Going back over a hundred years before the CIA was ever imagined, Jeremy Bentham proposed – without the benefit of any data – exactly that truthful empiricism of balance: ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’, he felt, should be the aim of every society. Not only was Bentham a brilliant, instinctive observer of social anthropology before it was an ology, he was also a man blessed with a complete absence of bollocks in his thinking.
Sadly, the same can’t be said for Nick Cohen. For his assumption in the Guardian/Observer piece is that, by definition, the Tories don’t want ‘more’ equality.
I wonder: is he mad? Cameron has had to work day and night for four years to explain away his background. The current Labour Party’s MPs are more middle class and Oxbridge than the Coalition’s.
Actually, Cohen’s a bright bloke and he isn’t mad: it’s just his job (and his preference) to keep on insisting that all Tories are evil and greedy…..unlike Mandelson, Prescott, Byers, Blair, and Hoon.
The Guardian’s Salvation Army will never accept that the differences between Labour and Tory policy on equality are ones of strategy and definition, not objective.
Quite, although the only question this blog would ask, and which John hasn’t addressed (at least in this post) is which is more desirable and more practical, a society where all social strata of are better off but the gap remains the same, or failed attempt after failed attempt to pursue a theoretical egalitarian Utopia, which always, but always, has the net result of leaving everyone worse off, and invariably only succeeds in replacing one imbalance with another?
For a more detailed (and thoroughly enjoyable) critique of The Spirit Level, try this.