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Social Injustice

A new study, based upon the census date from 1991 and 2001, has concluded that New Labour’s redistributive policies and demands for social justice, have failed to halt the long-term trend towards greater inequality. If you live in the South, in the countryside or the suburb and are well-educated, you are likely to be richer and healthier.

In our post-Christian society, the researchers have still taken the biblical warning that the poor will always be present to heart. Of course, they now have to redefine the poverty in order to substantiate their conclusion that Britain is more unequal:

The poverty measure used is the Breadline Britain measure
This defines a household as poor if the majority of people in Britain, at the time of calculation, would think that household to be poor

Britain is more unequal because the majority of the population have concluded that it has become more unequal. Hmmm…

Nevertheless, there are stretches of genuine poverty in Britain where families will go hungry for the sake of their children.

The research appeared to confirm other reports earlier this month which showed that about half of Glasgow’s population lived in deprived areas, with many parents going hungry in order to feed their children.

The actions of parents in such straitened circumstances are admirable, but their sacrifice is surely unnecessary. It is another example of socialism condemning the past and endeavouring to repeat it.

Shouldn’t advocates of social justice campaign for the abolition of the Common Agricultural Policy and the removal of all EU tariffs on agricultural products, providing cheaper food for all, especially the deprived of Glasgow, who are going hungry in the 21st century?

19 comments to Social Injustice

  • But ending tariffs means local farmers will not be able to compete against the global market. Putting more people out of work.

    A few American farmers are finding they can still get by by going organic, but times are tough for the locals with tariffs removed.

  • Nyarlathotep

    But ending tariffs means local farmers will not be able to compete against the global market. Putting more people out of work.

    So what? A few people lose their jobs, which are subsidised by other people… but those other people then have more money to spend on things they want (like better or more food for example) and thereby generate real jobs elsewhere. How is that bad? If everyone is subsidised, everyone suffers… less subsidy means more people putting their money where it satisfied genuine needs and not politically derived ones.

  • This may make me sound terribly callous, but who gives a damn? Agriculture only comprises a small amount of the workforce and GDP of the UK, so a ‘loss of ‘jobs’ would not have any major impact on unemployment in general. Besides, if a person wants to buy goods that are cheaper from around the globe, why is that so reprehensible?

    As for inequality, hasn’t there been a ‘North/South divide’ for some time? And isn’t one of the primary reasons for this London’s position as a global financial centre?

    I’m a libertarian and not a socialist, so I see nothing inherently wrong with economic inequality per se. To me inequality is only a ‘bad thing’ if it’s too excessive.

  • David Rainey

    The poverty measure used is the Breadline Britain measure This defines a household as poor if the majority of people in Britain, at the time of calculation, would think that household to be poor

    I did some digging on this for a usenet posting. It appears that this is an aggregate score of adding up all those households who have any of six “poverty indicators”. They are: No Car, Not a home owner, Lone parent, unemployed, long term sick & “low social class”.

    Interestingly, the richest person I know scores 50% on this scale. Hmm, indeed.

  • Doug Collins

    Re: the loss of jobs because of tariff repeal.

    I don’t have a source for this so, if anyone wants to deny it, I can’t stop you. However, the more credulous might be interested to know that in the US, studies have shown that preserving a $50,000/yr job from more efficient foreign competition costs the rest of the economy about $200,000. It would be much cheaper to pay the worker at, say, $40,000/yr for just being idle, if the entities otherwise paying the $200,000 could somehow be charged this instead.

    Obviously it would be even better for the idled worker to find something to do that the rest of the economy actually needs and wants and then to do that. An effective anti-unemployment program would put most of its efforts into providing this intelligence to the unemployed who are usually in a poor position to gather this information themselves. (I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t take the first job offered, that you should remember that the employer has to sell himself to you as much as you to him etc. etc. Yeah right, when the mortgage is going unpaid and the car needs repairs and you don’t know where another offer is going to come from.)

    Government agencies, staffed by people who have never had an enterpreneurial thought in their lives, are manifestly not the authorities who can provide this information. There should be a business opportunity here for someone, if they can figure out how essentially broke people can pay for this obviously valuable information. Employment agencies don’t really do this. They sell their product – pre screened prospective emplyees- to their real clients, the employers who pay them. They have little incentive to pass along information. If it is a real job opportunity, they will go after it themselves.

    I would like to write, that if the ‘Social Justice’ activists really wanted to help the poor and unemployed, they could set up something like this, instead of pestering the productive. However I’m afraid that if I did, I would break down laughing so hard that I would never get this posted.

  • Bob Dacron

    The gap is historic – 100 years ago the Jarrow marchers walked barefoot to London from Newcastle to protest that they had no work. To read the findings of this research, things have not improved but I would dispute that by seeing northern cities with my own eyes.

    The situation has even got better since 2001. Newcastle has a top university which is a world centre for genetic research, has a very strong retail sector and house prices are rising faster there than anywhere else in the UK.

    Go to their Quayside – the regeneration is magnificent, art galleries, music centres, concert venues – it’s a renaissaince. Gateshead even gets overseas tourists!And the patrons don’t look too poverty stricken on a Friday and Saturday night.

    It’s the same in Glasgow, Edingburgh, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

    This research is flawed and probably written by Marxists in an attempt to get more money from London to the provinces – I for one am not fooled.

  • Julian Morrison

    But ending tariffs means local farmers will not be able to compete against the global market.

    They aren’t farmers. They’re government employees, in “working” farm museums.

    Putting more people out of work.

    Horse-drawn buggies should be subsidized, lest the motorcar put stable hands and blacksmiths out of work! Or not. When an unproductive job goes, the money saved ends up creating more replacement jobs for those laid off.

  • zmollusc

    Hmm… perhaps some unskilled labour tasks currently performed in london could be outsourced to the poor of glasgow? Replacing the recently destroyed brit art could be the first job.

  • Cydonia

    “The research appeared to confirm other reports earlier this month which showed that about half of Glasgow’s population lived in deprived areas, with many parents going hungry in order to feed their children.”

    I was unable to find any link to the “other reports” which apparently show parents going hungry in order to feed their children. The BBC page has no link to the other reports which they mention. Googling turned up nothing. If it is true, it is alarming. If it untrue, the BBC has some explaining to do.

  • Guy Herbert

    This was the link you were after, Cydonia. Plain enough on the BBC page I was referred to.

    The “reports” in question being press releases from the pressure-group-charity NCH–which simultaneously is demanding fat taxes–they should perhaps be taken with a pich of low-sodium salt substitute.

  • drscroogemcduck

    hmmmm. From the article it seems they are comparing the cost fresh food with fast food.

    The price of convenience food is going up more slowly than items such as fresh fruit.

    I’m sure if you can’t afford the high cost of fresh fruit and vegetables in the big city you could easily substitute it with tinned and frozen produce. Not to mention most frozen vegetables are incredibly convenient to cook.

  • Dave T

    Poverty was ‘defined’ a while ago as covering families who smoke, have a TV, PC and Internet connection! Poverty in Africa is real poverty, in the UK the majority of the so called ‘poor’ people in my town (in Scotland in an area with the lowest wages in the UK) have cars, go the pub or bingo regularly, have two or more TVs and are always bragging about how much they make on the side after they take benefits and disability. Of course there are real poor families but how many kids have we seen starved to death for lack of food rather than being beaten by druggie parents in the UK….? Lets beat ‘poverty’ in the UK by making people take some responsibility for their kids – I sold my wedding ring for £5 when I was a young soldier with 3 kids to get money for food one weekend in the 1980s – with all these benefits around why are people still in poverty or is it yet again ‘pay more get less’ under a so called Socialist government? Where’s the money going?

  • Interesting, I was reading about agricultural subsidies in Jonah Norberg’s In Defense of Global Capitalism just this morning. Among other things he says (and this may well be Doug’s source):

    [French economist Patrick] Messerlin maintains that roughly 3 per cent of the jobs in the sectors he has investigated [in the EU] have been rescued by protectionism. Each job costs around $200,000 per year, which is roughly 10 times the average wage in these industries.

    Other fun statistics include 40 per cent of the EU budget goes dirtectly to the richest 20 per cent of farmers (less than 1% of the population). And each cow gets enough subsidy each year to fly it around the world business class (presumably in one of those nice flat beds BA have).

    So yeah, doesn’t really seem value for money to me.

  • Bob Dacron

    Apart from harrassing me in the street, is this all these so called charities like the RSPCA and NCH do?

    Commission their own (biased) research that conveniently fits in with their political goals then release it to the BBC who then broadcast it to the nation without question or thought.

    Charities – political lobbies more like it. I wouldn’t give them a penny.

    And anyway no one forced you to get a pet at home – your choice. And unless you have a very old pooch I doubt they pre-date the Gunpowder Plot.

    Buy pet ear protectors, or better still train your mut not to be afraid of loud bangs.

  • Chris Goodman

    Do they realise that a report on poverty means precisely nothing? In the UK such reports are written by Guardian readers for Guardian readers. A Guardian reader is not interested in improving living standards. Indeed they are actively opposed to a high standard of living. Is it ok for somebody to inherit wealth? Are such people lobbying for a system that generates wealth? Of course not! A Guardian reader is not even interested in having an egalitarian society. How dare a Sun reader earn enough to spend money on villas in Spain! How dare they spend what they earn on things Guardian readers do not approve of – such as the Sun newspaper! What they want is a society where it is Guardian readers who administrate how people live. The money they extract from everybody then goes primarily to pay themselves – I mean those “Why I need you money to pay for more jobs for other Guardian readers” reports do not write themselves!

  • Cydonia


    “This was the link you were after, Cydonia. Plain enough on the BBC page I was referred to.”

    Actually, they added it after I emailed them. They also changed the text slightly. I can’t fault them for being unresponsive. They emailed me back and changed the page within 10 minutes of my asking what the link was.

  • Nancy

    drscrooge – Do you have any children? If so, have you prepared any school lunches lately? My kids want fresh strawberries, apples and the occasional banana in their lunches. My daughter eats fresh celery like there is no tomorrow. Seen any tinned celery? My son loves carrots and cucumbers. Ummm, tinned cucumbers.

    Fresh produce cuts up and stores very easily. Tinned anything turns to mush in a zip lock bag. Tinned fruit put in a lunch box at 7:30 am is going to be slimy sludge by noon, when it’s eaten. Frozen fruit, ditto. I’ve used frozen fruit to make drinks in a blender, but I wouldn’t want to eat it.

    Frozen and tinned food is fine for corn, green beans, peas, etc. and that is probably what you’re thinking of. But the world of children, school lunches and halfway healthy snacks is a different matter. It would be a real trial as a parent to not be able to afford fresh produce.

    As an aside, I’ve had English cucumbers and American cucumbers, and English cucumbers are better. By a long way. Unfortunately, they are $1.49 apiece here in Florida, when they are available, so I buy the local ones.

  • Luniversal

    Careful, Nancy. The folks who run this site don’t like *anything* British being praised at the expense of the US of A;-)