wouldn't have caved immediately Gavin Esler - not even Paxo - objected to the obvious insanity of it all.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that Hattersley didn't use the inane (and probably unprovable) phrase "since Victorian times". However, the central point remains - under this Labour regime the gap between rich and poor is at the greatest it has been for many, many years and it is getting bigger.

You cannot disguise the fact that this means people who are born into poverty are far more likely to live their entire lives and die in poverty.

Just what exactly is the Labour Party for?

Chris Paul said...

How many years anon?

And is it not the case that (a) absolute poverty is massively reduced under Labour; (b) the lot of the lower five deciles is substantially (e.g. 10% +) improved overall with little pain for the upper two deciles and none for the 6th-8th; (c) the moving target of reducing relative poverty is of course very very hard to meet in times of steady, nay relentless economic growth.

This will presumably have you rejoicing if there should be a recession and particularly if the unearned income wallahs, rentiers and uber-rich slump into being merely super-rich - thereby closing the relative poverty gap??

Anonymous said...

No, absolute poverty is not massively declining under Labour. Child poverty, in absolute figures, has reduced slightly, although nowhere near the suipposed 'targets' that Brown set out as an election promise.

More importantly, this has been done at the expense of another section of society. While child poverty is on the decline, the number of children in extreme poverty has risen by over 700,000 - the poor are being baled out by the very poor. Still, I suppose it's redistribution of a kind.

I will certainly not be rejoicing at the advent of a recession, but if it does help you reach the 'moving target' of reducing relative poverty then I suppose it is an ill economic wind.

And if the uver-rich don't stay uber-rich then just who will dig the Labour Party out of its £20 million debt - as they have done before?


I think the debate is cast in the wrong terms. Materially, people are certainly not as poor as they once were, but we're now moving on to deskilling and other kinds of degeneration: unemployment and increasing unemployability; family breakdown; child neglect and abuse; self-harm and self-neglect; abuse of drink and drugs. The underclass is rotting. Meanwhile, the classes slightly above them are struggling with declining disposable income. The poverty we have now is social, psychological, moral and (in the widest sense) educational.

Anonymous said...

I (almost) totally agree.

If there wasn't such a huge and growing gap between rich and poor in this country then it would be less important that it is becoming increasingly unlikely that people can improve their own economic well-being.

If there wasn't such a clampdown on social mobility then it wouldn't matter so much that there is such a poverty gap.

For all the reasons you give, sackerson, (and more) I think that the combination of these two factors is both immoral in itself and storing up huge problems for ourselves.