« Note on Laffer curves | Main | Bonuses & productivity »

April 21, 2015


Matt Moore

I don't regard inequality as particularly "natural" - its degree depends on the institutional condition of a society.

I do think that rhetoric, or worse, policy, that is founded on a fixed-pie treatment of wealth and/or income is particularly moronic. (Not to say that there aren't sensible and feasible policies that aim to improve the productivity of the less well off, but these are in a minority in Leftist discourse, which prefers expropriation)

I also consider a concern with inequality in and of itself to be immoral, akin to a rarified envy.

Success may be due to luck of the draw. But unless there's success, why play a hand at all?


Does anyone take seriously what Clegg spouts these days? Or any Lib Dem MP, for that matter.

The one here in North Devon has been cynically posing as anti-cuts because of the measures implemented by the Tory-led County Council to reduce various services. Of course, this is a consequence of the decisions to slash council budgets taken in Parliament that he actually voted for. It's all of a piece with LD practice. Pose left in one area ('vote for me to stop the Tories', right in another, depending on the political make-up of a place. Fewer and fewer people are swallowing this guff and hopefully the LDs will get what they deserve in a couple of weeks time.

Dave Timoney

Most people think of politics as a spectrum of social attitudes, the poles of which can be described in a variety of ways: soft/hard, altruistic/misanthropic, people-centred/money-centred etc. Granted, this is largely nonsense in party political terms, but it makes emotional sense.

Nick Clegg seems to have misunderstood that bragging he is in possession of both a "heart" and a "brain", which he can apparently turn off and on at will, is not a claim to be a fully-equipped human so much as an admission of bipolar disorder. The LibDems have completely failed to understand that opportunism is what has brought them low.

An Alien Visitor

Let us hope the LibDems are massacred at this election and are forever to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

I view the LibDems not as the brain or heart but more like a golf caddy, taking the weight off the main player, enabling the player to take the shots but not actually playing any of them.


Quite brilliant.


The liberals' claims are dishonest as they have supported policy that is heartless and economic nonsense. How does impoverishing people in wheel chairs or in council housing meet either criteria?

The appeal of the Lib dems however lies in the fact that many people find it hard to make a political commitment as they do not want to embrace the idea of the class division of society. Imagining you can avoid deciding which side you are on is a perennial problem in English politics. Any one who votes Liberal with their existing leadership is voting for a far right Tory government in practice; and any one who is responsible and has any social conscience should not do so.


“I don't believe the Tories are especially heartless. [...] and I even suspect Iain Duncan Smith really does want to reduce poverty; he's just gone about doing so cackhandedly.”

The possibility that he's a deluded ideologue rather than a malevolent [ http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21360 ] thug seems plausible to me - even the dodgiest looking quack [ https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/bleaching-away-what-ails-you/ ] may be more cracked than crooked - but for this [ http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/21533 ] and other reasons I would have to reject the idea that Duncan Smith is merely cackhanded.


So you don't believe IDS is especially heartless? Perhaps you might like to pass these sentiments on to the families and loved ones of all the sick/disabled people who's deaths he has been complicit in. Or those with cancer or progressive illnesses such as Cerebral Palsy etc who he and his lackeys have decided are 'fit for work'

No, thought not.


@ KJ, Paul - I wholly agree that the effects of welfare policy have been horrible. But effects do not necessarily reveal intentions: policies often go wrong, especially when motivated by an ideology which is blind to evidence. I don't think IDS would have set up the CSJ unless he wanted to reduce poverty.


This is by far one of the most insightful things I've seen on the net.

Particularly these two passages:

"However, the Lib Dems aren't proposing this false dichotomy merely because they are a party without principle who can only define themselves by what they are not."

That is precisely what every single centrist repeats: my position is better, not because of anything intrinsic in it, but because it's neither left nor right.

And this:

"One is a form of naive cynicism which regards inequality and injustice as natural and inevitable, and so attempts to fight it must be futile and foolish whilst defenders of the system are hard-headed realists."

I won't mention names, but one could easily attach photos of many a blogger here.

Great post.


"But effects do not necessarily reveal intentions...."

Okay, so now that IDS has had plenty of time to assess the 'effects'. Why has he done nothing to address them? In fact, he actually scoffed at Owen Jones when he directly challenged him over this on BBC Question Time.


In as much as politics is about helping the poor and the downtrodden, it stands to reason that a party that contains more people who are from a working class background, or at least know people from that background, rather than from Eton, will have more compassion. I'm talking on average, I'm sure Tony Benn had more heart than John Prescott.

Chris wrote "I don't believe the Tories are especially heartless...Equally, though, the implication that the left is all heart is also dubious"

That's not what the LibDems are claiming (maybe). They're claiming that on average, the Tories are MORE heartless than Labour.

Socialism In One Bedroom

I fully endorse what KJ says, Ian Duncan Smith strikes me as a particularly vile creature, a malevolent Dickensian figure who sees the deserving and undeserving poor.

When I have listened to him speak on these issues what comes foremost to my mind is his sickening and quite brazen lack of compassion, his brazen heartlessness and how he bluntly and coldly responds when abject suffering is presented to him, like some callous school bully.

The question we have to ask is this, will his undoubted and brazen cruelty actually be a benefit for people in the long run, will his savage cruelness result in unintended kindness? I am minded to say, will it fuck.

gastro george

IDS may have once had a heart but, as somebody once said about Frank Field, some people with good intentions sometimes come to hate the people they think they are trying to help.

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad