In July 2016 Theresa May gave a speech on the steps of Downing Street in which she proposed to build a ‘country that works for every one of us’ and not just for the ‘privileged few’.
Seventeen months on, the board of the body charged with boosting social mobility resigned en masse, in a stunning rebuke to the PM, in protest at her failure to do more for people trapped in poverty. (1)
The chairman of the Social Mobility Commission, Alan Milburn, accused the government of being so preoccupied with Brexit that were failing to address the poverty and lack of mobility that led so many people in poorer areas to vote for it in the first place!
Earlier, the commission’s report had identified 65 social mobility cold spots, of which 60 had voted to leave the EU.
400, 000 more children have fallen into poverty since 2012 to 2013, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which is a direct effect of Tory benefit cuts: when you are suffering material deprivation and having to do your homework in cramped conditions then it puts you in no position to be able to compete with richer kids who will have their own private study space at home.
Then there’s the fact that kids from richer households are twice as likely to get into outstanding schools as kids from poorer backgrounds, suggesting that this route to social mobility is ineffective, while Oxford remains an institution which seems to perpetuate class privilege.
So, if we’re judging Theresa May’s and the Tory’s commitment social mobility on their social policies, they clearly are not committed, which suggests they don’t give a stuff about the poor.
The Week (Print Edition, 9th December 2017)
(1) An alternative interpretation of why they resigned is that they all spontaneously realised the methods behind the report were a bit rubbish (the technical term escapes me). In that it didn’t actually measure social mobility, as such! OOPS!
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