Well, yes Polly

But in the last decade Labour has run hard up a down escalator to stop a natural pull towards inequality growing greater.

If it\’s so natural, why the fight against it?

Bubonic plague is natural and we fight against that, sure.

A mother\’s love for her newborn is natural and we applaud that.

Why is it that inequality of income (of the sort of level we have, .5 Gini pre tax and benefits, .34 or so after, as compared with Sweden\’s .48 pre and .25 post, the US\’ .48 and .38 or so) is assumed to be like bubonic plague and not a mother\’s love?

No, quoting The Spirit Level will not win you this argument. It is, to put it politely, junk (look, when someone moves from, in one paragraph, noting the declining marginal value of increased wealth to stating that therefore more growth does *no* good you know you are not reading science. When those same people note the link between income inequality and longer working hours but carefully avoid including Japan in their calculations then you know you\’re dealing with hokum.) and does not make the points which win prizes.

20 comments on “Well, yes Polly

  1. Polly Toynbee’s schtick goes beyond mere addle-pated stupidity to fix itself deep in the domain of active malevolence. If there is ever an incoming administration that is pledged to liberty (I can dream) then one of its first acts should be to purge Toynbee. I don’t mean violently; I simply mean by choking off her access to mass media. The destruction of the Enemy Class (in a Gabbian sense) should definitely encompass shutting this vile witch up.

    And yes, I am well aware of the internal contradiction of claiming to be a libertarian while advocating silencing an opponent. It’s not that contradictory. Polly can gibber and rave for all she’s worth. But the BBC’s gone within the first 24 hours, and placing a Civil Service recruitment ad in the Grauniad is proscribed, so that’s her cut off at the knees.

  2. Agree with David Gilles! Free speech is one thing. Taxpayer funded vehicles such as the BBC and the Guardian are another. An immediate recruitment freeze in the public sector including the BBC would be a good start.
    Polly’s arguments are stupid anyway. I earn over ten times what I did in my first job. I am probably worth well over that to my customers and I am the same person – just a few years down the line, with more skills and experience. So why would I bother to learn new skills if I could not thereby improve my income?

    The differences between individuals are even more pronounced. Bill Gates and I are in the same industry but he started Microsoft and I didn’t! That is inequality but civilisation would be nowhere without it.

  3. What David Gillies says and what Wolfie says.

    I prefer the other argument that accepts that income inequality is perfectly natural (and neither desirable nor undesirable in itself) but that low income people get much better value for money.

    The incremental extra happiness from owning a £200,000 Ferrari rather than a £2,000 second-hand VW Golf is pretty minimal, I’d guess, it’s called ‘diminishing returns’.

  4. Annoy Lefties with declarations of your belief in inequality:

    “I’m looking forward to the 2012 London Olympics – it’ll be a wonderful celebration …
    of inequality!”

  5. A happy idea, CMD: shall we all complain about the lack of diversity in the final of the men’s 100m?

  6. Always read the blog, post comment, then read the other comments, then post. What a revolting habit.

    But I was so amused by David Gillies comment I can’t help myself.

    Your first act as a libertarian is to “choke off her access to the media”.

    Back to the dictionary with you sir!

  7. I hope the first thing David Cameron does when he gets into office is prohibit all Government job recruitment in the Guardian. I assume they are being kept afloat by used car ads and those utterly useless social worker non-jobs being advertised in the rag. So they would fold if Cameron used the Times instead.

    You see, that’s how real liberals deal with their opponents and anyone else who apologises for Islamist terrorism.

  8. @john miller: “Your first act as a libertarian is to “choke off her access to the media”.

    Back to the dictionary with you sir!”
    One would have thought that ensuring that La Toynbee is given exactly the same access to the media as you or me is a spremely libertarian act.

  9. john miller; did you read my caveat in the second paragraph? The removal of taxpayer-funded conduits for Toynbee to spread her poison is in no sense anti-libertarian. Please do try to keep up.

  10. David, however you dress it up making government policies with the deliberate attempt to shut a person up is clearly not libertarian.

    It is bizarre as well that people who want a small state want public sector employees to be of worse quality, which is the obvious consequence of advertising for jobs in places where fewer qualified people will look. Recruitment is not an easy task, and it’s amazing how many libertarians (I imagine this does not apply to you) seem to have no idea how businesses work in the real world.

  11. Funnily enough, Pogo, I still don’t think that stopping someone doing their job, just because I disagree with their attitude is a spremely libertarian act.

    And Mr Gillies, boy, I love people like you. “Please do try to keep up”. Nothing like a bit of sarcastic condecension from my intellectual and moral superior, eh?

    I read it and understood it alright. I disagreed with it. Your response – pour on a bit of contempt. The classic faux liberal attempt at argument. For all that you profess to hate her, there is a strange similarity between your debating tactics and hers.

    You criticise the newspaper she writes for, but would require your government to use another newspaper so that she is censored. Presumably the adverts would go to a newspaper with your favourite writer? Or do you not want the government to advertise any jobs?

    By the way, I detest Ms Toynbee myself.

  12. john miller – “You criticise the newspaper she writes for, but would require your government to use another newspaper so that she is censored. Presumably the adverts would go to a newspaper with your favourite writer? Or do you not want the government to advertise any jobs?”

    If I don’t like Coke and drink Pepsi I am not censoring Coke. Nor am I sacking anyone. I am expressing a consumer preference. Is there a law or a moral reason why social worker jobs have to be advertised in the Guardian? Refusing to advertise there would probably close the paper down, but that is the fault of the paper for lacking a readership, not the government. And it would also probably getting better employees.

    Telling the Guardian they can sack Polly or else would be wrong. But refusing to give them my money is perfectly reasonable. They have no right to any of it.

  13. Polly’s absolutely correct; inequality is an evil that must be eradicated.

    Perhaps she can lead the way by mailing half the difference between her salary and mine to the following address:

    The Remittance Man
    kwaRemittance
    Kleinkudoeskop
    South Africa.

  14. But it’s not actually “natural” is it, the tendency toward inequality is only natural in the sense that it’s the natural result of an artificial political setup.

    If you want a reason why people like myself and Polly don’t like inequality it’s simple. We believe that the poorest in their society don’t get a fair share.

  15. You are absolutely correct Andreas. In reality, every person on earth could in fact create a cure for cancer, and it is only inequality that prevents us all from so doing.

  16. “only natural in the sense that it’s the natural result of an artificial political setup.” As opposed to all those natural political set ups that exist elsewhere.

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