There ain’t no poverty no more

Given all this, how is it that so many pundits and charities talk about widespread poverty in Britain?

It dates back to 1962 and the annual conference of the British Sociological Association. Two Left-wing academics, Peter Townsend and Brian Abel-Smith, developed a new way of defining “poverty” based on the income level at which people were entitled to a payment called “supplementary benefit”. One person at the conference reported “a mood of conspiratorial excitement” about the idea of redefining poverty. These are her words, not mine, and they do seem revealing. It is as if some people on the Left were longing to find a way in which poverty had not been “conquered” as Barbara Castle had said. They had found a way in which it would always be possible to use the huge emotional power of the word.

The flurry of excitement about redefining poverty concluded with it being defined as 60 per cent of median incomes with adjustment for family size.

Only inequality….

6 thoughts on “There ain’t no poverty no more”

  1. According to a sob-story in the ‘Indy’ today (led by CA, I think), one of the many causes of ‘poverty’ is magistrate’s fines.

    The idea that maybe ‘the poor’ shouldn’t commit crime seemed to be lost on them…

  2. JuliaM,

    Although one of the commonest fines is refusal to pay for a TV license. Let’s see the Indy or the Guardian calling for the introduction of a subscription so that X-Factor watchers don’t face this.

  3. Townsend’s Inequalities in Health was treated as Holy Writ in the psychology/sociology/feminist crap course we did every Tuesday for a year (‘Health in Society’) at medical school. It consisted of a bunch of hippies, hard-left agitprop merchants, hairy feminists and failed doctors telling us:
    1. How awful doctors are;
    2. How awful men are;
    3. How people were literally dying in the streets, their rickets-addled, emaciated corpses littering the streets. Because THATCHER!
    4. How we needed to beat The Man/smash capitalism/patriarchy

    I assume this guff was taught elsewhere and explains idiots like Clare Gerada.

  4. Julia M,

    We don’t want to end up like America though. Look at Ferguson leading up to the riots: the city’s crime rate isn’t particularly high (compared to the U.S. average), but thanks to the accumulation of fees and fines, the average household owes $321 to the criminal justice system.

    Britain is starting to go that way too: in 2007 we brought in the Victim Surcharge, which ranges from £15 to £120. Since April 2015, we’ve had the Criminal Courts Charge which ranges from £100 to £1,200.

    I don’t usually consider myself left-wing, but when it comes to the law I don’t see any good reason to have introduced these charges. Making poor people even poorer isn’t my idea of justice.

  5. Bloke in California

    @ Andrew M: the problem here in the US is that for poorer cities and police departments those fines are a significant source of income. Didn’t we have the same problem with the mad proliferation of speed cameras and the fines income going to the Road Safety Partnerships that set them up?

  6. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in California – “the problem here in the US is that for poorer cities and police departments those fines are a significant source of income. Didn’t we have the same problem with the mad proliferation of speed cameras and the fines income going to the Road Safety Partnerships that set them up?”

    So in fact the problem is the corruption of the political process by the need to debauch law enforcement into revenue raising.

    Although for Ferguson the real problem is that Black communities have a much higher tolerance for law breaking and are not willing to accept White suburban levels of law enforcement.

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