Britain moves to the Right (and NOT away from the poor)
It's not just that the latest British Social Attitudes survey finds more people ready to vote Conservative than Labour (the first time the Survey has found that in two decades) it is in the underlying attitudes:
- Only two in five people support higher taxes to fund higher spending on public services such as health and education, down from 62% in 1997;
- Half now say taxes and spending should remain the same as they are now, the highest level since 1984;
- Fewer than four in 10 now think the Government should redistribute income from the rich to those less well-off, down from 51% in 1994;
- 21% think unemployment benefits are too low and cause hardship, compared with over 53% in 1994.
Just after 7am, Alison Park, a co-author of the report, told Radio 4's Today programme that there had been a "swing more towards the right, in that people have become less sympathetic towards the poor." I didn't quite choke on my cereals but nearly. Ms Park's sloppy rubbish was repeated during the Today programme's main 8am news bulletin. People have not (necessarily) become less sympathetic to the poor but less sympathetic to the left-wing idea that high taxes and an ever larger welfare state helps the poor. As a Conservative who has worked for many years on social policy I'm convinced that Tory policies on tax, immigration, education, family life and voluntary sector reform are the best hope for the poor. Ms Park was wrong to say what she said and the BBC was culpable in re-broadcasting it.
The BSA survey also found more tolerance towards homosexuality and cohabitation. Melanchthon discusses Radio 4's treatment of those topics on CentreRight.