Growing Inequality (noted in mid-1987)

Two Nations?

By Gwydion M. Williams

Far too much Labour propaganda has been talking about the supposed division of Britain into Two Nations, the Haves and Have Nots.

Now whether you look at the statistics, or just observe the world about you, it should be obvious that life is not so simple. There is a complex and continuous graduation from the very richest to the most miserable and poor.

It is without doubt true that Thatcher has increased the number of the poor and unemployed. and that the very well off have done far better during the Thatcher years than anyone else. But the daily reality for most people – including the bulk of the working class – has been a moderate but steady increase in prosperity. Any argument that hopes to convince people has to accept that observable reality.

You could look at the process as an f-shaped curve.Created by Readiris Pro, Copyright IRIS 2017

This isn’t meant to be exact, but you can see the rich moving ahead fastest, the middle class not quite so well,· the working class less well than the middle class, and poor really being left behind. “To him that has much, even more shall be given; and to him that is in. want, little or nothing shall be given”. That might have got through to people. But tell them that there are two nations, and most of them will decide that they’re in the one that’s doing rather well!

[I was already aware in 1987 that Thatcherism was a swindle.  It got much worse later: see Feed-the-Rich Economics.

[Britain was however milder than the USA.  There, the ‘Reagan Democrats’ thought that the state was their enemy and social control needless.  Those people have seen no gains since the 1970s.  Elected Trump in 2016 and may do so again.

[For my part, though I noticed that the rich were taking too much, I failed to realise how bad things were getting.  Said little more until several years later.]

This is from Newsnotes for July 1987.  Issue 3 of Labour and Trade Union Review.