Saturday, August 09, 2008

Let's All Hate Rich People

Polly Toynbee has a new book out which attacks people who have made money. You know, lot's of it. How very dare they, is her basic argument. Very odd that she should attack herself (salary £150,000 +)... Anyway, talking of attacks, Giles Coren has the most superb attack on her book in today's Times. Feast your eyes HERE. But first a little taster to whet your appetite...

Dave and Polly take the kids to St John's, which (no coincidence, I'm sure) is Oxford's richest college by some way: “Here was a room of their own, with their own bathroom, use of a kitchen...” Their own bathroom? I very much doubt it, even at St John's. Certainly not at Keble, next door to St John's, where I was a student. Six or eight to a bathroom at best (not all at the same time, alas). Get some perspective.

Despite Dave and Polly's best doom-mongering efforts, the kids on the trip show great enthusiasm for going to Oxford. So Dave and Polly leap in: “Did the Brent students know that over half the students at Oxford and Cambridge come from private schools? They had no idea and it shocked them.” Yeah, that's right, Polly, you step in and piddle on their dreams, why don't you. Tell them they've got no chance. It's your way, after all. (Furthermore, that statistic is another gross exaggeration as a correction in The Guardian admitted yesterday.)

It's not Oxford itself that holds back kids like this, it's sour old Trots like Toynbee.

Polly and Dave go on to contrast, with toe-curling naivety, the “kindly earnestness and bright whiteness” of the Oxford students with “the mostly black Brent kids in urban fashions with sharply razored, sculpted and combed hairstyles”, the prose dripping with that familiar and uniquely Guardian fetishising of black youth that seems to drip with middle-aged female lust for the noble savage. It's positively Victorian.

“Here on display,” wrote Dave and Polly, “was the great fissure in class, race, style, attitude, background...” No, here were children. The fissure is in your minds. In your sad, tawdry imaginations. Part of a world you need to believe in to believe you have any value left as commentators.

Enjoy.

PS. Polly doesn't actually say Let's All Hate Rich People, but that's what her arguments lead to - an envy of and hatred for people who have made money. Read the blurb for her book on Amazon. She is the absolute antithesis of the famous Lincoln quote 'you don't make the poor rich by making the rich poor'. In Pollyworld we should all know our place and have ambition driven out of us. We should all conform to a statist norm. It's reading extracts from books like hers that make me realise why I am politically motivated. And one of my main motivations is to stop people like Polly Toynbee dominating the political agenda.

I've enjoyed a few jousts with Polly in my time, and most of you will be relieved to hear that I can think of nothing I have ever agreed with her about. Personally I like her. But I know that the very mention of her name is like a red rag to a bull on many blogs. I give fair warning that I will not allow abusive comments through.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've all got Polly wrong - she doesn't have a problem with the rich . . .

. . . provided that you're as socially enlightened as her, support the arts and protest vehemently how you'd love to pay more taxes. Provided you spend your money on Tuscan villas rather than Docklands splendour.

Incidentally flying to Tuscany is carbon neutral, unlike when the proles wish to fly to Spain.

Mostly Ordinary said...

I think it should be compulsory when you mention Poly to add the youtube clip of Richard Littlejohn asking her if she thought about global warming whilst flying to her Italian villa.

Classic moment: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSLUtfubOis

DC said...

This comment from the Times piece says it all:

My dad was a newsagent, I went to state school, I'm Asian, I work in the city and I earn loads of money. I do it so my parents and future children can have something close to the only kind of life Toynbee has ever known. Me explain my position? How about she explains her right to speak for the poor?

Raj Chande, London, United Kingdom

Anonymous said...

I second that mostly ordinary. I never get bored of that clip - the night just got worse for her as the nulab world collapsed in front of her eyes.

Unknown said...

Giles Coren - Saw him murder that TV show about different diets from different periods of history. It strikes me that he writes in a funnier way than he talks as he came across as a pompous ass on TV.

Anonymous said...

Polly Toynbee is the updated version of Tony Benn; very rich and slightly bonkers. Her political views are straight out of the 1940s.

Not surprising that the BBC made her their Social Affairs Correspondent. Scandalous, but not surprising.

Lola said...

Polly Toynbee - classic lefty *&%/%!!, a complete !!***%// of the first order. All y life I have met similar ^^&&*ers and they have all been consistently wrong. Why do they never ever learn.

Bill Haydon said...

The article is great. Unfortunately in the edition I read, the St John's College, Oxford of the article, had become St John's College of Somewhere Else in the picture, thus inadvertantly making Coren look a twat. Which was a shame, because his writing was excellent.

Null said...

Polly is the grand old dame of writing shite... Surely none of us are surprised at the hypocrisy, right?

Null said...

@norfolk blogger - Different strokes... I though Giles was pretty good...

Anonymous said...

I wonder if she has ever asked Milliband how he got into Oxford with his "naff" `A` levels.

Or,could it possibly be the usual left wing nepotism?

Anonymous said...

But why does Polly hate rich persons when she is a rich person herself?

Anonymous said...

But I know that the very mention of her name is like a red rag to a bull on many blogs. I give fair warning that I will not allow abusive comments through.

Come on Iain at least you can be as liberal as CIF. A Polly article usually gets hundreds of comments.
95% of which just take the piss or are so rude, they almost have me feeling sorry for the women.

Almost, until you even look half between the lines of what she actually rights.

At which point you can see why she has become one of the Blog worlds most despised figures.

Polly Toynbee is a NAZI pure and simple. I say that not to be abusive, but simply because she is one, in all but name. It matters not much whether Polly knows, or understands that she is a NAZI or not. She is a payed up, fully brainwashed member of this countries later day brown shirts, all the same.

IMO

Polly's politics are not just a little lefty, too 'liberal,' a little silly, not nice, a product of a confused mind, simplistic, irrational, inhuman, satanic, a bit bad, bad, or very bad indeed.

They are evil beyond redemption, or much comparison.

Iain; even Stalin used to always remember flowers for his wifes anniversary, before he had her murdered. Hitler loved his dog to bits, before he shot it. Al Capone usually kissed people before he had them gunned down, sometimes weeks later.

Most of the worlds worst murderous despots had plenty of charm, intelligence and many other positive characteristics. Their blinkered or brainwashed messengers, supporters and propagandists had sometimes more.

Iain; please take my advice and avoid the double glazing salesman when he next shows up. I fear he may bankrupt you.

Atlas Shrugged

PhilC said...

At threads like this I always remind myself of stories such as the following: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1534943/Anger-at-Cameron%27s-endorsement-of-Toynbee.html
I think you've got more in common than you realise. Polly tried to destroy the Labour Party via the SDP in the early 80s and she's never been a fan of unions (too much like working class people in control).
Also: her analysis of the state sees it as a camel train moving forward where the object is to stop people falling behind, not necessarily have everyone overtaking the leader.
Even the most swivel-eyed, small state, Freidman loons among you can see some merit in that view?

Anonymous said...

If Poll did a Rose Dugdale and actually surrendered her considerable personal wealth for redistribution, I'd take her slightly more seriously. Until then, I will continue to chuckle at her and await her explanation on how her Socialist pipe dreamsx could ever improve the lot of the disadvantaged

Anonymous said...

she can afford to be a socialist those of us with real jobs cannot.

She is just bitter that she wasn't elected to the trough,how dare the poor people not recognize the female messiah had come among them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I wonder if she has ever asked Milliband how he got into Oxford with his "naff" `A` levels."

Miliband's grades were not really naff. They were BBBD, which was good enough for him to be allowed to take the college entrance exams and he passed those with flying colours.

Philipa said...

"the great fissure in class, race, style, attitude, background"

Maybe? People moan about the fact the you're more likely to be stopped by police if you're black in parts of London but as the majority of criminals are black in those areas then go figure. If they were purple one-legged dwarves then dwarves would no doubt feel harassed. The sad fact is there aren't many good schools, anywhere, for anyone, whatever your 'class, race, style, attitude, background'. Polly has written some timely truths. I like her work. But Labour have failed.

A more chilling story is that reported of Erica Fidorra, who was denied a place at Sheffield to study medicine because she was a good student and the daughter of graduate parents. WTF has her parents qualifications got to do with her acceptance? They shouldn't get her in and they shouldn't keep her out, they are not her achievements. But places were given to lower achieving children of parents who were not graduates because of social engineering schemes. So we are not training the best doctors then. We are training the most 'worthy'. The worthy poor - a mediocre student will be scraping by and treating you or your children in an A&E dept after very little sleep in a hospital near you. Warm yourself with the knowledge that whatever happens you will have helped a poor person become socially mobile :-)

David Lindsay said...

I am by no means always in agreement with Polly Toynbee. But she has a point this time. I really do implore people to consider the following entirely representative extracts:

"General mobility is a myth. The top 10% of income earners get 27.3% of the cake, while the bottom 10% get just 2.6%. Twenty years ago the average chief executive of a FTSE 100 company earned 17 times the average employee's pay; now it is more than 75 times. Since Labour came to power in 1997 the proportion of personal wealth held by the top 10% has swelled from 47% to 54%. Labour did try to tug in the opposite direction, but after Gordon Brown's last budget as chancellor axed the 10p tax rate, many of the lowest paid were left bearing a heavier burden."

"Tax consultants Grant Thornton estimated that in 2006 at least 32 of the UK's 54 billionaires paid no income tax at all."

"How much, we asked our group, would it take to put someone in the top 10% of earners? They put the figure at £162,000. In fact, in 2007 it was around £39,825, the point at which the top tax band began. Our group found it hard to believe that nine-tenths of the UK's 32m taxpayers earned less than that. As for the poverty threshold, our lawyers and bankers fixed it at £22,000. But that sum was just under median earnings, which meant they regarded ordinary wages as poverty pay. Mistakes such as these should disqualify the wealthy from pontificating about taxation or redistribution. And yet City views carry great weight with ministers and politicians of all parties."

"The City's importance is exaggerated. Finance, including the City, insurance and high street banks, forms 7.9% of the UK's GDP, compared with manufacturing at 14.7% and property services at 16.5%. Added together, hotels, catering and telecoms account for nearly the same share of GDP as finance. As for their threats of flight, both our bankers and lawyers turned out to be remarkably immobile, most having worked for their firms for a long number of years. The warmth with which they described their London lives with partners and children suggested they would be loth to leave."

"It would have been absurd to expect mea culpas from these people just because they earned so much. What we had hoped for was more awareness, some recognition that their position needed explaining and even justification. Instead, with the exception of a couple of progressive lawyers, they simply denied they were rich."

"A lawyer admitted that he couldn't imagine surviving on an income as low as £100,000, and in discussions about higher tax bands his colleagues objected to any such low sum being used as a benchmark."

""Providing for children" was flourished as a trump card, as if spending on offspring were automatically moral and good, regardless of how other people's children fare."

[Admittedly, Toynbee is on thin ice here.]

"Applicants at this law firm are "becoming posher", a senior partner noted. Older partners were often grammar school, but now recruits almost exclusively have been to private schools. They are also greedier: the same older partner said he was shocked that the first question high-flying graduates ask now is about the salary."

["Grammar schools"? Did somebody say "grammar schools"?]

"John Hills's charts showed how the modern UK tax system can barely be called progressive, with the top 10th of income earners paying a smaller proportion of their total income in tax than the bottom 10th. The poor are hit hard by VAT and other indirect taxes: they spend relatively more on taxable goods and services. Even when confronted with that evidence, the bankers especially gave the crudest response, saying flatly that they contributed more in cash - denying the point of a progressive tax system, which is that higher earners pay a larger proportionate share."

"One banker said he thought a family of four receives "say, £3,000 a month in their hands, and they're somewhere miles up north. They're not going to earn that sort of money, so where's the incentive for them to go out to work?" In fact, a family of four would in 2008 receive a net total of £1,328 a month. Whatever, the poor didn't deserve it."

"We heard this get-out time and again. Public money is always misspent. Our bankers airily said the administrative cost of paying tax credits was astronomical; Hills said it was actually 3%. And what was the ratio of office costs to turnover in a big City bank? A good deal more - nearer 8%, it turned out. But their error was delivered with all the aplomb of power."

"The entire public realm was dismissed in one sweep. As if he hailed from the planet Zog, one of the bankers said: "I have absolutely no idea how my taxes are spent and therefore I do not trust the system at all." But he knew his taxes would be misspent."

"Here were people who might be technically adept, or good at deal-making, but as a group - with one or two exceptions - they were less intelligent, less intellectually inquisitive, less knowledgeable and, despite their good schools, less broadly educated than high-flyers in other professions. Their high salaries were not a sign of any obvious superiority. Most dismaying was their lack of empathy and their unwillingness to contemplate other, less luxurious lives. They could not see that the pleasure they derived from possessions, prospects and doing well by their children is universal and that others deserve a share of that, too."

Anonymous said...

what is the point of polly toynbee?i barely remember her as a bbc reporter,but what else has she achieved?that's right,she is one of those 'social commentators',like most critics,someone who does nothing but gripes about those who try.regards,ferg morrissey.

Anonymous said...

"I wont allow abusive comments" so what on earth can we say ......... the woman's an absolute fraud, and a rich one at that!

Anonymous said...

It's people like Toynbee that have held back black people for too long. She is irrelevant. Someone should kindly point that out to her.

Electro-Kevin said...

I don't understand for the life of me why people such as Polly Toynbee have such influence when their ideas are so obviously flawed.

Yet another person given far greater weighting by the broadcast media than is warranted.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"Also: her analysis of the state sees it as a camel train moving forward where the object is to stop people falling behind, not necessarily have everyone overtaking the leader.
Even the most swivel-eyed, small state, Freidman loons among you can see some merit in that view?"


Actually, to clarify (and I've heard her outline this in person), the object is to stop those who are behind falling so far back that the train splits into two: at this point, Polly maintains, you have a broken society.

The trouble is that Polly's solution is to slow down those at the front, not to speed up those at the back. And were one to take Polly's solution on board, of course, the train would take far longer to reach its objective (whatever that objective may be).

I too have met Polly, on a number of occasions (she didn't know who I was, of course), and I find her entirely charmless. Further, since I know the ideas that she holds, I can no more personally like her than I could like Stalin; she is a terrible and, yes, evil woman, for she advocates nothing less than the enslavement of all people by the state (apart from those, like her, who are both rich enough to buy their way out and influential enough to be allowed to do so).

I have said it before and I'll say it again: beware those who advocate a large state because they are always those who expect to be in charge of it.

DK

Anonymous said...

Should anyone have any doubts that toynbee is other than grossly incompetent and completely self-deluded let them read this amusing and wholly damning blog, "Factchecking Pollyanna":

http://factcheckingpollyanna.blogspot.com/

Daniel Johnson said...

This sort of twaddle about Oxford irritates me so much. I'm an Oxford student (postgrad now, did undergrad here as well), and, yes, I went to a private school. But I also worked bloody hard to get here. Why should any university be expected to take up the slack from a badly run state school sector when it can recruit able and motivated students from private schools?

Oxbridge students used to be almost overwhelmingly state educated until some cretin decided to introduce the comprehensive education system, which has let down several generations of teenagers. Of course, this is made far worse by the ingrained attitude of many teachers: I have heard countless stories (and have personal knowledge) of left-wing teachers actively discouraging able pupils from applying to Oxbridge, on the grounds that they will only hate it and be hated. The prejudice, in this case, comes from those whose job it should be to encourage aspiration - including old Polly.

(Oh, and by the way, lots of rooms all over Oxford are now en-suite. It's so that they can be hired out to Americans for exorbitant rates in vacations, which in turn subsidises current students. But let's attribute it to us all being posh toffs, eh? Iain, I feel a guest blog post coming on...)

Newmania said...

All of those stats are regurgitated yesterday’s breakfast and were requoted once again in G 2 trailing the book. There are two separate issues . Firstly would it make a significant difference to anyone life to apply progressive or envy driven tax at the top 5 or 10 percent No , we are already taxing at the limit of revenue and the notion that we can tighten up is absolutely a lie. The tax system is in fact highly progressive already as demonstrated brilliantly bny Nigel Lawson in his recent artcile in the Independent . All of this envy mongering has quite another purpose which is to split the tax payer constituency and having done so attack the middling which the only real source of more state power/taxes
The problem with social mobility , however , is real and has been added to by Labour’s appalling record on education but also by the development of property and a knowledge economy. The people whose mobility has declined chiefly though are not the lowest where it would be hard to spot the difference but the middling and aspirational who has found themselves excluded. The reasons are structural and include the need to train longer and take risks in developing commercial opportunities which for those with no capital is not an option. In addition to that the media is now dominated by those from an upper middleclass and those in the majority below are excluded .
There is a limit to how much the state can do about this but spreading property ownership allowing excellence in schools and removing the gigantic tax burden taken by the middling as a proportion of their basic budget would be an enormous help . Labour and Polly especially have no grasp whatsoever of the real social injustice in this coutry . She sees the picturesque poor and the corpulent director and no-one inbetween . Polly Toynbee`s caravan is right but it is chiefly a problem of those not at the bottom

Finally , it is not a surprise you should agree with Polly T w you are a socialist and she is a socialist propagandists paid fro by state contacts to advertise public sector appointments and soft political funding . I find her an interesting writer actually but this book , if her own excerpts are to be belived is a rehash of the old left myths and not just weak but ante-deluvian in its approach to real problems it dimly perceives .What you may not realise is that those of the thinking right are not any more in opposition to you and your antiquarian kind , you are an oddity , a vestigal bony residue or ruin . The real discussion is happening elsewhere.

Why not join the real world and leave this patrician old lady to her Bennite nostalgia

Newmania said...

...PS Giles Coren and numerous others like him are as much part of the immobility problem as Polly Toynbee of course.His witless haw haw-ing is almost as beside the point as her paleo-socilaism .

Daniel said...

As dean said: "... protest vehemently how you'd love to pay more taxes."

Of course Polly Pot would love to - it's not her fault that she works for a newspaper that takes every effort to avoid paying tax, allowing it to continue to pay her salary of many times the national average. And of course it's only fair she should be paid at the market rate for her uncanny ability to produce exactly what Guardian readers want to hear. I hope she sells lots of books to the same people - these are difficult times, economically, and she's got to pay more than one mortgage, what with that Tuscan villa. Then there's all the airfares. It must mount up!

Whenever life gets you down, just search for "toynbee littlejohn" on YouTube, and enjoy the most spectacular performance of dismounting from a high horse you'll ever see!

Anonymous said...

PhilC said...

"Polly tried to destroy the Labour Party via the SDP in the early 80s"

Rather more accurate to say that she helped to destroy the SDP via the SDP in the early 80s.

It's all very well for that woman to moan about the lack of social mobility in Britain. When it comes to policies she wants things that either make things worse or destroy the economy, or both. The woman is absurd. And she's a hypocrite. Villa in Tuscany indeed. She should try a week in Blackpool if she really believes this MMGW rubbish.

Anonymous said...

Toynbee doesn't hate rich people - she hates those rich people who have no conception of society, and whose sole thought process is how can I keep lots of my lovely money for me-me-me and sod everyone else.

Which is probably why the free market loons are having a go, eh? No I will not pay my money in tax to fund universal healthcare social housing and benefits that keep the poor from starving, they should listen to the Blessed Margaret and stand on their own feet! I should have my money and CHOOSE if I give it to charity - and then I'll choose to spend it on a third holiday instead.

Compassionate conservatism my foot.

Anonymous said...

pollys latest tome is available on ebay nobody has bid yet starts at £2.99 what a bargain don't buy it and your that much better off.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

@anonymous, 9:44: I'm technically a high earner, I don't qualify for state handouts in any way, shape or form, but I can't afford to even go to Blackpool this year for my holidays. Why? Because I get taxed to keep feckless morons in weed, White Lightning and their holidays in Benidorm or Ibiza or whatever.

I don't get a first holiday, even, let alone a second or a third, because I'm paying for politicians to play social engineering games with policies that have been proven to fail time and time again.

Enough, I say, enough. It's time for people to stand up for themselves. I personally am tired of paying for others. I'm tired of turning over every coin twice before deciding to pay for food for my own family. Socialism is killing this country, one day at a time.

Anonymous said...

Yet the truth is she has dominated the agenda for the likes of NuLab and the Beeb over many years and seems set to continue. Dave C. (or at least some of his advisors) have also endorsed her world-view.

BTW she has seen Boris Johnson naked.

Croydonian said...

Ever since that black day in 1997 I have been waiting for the first Toynbee article after a Conservative general election victory. The thought of quite how much pain it will cause has come as a great comfort. I counsel the legions of Polly-haters to hold that thought.

Anonymous said...

How does this woman get away with being paid a fortune for the badly reseached rubbish she writes?

Anonymous said...

"How does this woman get away with being paid a fortune for the badly reseached rubbish she writes?" asks Auntie Flo.

Simple - she works for the Grauniad. Need one say more?

Anonymous said...

I don't mind hating rich people - so long as we can start with Polly Toynbee, because £150,000 per year plus a villa in Tuscany sounds very very rich to me!

(Only fair to say that Giles Coren has rather redeemed himself in my eyes with his acid review of the book - after I read his incredible mostly obscene email to the sub-editors for leaving out ONE LETTER of his pearls of wisdom, I thought he was a pompous idiot. He probably is, but anyone who loathes Polly is OK by me.....)

Roger Thornhill said...

Actually, to clarify (and I've heard her outline this in person), the object is to stop those who are behind falling so far back that the train splits into two: at this point, Polly maintains, you have a broken society.

The trouble is that Polly's solution is to slow down those at the front, not to speed up those at the back. And were one to take Polly's solution on board, of course, the train would take far longer to reach its objective (whatever that objective may be).

Alas, the caravan does not work that way, nor are the underclass left in a siding.

What happens is the likes of Polly, near the front and still coveting the top slots, force those who have fairly healthy camels to hand them over for those at the back to ride, while they have to jog alongside on foot.

Of course, the Pollys of this world will never need to dismount. No, not they, for they are too busy trying to get to the very front.

The Green Man said...

"We brought nothing into this world, and it is equally certain that we can take nothing out of it."

What disturbs me about this sort of silliness is the apparent assumption that to be bitter and jealous of the wealthy is somehow virtuous. To hate anyone only makes me smaller, and I write that with experience. Maybe Polly Toynbee needs to realise that.

I'm poor, officially. My taxes went up when they axed the 10p tax band. I mix with people who earn less than I do, and people who are in the top tax band, with public servants, lawyers and construction workers, and I have news for Polly: you will find morons everywhere, just as you will find intelligent people everywhere. So what?

Let us all remember that people, rich or poor, are people first, shall we?

Oh, and on the en-suite thing, Ms. Toynbee, I think you'll find most universities have en-suite facilities somewhere. Students are getting fussier about sharing, and when it comes to mixed halls, I can't say I blame the female ones. Besides, if you get up with 5 minutes to go before your 10 o'closck lecture, you're not going to be happy to find the bathroom occupied.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I received in the post a report by a government sponsored project following the lives of everyone in the country who was born in the first week of March 1958.It was sent to me because I am one of them.To my utter dismay and disgust it had an introduction by Toynbee.At present I do not know whether to take further part in the survey.

Interestingly the survey results refute her views if only she would use what she considers to be her mind to analyse them properly.Those born in 1958 had greater social mobility than those born in a later similar survey in 1970.Polly,m'dear,I was born in a working class area,passed my 11 plus,went to a grammar school,a good university and am now prosperous and employ a workforce.Astonishingly as it seems now,three in my year in that working class primary school went to Cambridge.

That same school is now a feeder for a sink school.The results are a disgrace.Yet I do not believe that the local children are inherently less bright than my contemporaries.Their chances in life have been destroyed by the likes of Polly and her Guardianista friends and I hope that they all rot in hell.

Anonymous said...

"I won't allow abusive comments".

How on earth can Polly Toynbee's name be mentioned without resorting to abuse?

You really are asking too much Iain.

Anonymous said...

Obnoxio, if you're a higher-rate earner, then you're on £34k or more, the first £34k of which is only taxed at 22% or less, leaving you £27k pa.

If you can't afford a wet weekend in Blackpool then you really are the feckless undeserving "poor" the right talk about. At any rate I suspect you of talking out of your behind - you can afford the net at the least, presumably along with a subscription to the Mail.

Anonymous said...

Polly Toynbee's journalism seems to me to be heavy on banal details about the political process, and light on any kind of analysis or insight. She strikes me as an overpromoted third-rater who, having been assigned to create a comfort zone for the Guardian's readership of diversity support co-ordinators and the like, can't resist showing off about how much of an insider she is.
If anyone has any lingering respect for her, I call your attention to the column in which she called crossbench peers who called attention to the disgraceful treatment of the Army an 'ageing junta' and, criticising their having the 'brass neck' to do their duty by speaking out, called for them to be 'slapped down' by the lickspittle government responsible for betraying our forces.

David Lindsay said...

Regular readers of the Guardian's letters page will know that that paper's readership contains a strong strain of Toynbeescepticism, especially on the day after any of her starstruck and girly paens, first to Blair, then to Brown, and now to Miliband.

But this time, she is basically right.

Enormous importance is attached, by all parties, to those who think that their own sector is vastly more important than it really is (even now, the whole of the financial services sector, never mind the City alone, still accounts for less than half the GDP that manufacturing does), who are convinced that one hundred grand per year (one per cent of the population) is not rich at all, who sincerely imagine national median earnings to be poverty pay, who have managed to put about the complete fantasy that they are members of a super-adaptable global elite (in fact, they ordinarily work for the same company for decades on end, and live very settled lives indeed), who have no idea how their taxes are spent but are nevertheless convinced that every penny must be being wasted, who simply assume that nobody in the public sector is properly qualified (doctors?), and so many other things exposed in this book.

As for Oxbridge, who cares? Last year, Eton sent 95 people to Oxbridge. An Oxbridge degree just means that you are the ninety-fifth best Etonian in his year, or that person's equivalent. So what? How good can the ninety-fifth best Etonian in his year possibly be?

I'm all for bringing back grammar schools, but I'm also all for getting over Oxbridge.

And I don't know why anyone thinks that Toynbee would object to a Cameron Government. On what grounds? It wouldn't do anything of which she disapproved. Or, at least, nothing more than Blair did, or than Brown is doing, or than Miliband would do.

Electro-Kevin said...

I'd like to continue Newmania's point about 'progressive' taxation splitting the taxpayer consituency.

A clear case of divide and conquer.

Time for unification:

working class + middle class = PRODUCTIVE CLASS

We all have the same aspirations and man the same boat and are subject to exactly the same flak.

Labour masquerades as the defender of the 'working' class. It does no such thing. It defends itself, the interests of its rich backers and the underclass which it created.

Anonymous said...

Polly is entitled to her views. What's the problem - is it just that you disagree with her views?

Why not start a serious debate rather than attack attack attack?

Anonymous said...

Obnoxio The Clown said...

"It's time for people to stand up for themselves."

Okay. Let's start by making it easier for anyone to get a gun. Let's see how much standing up for yourself you do then. I'll vote for that. In fact, I'd enjoy it. Please leave your address.

The Remittance Man said...

If Polly likens society to a camel train it is most revealing of her mentality and indeed morality.

In camel trains the camels exist simply to serve the owener and his employees. They are tethered together, unable to do anything unless it accords with the wishes of the aforementioned owner and his employees. Should a camel try and kick against this those emplyees use whips to get it back in line. When a camel gets too old or too sick to continue working for the owner and his employees they simply slit its throat.

Since I doubt Polly considers herself of the camel class class, it's not too hard to deduce how she regards the rest of her countrymen.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

How is her salary relevant? Ok, you may argue she should give some of it away - but whether she does or doesn't is totally irrelevant to her argument.

That is, unless you're saying she has no right to argue in favor of the poor because she isn't poor- which I'm sure you'll agree is insane. Would you state that charity workers have no right to persuade us to donate because they are not starving themselves?

I do get that the overall point of this post is a different argument altogether, but her salary is totally irrelevant when considering her call for social change.