Thursday 18 November 2010

Who knew that one government could cause such blog fodder? (This is a rhetorical question).

So, along with just generally making it structurally impossible for the poor to succeed, the Con-Dems have now enshrined it in law (or, more accurately they have taken away the law where it was enshrined). Because, apparently, 'some people' don't think equality is fair- in fact 'equality' alienates 'some people'.

Don't really know where to start with that one really... oh, no wait I do. The only people who think equality is unfair are people who have power, and who feel that their power- their right to exploit and benefit at the expense of others-shouldn't be eroded. Well, this is a fucking democracy- get over it.

To make this even more problematic, Theresa May, the home-secretary, claims that the problem with the idea of equality is that "it has been seen to mean equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity". Er, well, yes, because one is not possible without the other- or at least not as long as we live in a system where people continue to give birth and raise children in nuclear households. You see, your 'opportunities' are determined by your parent's 'outcomes'.

If your parents are poor, then you will not have a fancy private education- taught in a class of 6 or 8, with the opportunity of tutors to support you, practically guaranteeing the grades you need for university; you may have had a poor diet and a lack of access to books, resources, the internet, that prepare wealthier children to succeed in later life. You might have went to schools where resources were over-stretched, teachers were tired and over-worked, and there was no expectation- let alone training or socialisation in- the idea of pursuing a career in further or higher education that would allow you to get one of those fancy middle-class jobs. You probably don't have parents that understand the university system and realise that universities are in fact ranked- and it does make a difference where you go (and I'll be up front in admitting it was pure serendipity that I picked a top uni, cause nobody sure as hell told me there was a difference, perhaps beyond 'avoid the ex-polytech'). When you go to univeristy, you don't have the allowance from the generous parents that stops you from having to work every hour God sends just to get by- and all that means for time available to spend studying. Then when you are an adult, you don't have parents who know or understand those fancy middle-class jobs and can give you career advice, or introduce you to their contacts- making it much harder to know when to take risks, when you are being exploited, what you should be paid. You might not even know a 'professional' (defined as lawyer, clergy, civil servant) to write you a 'personal reference' for your job application (and don't laugh at the ridiculousness of this, cause that happened to my sister- because despite her first class Masters degree, her family background did not provide those contacts). You probably won't know the right language- play the right sports, read the right books, listen to the right music- to mix with those people socially and in places where the networks vital to success are really made. You might not have realised that you should probably change you accent if you're 'from up north' (or even west)-and don't say this doesn't happen, just watch the BBC with their beautifully refined 'regional accents'- let alone talk to Oxbridge grads with their strangely uniform accents regardless of regional upbringing (and their ability to switch back when at home with their families). Don't tell me it makes no difference to your opportunities when you inherit the family business, rather than start it from scratch with no help- and now with no loans from our increasingly tight banks. It certainly can't be easier to take entrepreneurial risks knowing that you have rich family members to bail you out if it all goes wrong, to lend you money at low interest rates and not having to worry about losing your home or feeding your children if you fail.

Do not sit here and tell me that you can have equality of opportunity without equality of outcome- and certainly don't tell me I can have 'fairness' without equality- cause it just doesn't seem very fair to me that some people can buy £43million vases and others have to worry about finding an extra £6 a month to heat their homes.


Anonymous said...

Great post.

Feminist Avatar said...


Anonymous said...

Hear, hear!!

You manage to write exactly what I spend my nights lying awake thinking about. Thanks.

Liberty*Egality*Fraterity said...

Thanks for making a bleak Sunday slightly less so - good to find your blog, I'll be reading again.