George Monbiot really doesn’t understand inequality, does he?

On the idea of Scotland leaving the UK ( a good one as it happens):

To vote no is to choose to live under a political system that sustains one of the rich world’s highest levels of inequality and deprivation.

Well, no, we don’t have one of the world’s highest levels of deprivation. That’s just bollocks.

But with respect to inequality. If Scotland leaves the UK then inequality in both Scotland and rUK will fall.

Not that actual inequality will change one iota you understand, but currently we measure Scottish inequality as against the UK. As we measure UK inequality including Scotland. And if a poorer area (which Scotland is) leaves such a system of measurement then inequality will fall in both parts of it.

Which leads us to an interesting thought. We’re told that inequality is the greatest problem of our times. So, why aren’t all those who so bleat supporting Scottish independence (like George is)?


30 thoughts on “George Monbiot really doesn’t understand inequality, does he?”

  1. George also makes a perfect argument for us to leave the EU. Why surrender sovereignty, he asks, to a distant, corrupt, authoritarian, elitist government that you didn’t elect?

    But I doubt he connects the dots at all.

  2. George asks: ‘England is dysfunctional, corrupt and vastly unequal. Who on earth would want to be tied to such a country?’

    Leaving aside the hundreds of Africans, Middle Easterners and Slavs I saw wandering round Calais on my way to the ferry the other day (and the dozens who were actually on the ferry)?

  3. A bit rich from a colonialist Englishman who is actively participating in the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Welsh by settling their land.

    Using, without a doubt, part of the wealth that England and its bankers gained from its savage exploitation of Wales’s natural resources and its captive native labour force.

    Can’t he be tried for war crimes or something?

  4. Doug – good point. Where are those Welsh nationalists, with their flaming torches, when you need them?

    Thinking about it, Monbiot isn’t really an English name either – George’s line has a long history of colonisation*.

    I think Monbiot is a fascinating psychological study, when you look at his background – parents and grandparents, solid Tories etc. Must have been bullied at school or something. To be fair, he does have a face you could never tire of pushing down bogs.

    Dad’s still around and hobnobbing with Alan Partridge – Some journo should go and interview him about his disappointment at having spawned a vicious, hateful person like George.

    *Yes, yes I assume it’s Huguenot.

  5. bloke (not) in spain

    Well I suppose by Georges sort of definition the UK is highly unequal. At the top end there are a remarkable number of wealthy people. At the bottom end… In raw numbers there isn’t that much difference between the bloke on average wage in the UK & the bloke on average wage in Somalia. It’s only a few hundred quid a week, isn’t it? So small compared with what the CEO of a bank pulls it’s hardly worth mentioning.
    So George is dead right. An independent Scotland won’t be blighted by all those Russian oligarchs & London homes of Hollywood film stars. Much more equal place. Almost tempted to relocate there.

  6. By George’s argument isn’t Somalia the most equal (and hence most desirable) place to live on Earth? Why isn’t he there instead of Wales?

  7. I really do wish that patrician, paternalistic, upper class rUK twi(a)ts like Monbiot would STFU and butt out of the referendum campaign. The Monbiots of this world are slavering over the prospect of a proxy Robert Owen experimental socialist utopia in Scotland that can later be transplanted to rUK.

    By the way, my plea to STFU and butt out applies equally to those on the opposite end of the political spectrum too.

  8. Scotland is a less unequal society because anyone with any money (and brains or talent for that matter) leaves as soon as they can.

  9. Tim’s point about geographic inequality in the UK is a good one; applies also to the EU too. Richer NW and poorer E means the EU as a whole must have stunning levels of inequality for a political/economic unit. Is that an argument for splitting it up?

  10. ” Well, no, we don’t have one of the world’s highest levels of deprivation. That’s just bollocks.”

    I was about to say Monbiot was insulting people in real deprivation by his absurd remark …

    But closer parsing reveals he limited it to the RICH world. Now by very careful definition of “rich” and “deprivation” that claim might be plausible. But you’d have to be highly selective.

    For instance there are Gulf states with stonking GDP per capita where migrant labour conditions are third world. Not that it is much fun being a Bulgarian in the Fens, living in a cramped caravan (deducted from wages) while breaking your back picking vegetables for a pittance in English weather … but there is a reason said Bulgarians don’t instead flock to join the Nepalis throwing up grotesque architecture in the desert.

    And contra Monbiot, if our gates were opened wider, those Nepalis too would be (wisely) queuing up for the right to suffer all the subjugation that comes with being a Britisher.

  11. Scotland has the potential to be one of the wealthiest countries on Earth. But they prefer the stench of socialism. Scotland is rotten with it like an advanced cancer victim loaded with tumours. It is only transfusion of English money keeps them going.The cure for their problems is a simple change of heart and mind.
    The same is true for England. The statist/socialist poison is somewhat weaker here but still a potent brew of evil.

  12. Since poor George is so unhappy and so angry here in the UK, when will he be emigrating and renouncing his nationality? Not at all soon, I fear. But, should he ever change his mind, I’d certainly contribute to the cost of his one-way ticket to some Third World hellhole.

  13. @Theophrastus

    ‘Since poor George is so unhappy and so angry here in the UK, when will he be emigrating and renouncing his nationality?’

    He was very careful to say ‘England’, as he lives in Wales.

  14. Not that it is much fun being a Bulgarian in the Fens, living in a cramped caravan (deducted from wages) while breaking your back picking vegetables for a pittance in English weather

    I did that for a summer with a load of Bulgarians! True it was in Worcs. and I wasn’t living in a caravan (shared room in a bungalow) but the money wasn’t bad and the work okay – provided you’re young, fit, and this is only a stepping-stone for earning some cash on your way to doing what you really want to do. Farm work is hard, but not too miserable if the above is true.

  15. Interested,

    True, he said England; but his target is the UK, which is why he’s abusing England to encourage Scotland to vote for independence.

  16. @TimN

    Out of curiosity, did you pick up any Bulgarian? Given your later connections with Russia I wondered if it proved a valuable education for you! At least culturally, if not linguistically…

    (Even crappy work has an educative value, but it’s probably best to do it while young so you can find an application for it later!)

  17. I feel I understood Monbiot’s sort of environmentalist better having read Adam Nicolson’s “The Gentry”. Nicolson takes examples of squirerarchical families since the Wars of the Roses, one of which seems to resemble the family Monbiot quite closely.

    Nicolson makes the point that these historical families could dine together quite happily without disagreeing on very much at all. From this perspective, the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree at all.

  18. BraveFart

    No I won’t STFU. I’m a Unionist, I have a right to speak up for the Union and I’ll exercise that right.

    I like the United Kingdom, with you in it.

  19. Someone cleverer than me pointed out that it’s a bit odd for George to be advocating a society based on oil revunues and financial services.

  20. What dearime said – the best way to reduce inequality in the UK would be independence for London.

    Funny how all the people who bleat about the importance of reducing inequality (as an end in itself, not as a way to make the poor richer) suddenly change their minds when it comes to losing a huge slug of tax revenues.

  21. And I suspect the second quickest way to reduce inequality would be to expel all non-nationals earning less than the average wage.

    Shouldn’t think many Guardian writers would be supporting that either.

  22. Ironman

    Just to be clear, I think rUK unionists in general have every right to speak up about Scottish independence.

    My issue is with the “patrician, paternalistic, upper class rUK twi(a)ts” on either side of the political spectrum who see Scottish independence (or not) as affecting rUK and whose pronouncements have ulterior rUK, not purely Scottish, aspects.

    For example, Monbiot has an agenda to adopt SNP (stated) policies in rUK, his wish is therefore for Scottish independence to further that goal and so he urges us to vote Yes (for his own rUK reasons).

    I’m happy for you to comment as you wish, I don’t think you fall into the category of commentator I object to whose opinions and bias I do not welcome.

  23. @Richard – no, depending on how inequality is measured, expelling the high earning foreign nationals would have a bigger effect than expelling the low earners, because of the skew of the income distribution.

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