Most voters have a profound sense of justice
Indeed they do Polly, indeed they do.
But the word "poverty" plays badly with focus groups, even with the poor themselves: people are unconvinced it exists outside Africa. "Redistribution" does badly too. Mention the word benefit and people add "scrounger" on the end – often encouraged by Labour ministers who should know better. As a result, Labour never talks up its children\’s programme except to the poverty charities, as the two Eds did yesterday.
And therein lies the problem with your plans. Poverty, the general public thinks, does not exist in the UK as a general rule. The shoeless, foodless child will get any of us opening our wallets, whether directly or through the tax system. But when people look at the world around them they don\’t see that. Your definition of poverty (less than 60% of median income, or, if you prefer, well into the top 20% of global incomes) strikes most as not being poverty but simply some having more than others. And to the Great British Public this isn\’t the same thing, nor is it a matter of great concern.
Which is why, as younote, it doesn\’t play well with the public.
As for child poverty, do not underestimate the scale of Labour\’s task. As the median income moves up 2% a year and benefits for parents are not up-rated with earnings, the target keeps getting harder to reach. It means running fast up a down escalator.
And when people realise that then your project will be stone dead. For you\’ve let the cat out of the bag. This isn\’t investment, a one off payment to solve a problem, it\’s a committment to steadily increasing spending forever. Higher taxes, rising steadily, forever, to "solve" something which, as you point out, most don\’t care about. Perhaps that\’s why the politicians don\’t talk about it, eh?