Monday, 11 December 2017

Why do so many people who benefited from social mobility now want the ladder kicked down?

As a result of the changes introduced by Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government the 1960s and '70s saw the greatest levels of social mobility the United Kingdom has ever seen.

There was full employment so that pretty much anyone with the desire to work could find a job with at least half decent pay. There were plenty of houses, and even if you couldn't quite afford a house of your own there was an abundant supply of social housing too. If you were academically smart, then university education was free, and it even came with maintenance grants to cover your living costs. If you lost your job or fell ill then the welfare state provided half-decent social security payments to stave off absolute destitution. The legal aid system ensured that the poor and ordinary could have access to decent legal representation so as to tip the scales of justice ever-so-slightly less in favour of the super-rich.

Of course this period was no utopia, and plenty of people still endured poor pay, dangerous working conditions, and discriminatory practices (especially when it came to stuff like sex, race, class and sexual orientation), but since 1979 many of the things that allowed these high levels of social mobility to happen have been deliberately attacked and undermined by the Westminster political class.
  • The current low unemployment figures that right-wingers love to brag about so much are a blatant fix which counts anyone who does just 1 hour a week in a zero hours contract job as employed. Additionally it counts anyone who has been thrown off benefits by zealous job centre staff trying to comply with the sanctions league tables as not being unemployed. Additionally people on unpaid workfare schemes are classed as being employed!
  • Access to legal aid has been trashed so badly that hundreds of thousands of people are being left with no choice but to represent themselves in court, which not only shatters their chances of success, but also wastes vast amounts of time because they simply don't understand the legal processes.
It's completely understandable that the privileged classes and their pals in the Westminster establishment club have worked so hard and for so long to reduce social mobility. After all the beneficiaries of social mobility become rivals to the children of the upper classes. The less social mobility there is, the more unearned opportunities that get handed on a plate to the children of the establishment class.

It's clearly a huge advantage to the children of the establishment class that their peers are lumbered with a lifetime 9% aspiration tax on their disposable income for their university education, while they avoid it because their parents could pay the fees upfront. 

It's beyond obvious that an unaccountable political elite would increasingly selfishly rig society to benefit their own class if they found that they suffered no adverse electoral consequences for doing it (as the New Labour mob found when they first introduced aspiration tax for university students from poor and ordinary backgrounds).

The establishment elitists who rig society to benefit their own class are undeniably the bad guys, but the truly despicable people are those who actually reaped the benefits of social mobility in the 1960s and '70s, who now desperately want to slam the door shut on the younger generations now.

The people who came from poor and ordinary backgrounds and enjoyed the benefits of stuff like social housing and/or affordable house prices, full employment and decent wages, a decent social safety net, legal aid, and free university education, but who now vote in favour of denying these same opportunities to younger generations.

Perhaps some of these people genuinely believe that they achieved it all themselves, and the decent wages, affordable housing, social safety net, legal protections, and access to free university education had nothing to do with it. That's called the self-attribution fallacy, and huge numbers of wealthy people love to imagine that they did it all by themselves.

On the other hand there are plenty who know perfectly well that they benefited from social mobility, but who want to slam the door shut on younger generations for purely self-interested reasons. For example people who benefited from affordable housing in the past know that building more social and affordable housing now would slow down the inflating value of their property portfolios, and reduce the profits from their buy-to-let slumlord empires.

Of course it was hard to avoid voting in favour of attacks on social mobility when Tony Blair and his ilk were running the Labour Party. But now that Labour has a leader who is determined to reverse the trend and begin promoting social mobility again through policies like free education, house building, welfare reform, decent wages, regulation of the private rental market, and a crackdown on exploitative employment practices, there's really no excuse for voting for more Tory class war inspired attacks on social mobility unless you actively oppose social mobility.

The wealthy and privileged establishment club who have spent the best part of four decades rigging British society in favour of themselves and their own are vile self-serving elitists, but the people who actually benefited from social mobility who vote in favour of the Tory war against social mobility are the truly despicable ones.

They're the kind of people who climb the ladder out of the flooding basement, then deliberately kick it down and let others from their own class drown, rather than risk sharing the benefits of not drowning with others.

Even those who have deluded themselves that social mobility is irrelevant and that they achieved everything in life themselves are guilty of class treachery. 

Perhaps they're too deluded to realise that voting in favour of the Tory war against social mobility is an utterly malicious thing to do? But since when was stupidity a defence?

Does the criminal get to avoid jail because he claims to be too stupid to have realised that robbing the Post Office was a crime?

Of course not.

So why on earth should Tory voters who came from poor and ordinary backgrounds get to claim that they're too narrow-minded to understand that it's unspeakably malicious for them to kick the ladder down to prevent younger generations benefiting from the social mobility they themselves enjoyed in the past?

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John Page said...

I love your articles they are so on point and in keeping with my world view however you state that people voted Tory primarily to reduce the chances of future generations including their own children. Whilst that has been the outcome the reasons for voting are infinitely more complex that that and I don't think for the majority of voters that even entered their heads. Perhaps they were misled by the decades of propaganda from the rightwing media telling them that the Torys would be the only safe party to manage the economy. If you vote for a truly socialist party they will spend all of your taxes on whatever isn't acceptable at that time, they will bankrupt the country, your savings will be worthless as will your home. They will tax your garden etc... I agree that the outcome of years of Tory voting (or neo-Tory new Labour) are exactly as you described but your article has the word WHY in the title and I don't think you addresed that at all.

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