Please, can we have fewer of these insanely stupid ideas?

The left could begin by fighting for fairer and more redistributive taxation across the European Union – as a first step to a global agreement.

Sheesh!

Given the inequality of incomes across the EU that would mean that everyone in the richer northern countries would be shelling out for benefits to those in the poorer southern ones. For example, the minimum (and it looks pretty much like the average too) wage outside my door is €500 a month. As opposed to the €1,100 a month or so the minimum wage in the UK gets you.

Anyone fancy raising income tax on the UK poor to pay for the Portuguese poor?

Hmm, actually, come to think of it, yes, why don\’t you lefties go for that idea? Be out of power for a generation you will.

12 thoughts on “Oh My Word”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    And remember Europe is just the first step.

    Soon we would be paying to bring single mother pensions to Africa as well.

    Is it possible to be so stupid and still function in normal society?

  2. Don’t quite get why this is stupid in principle – if you accept we should support the poor, who gives a monkey’s what passports they carry?

    However, benefits etc should obviously be adjusted for cost of living (as they should within the UK).

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    The Deserving and the Undeserving Poor Johnb.

    There is a difference between giving my money to someone who has been unlucky or had a hard start to life and giving it to some drug addict who has f**ked up his own life in Glasgow. The former, with luck, has functioning values which will make him at least moderately well off. He certainly lives in a society where there are opportunities to gain a good education, work hard and make something of his life. The concept of “a hand up” works.

    Now that is less true for the drug addict although I suppose it is possible he might get his act together and contribute something besides petty theft to society.

    But it is far less true for someone in Africa. There is zero chance they will make something of their lives because they are living in utterly dysfunctional societies. Even if they worked hard, the government would just steal all their money. If they made a business they would be nationalised. There is no concept of a hand up here at all. Money sent to poor people in Africa is wasted unless it transforms their lives. Which would need a Revolution and probably colonial rule.

  4. “Don’t quite get why this is stupid in principle – if you accept we should support the poor…”

    You might accept that, but you have to sell it to the voters. There’s no votes in ‘economic development overseas’.

    People are happy to put a few coins in a charity box, but a change to their UK taxation to benefit others in the EU (never mind Africa!) is political suicide.

    Don’t let me stop you though… 😉

  5. “You might accept that, but you have to sell it to the voters.”

    Fine, so abolish state benefits altogether. The point is that there is no reason in principle to help people who are poor and in the UK over people who are poor and in Africa or wherever.

    SMFS makes some sense, although the moral deserving/undeserving distinction seems to go the opposite way from to the pragmatic one about whether the spending will make any difference… (someone who’s desperately poor in Africa is much more likely to be in that position through bad luck and lack of opportunities, rather than drug-addled fuckuppery, than someone who’s desperately poor in the UK)

  6. “The point is that there is no reason in principle to help people who are poor and in the UK over people who are poor and in Africa or wherever.”

    I think you’ll find that ‘charity begins at home’ is still most people’s watchword.

  7. That may be the case, but there’s no sane reason to hold it.

    I’m not saying that The Man On The Clapham Omnibus’s opinions must be, or even are likely to be, logical. Just, calling people “insanely stupid” for not being as illogical as the general public seems a bit unfair…

  8. “…calling people “insanely stupid” for not being as illogical as the general public seems a bit unfair…”

    I didn’t read it as calling him ‘insanely stupid’ for having the idea, so much as for considering it might be a vote-winner in the real world.

  9. But by all means, carry on throwing toys out of the pram left, right and centre, calling the voters ‘stupid’ for not wanting more socialism, and urging the left to propose ever wackier ideas for ‘combatting global poverty’.

    It’s a strategy that’s working so well….

  10. “That may be the case, but there’s no sane reason to hold it.”

    On the contrary. There’s some evidence that altruism has a biological basis and that cooperation – which is a good definition of helping people less lucky than we are – is intrinsically rewarding to most human beings.

    However, the impulse for cooperation seems to be predicated on the possiblity of its eventual reciprocity, which makes sense in terms of survival, passing one’s genes along, and all that other basic stuff.

    So on that basis, supporting poor people in one’s own country makes biological sense – they may help us one day or at the very least, won’t be breaking in and nicking our possessions or whacking us on the head for our mobile phones.

    On the other hand, we gain nothing except maybe a nice feeling – especially if someone else is paying that bill – from supporting poor people in Africa or anywhere else (as opposed to giving them occasional aid donations).

    So helping them doesn’t really make sense = isn’t sane, unless you’re in thrall to an ideology or a religion, in which case you’re one up in the battle of righteousness and go to heaven or socialist paradise.

  11. “It was the national backlash against Labour that lost Ken Livingstone the race to be mayor of London – even though he mobilised a massively greater turnout of voters than Labour attracted anywhere else.”

    Er, but Boris mobilised even more Conservatives. That’s democracy, John P – irritating, isn’t it?

    “PR…will at least make the political bargaining process more transparent”

    Ha ha, please stop, you are hurting me now with the laughing. If you want the Political Class entrenched in power for ever and the government to ignore people even more than they do no, vote for PR.

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