Comments for en-gb 30 Tue 28 Jul 2015 11:44:04 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at splendidPenthesilia I applaud the initiative being taken by Trevor Philips, and I hope that he is able to gain support for this campaign. As far as I'm aware, he hasn't used the expression 'class war', and if the issues are looked at honestly and justly, there is no reason why there should be casualties.Whether Trevor Philips earns 70,000 pounds a year, or the minimum wage, does not alter the fact that he is right about the widening gulfs in British society. However, if he weren't one of the high earners, it's unlikely that he would have a platform upon which to raise this fundamental issue, or that anybody would listen to him. There are, of course, in British society many very wealthy individuals (some of them are millionnaires) who claim to be concerned about poverty, poor health, limited opportunities etc. but who actually do nothing at all. I disagree with Mark Easton that the issue of social class is 'ideological'. If some members of an advanced society are obliged to live in poor housing, in low paid jobs, to receive poor quality education, and limited medical care from health care professionals who (often though not always) hold them in contempt, this is very much a human rights issue. What surprises me is that the Commission has taken so long to add it to its agenda. Being middle class is not synonymous with being well educated, but perhaps is does facilitate access to the Inns of Court, medical school etc. Certainly, the kind of arrogance that is often the trade mark of the proud, self-respecting lawyer or medical consultant rarely traces its original source back to a council estate in an inner city.I don't see why more upward social mobility necessarily implies that some people must come down. As more and more legislation comes from the EU, and as this new Labour government continues to introduce more laws of its own, surely this will create even greater demand for lawyers to interpret the minutiae. In the same way, developments in medical treatments would seem to suggest a need for more doctors, and as new pychological syndromes are being discovered even as we breathe, psychologists will need to move over to make room for more colleagues. These are just three examples. Within an enterprise culture, there will always be scope for more businesses - great and small - though of course, in keeping with the laws of the free market, some will inevitably fall to the way.Two issues that greatly concern me, and which I think Trevor Philiips should address urgently are those of industrial disease, and low life expectancy for people in some occupations and in some social circumstances. There is nothing 'ideological' or Marxist about these concerns - though of course Frederick Engels did address some of these issues towards the end of the 19th century, as did Charles Dickens. What a pity that the Trade Unions don't campaign more vociferously about these matters, and what a terrible indictment of British society that they are still with us. Thu 24 Jul 2008 21:50:22 GMT+1 catamite It seems that we have hit the usual raw nerve, judging by the post from Pot_Kettle.The income divide has always been with us, and as most of the 20th Century was governed by the Conservative Party it is a gross distortion to claim that Socialism 'ALWAYS' increases inequality, or to dismiss all non-Grammar School kids as 'benefit fodder'. No one individual, organisation or philosophy has all the answers.I couldn't agree more with Simonmw3, however, that the key to this problem is education. No government since the war has given anything like enough prominence or resources to education for all. Each and everyone of us has talent, but it is not always academic, and until we as a nation fully recognise and nurture these talents, instead of writing off the 'benefit fodder', we will always have a social divide.Unfortunately, if people are educated you teach them to think, and they might not always think the way you do. That's dangerous! Thu 24 Jul 2008 15:33:26 GMT+1 Pot_Kettle @29 and 30You assume that the "rich" have always been rich.You, as all socialist commentators, fail to appreciate that a sizeable number of poeple now with "middle class" levels of income have got there through there own hard work instaed of relying on a socialist government to hand it to them on a plate.The present socialist government has ruled over a period where they have increased the gap between the financially "lower" and "middle" classes.That is what socialism ALWAYS achieves.Yes they have some great ideas NHS and minimum wage perhaps but they also have some pretty shocking ones too.The Grammer school system used to enable "lower" class kids to get an education nearer to privately educated kids due to their own ability and effort. They can no longer do this as the more able ones that want to put in the effort are bundled with the benefit fodder. Thu 24 Jul 2008 12:02:36 GMT+1 Simon Ward It used to be referred to as "Equal Opportunity", and that's what I think it should be. All people should have the opportunity to better themselves and achieve something - whether or not they take advantage of the opportunities is up to the individual.The current government thinking seems to be to force equality on everyone, like it or not, and IMO veers towards communism.However, Trevor Philips is right about one thing: education. Unfortunately, education in this country has been eroded both Thatcher and Blair. It used to be that you could get a place in university if you qualified on merit. Furthermore, you would get fees fully paid and a maintenance grant if your parents were low income. This has been replace by a system were almost anyone can go to university irrespective of their academic suitability - all they need to do is saddle themselves with huge debt!Another serious flaw in education is lack of discipline. A small handful of pupils that do not want to learn can disrupt a class and effectively destroy the opportunities of the rest of the children in the class.It can take twenty years between beginning primary school to completing university and making a real contribution to this countries GDP. Therefore, the effect of the education policy are never fully felt by the government during their term in office. Education is the surest way to social and economic success, but also the slowest! Thu 24 Jul 2008 09:55:34 GMT+1 neil But the poor ARE poor because the rich are rich. And this debate proves it. Why? Because, when under threat, the rich mobilise all of their resources to keep the poor in their place. As catamite points out, for the most part, the comments in this debate are little more than an ideological justification for inequality. Wed 23 Jul 2008 10:56:19 GMT+1 catamite Surely everyone would agree that there is a wealth disparity in this country and it's good to see a debate on the subject. I await proposals from Trevor Phillips to see if I agree or disagree , because a five minute radio interview could not give enough detail to form an opinion.However, Mark Easton's blog and its subsequent comments have highlighted one area where Mr. Phillips is going to have a particularly rough ride and that is from the already advantaged middle class.If you disregard the supposedly 'funny' comments and the personal invective which have no place in serious debate, you are left with a diatribe of half-truths and assumptions indicative of a section of society worried that their position may be under threat.For example, I heard no mention of wealth redistribution either on the radio or the blog, merely equality of opportunity, but this has been immediately seized upon by those who already 'have'. It may be that redistribution is what the EHRC have in mind, but I'll wait and see.This assumption leads inevitably to the greatest fear of those who 'have' - ' it's all a communist plot '. The word Socialist is bandied about freely and allied to the formation of a Soviet style state, as though the two are indivisible, but they are not interchangeable as some would have us believe. Socialism has a long and proud history in this country whereas Communism has never been more than a rump movement.Socialism has been responsible for most of the major social changes in the last 150 years, from the 1867 Reform Act and 1870 Education Act, through Votes for Women and Universal Suffrage to the NHS and the Minimum Wage, each one bitterly opposed by the Conservatives and those who 'have'. The dire consequences of each move forward, as foretold by the doom-mongers, never materialised, and we still live in a free society.The social rift which has developed needs to be healed, and I for one welcome more detail from the EHRC. Whether or not I agree with them remains to be seen, but I will not be influenced by the rantings of those who condemn before they have the evidence before them.Incidentally, the standard of written English has fallen considerably in the last few years, judging by the comments above, particularly spelling and punctuation. Perhaps these people should return to education and leave more opportunities for others. Wed 23 Jul 2008 04:49:58 GMT+1 pggtips Yet again we have the BBC and its reporters and its sycophants who are popping up here deterring democracy in exactly the same would Chomsky indicated they would.Someone mentions class and the aspirational lower-middle and middle-middle go into a mad frenzy.If the British Social Attitudes survey (which is widely held to be the best and most comprehensive in the business) indicates, and has done now for about 20 years that class remains, and is increasingly the biggest issue in the UK. Then it is.The BBC has one survey of 1000 people and we are expected to take it as fact, the Social Attitudes survey publishes what it has been saying for more than 20 years and it is generally ignored by the media, frankly I find it unbelievable it made it here.Still, that must be some kind of progress. Tue 22 Jul 2008 21:30:13 GMT+1 jluisada I heard that Trevor Phillips is so dedicated to the equalisation of of the poorer people will now be accepting minimum wage, donating the rest to the poor and sending his children to state comprehensives in order not to give them any unfair middle class advantages!What a man of principle!...Oh , I've been dreaming again... Tue 22 Jul 2008 19:08:19 GMT+1 CarrotsneedaQUANGO2 25. pogo50A great story comes from the studios of David Bailey where the daddy of all photographers was taking pictures of the PM for the magazine GQ. "Do you use ever use digital instead of film?" asked Brown's right hand woman Sue Nye. "Nah" drawled Bailey "digitals like socialism - it flattens everything out and makes everything the same". Bailey's laughter at his own joke was met, by an explanation that that's not really what socialism was… But we all know that in practice that is exactly what socialism is, its about dumbing down everything to the lowest common denominator and to a level everyone can achieve.You have to look no further that our education system for that principle in action. Tue 22 Jul 2008 16:48:45 GMT+1 Pogo I'm sad that even after all this time, our "betters" haven't yet cottoned on to the fact that you can't pull people up from the bottom by dragging those at the top down. Tue 22 Jul 2008 16:19:10 GMT+1 CarrotsneedaQUANGO2 Ref costInterestingly:Phillips first dictat was to rename the organisation. He didnt like the name- the Commission for Equality and Human Rights. So he changed it. To the far more expressive Equality and Human Rights Commission. Obviously all the old CEHR branded stationary, calling cards, ballpoints, souvenir back-scratchers etc had to be sent to landfill, and a whole new lot of EHRC branded stuff ordered up. But hey, you've got to get this important stuff right.Cost? We've no idea, and it's a fair bet they haven't either.But we do know how much was spent on the rebranding itself, because the figures were given to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee). It was a third of a million quid, paid to an outfit called 35 Communications.Anyone found out his salary yet? Tue 22 Jul 2008 15:45:04 GMT+1 Dunky_R Mr Phillips has now re-difined class but I think this is just the general redifinement of class that seems to have pervaded through out similar type articles. That is money equals class. And it certainly now seems like that. But at the same time we have always been judged on material possession. And it is true about fairness. It indicates balance, meaning that you have to allow failure. A common theme throughout some of the Discworld books (namely the Witch series) is the notion of fairness. A character says "It isn't fair" and the reply will be "Nobody said it was going to be". More importantly by what rule should fairness be judged? By Mr Phillips and the commission? By faith groups? By the poorest of society? Individually we would not put up with absolute equality but maybe a form of equilibrium. Tue 22 Jul 2008 14:25:39 GMT+1 rrwholloway What a load of tosh. Mind you, it won't matter, in two years we'll have a Conservative government and with any luck this report, Trevor Phillips and much of the BBC that supports this kind of ridiculous class war mentality will be demolished. Tue 22 Jul 2008 10:34:12 GMT+1 super-teacher I may be reading this thing completely wrong but has anyone ever read George Orwell's 'Animal Farm'?! Tue 22 Jul 2008 09:51:12 GMT+1 threnodio Lest anyone misunderstand, I am not suggesting that redistributive taxation is a good thing. Far from it.I am merely pointing out that it is the way forward if you see any sense in Phillip's initiative. Personally, I consider it to be a complete waste of time and effort, not least because there are no terms of reference and proper definitions. Tue 22 Jul 2008 09:47:30 GMT+1 solomanbrown Dear MarkTrevor Philips, and his regime have supported and recreated the class system in the United Kingdom. By supporting the Ethnic and minority case, he has single handed alienated much of Britain, and if he thinks, he can attack the middle classes as being the Problem he is very, very much mistaken.The problem with Class lies at the heart of, Royalty, Aristocracy Establisment. This where the class system lies, and maintained, every person out side these wall are "the problem," it is never within the walls of power.Philips is part of the Establishment, and it is here where the problems Britain faces to day are created, and it has existed since the Dark Ages, Where the Barons ruled, Surfdom has never left the people of Britain, if you are not a member of the elite you are nothing, "WE DO NOT COMMENT ON INDIVIDUAL CASES", the establishments get out clause, to dominate the people. AND the fact we are all susposed to be SUBJECTS, sorry that class and has no basis in modern life it is a relic of the dark ages.and royalty. Tue 22 Jul 2008 06:33:07 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII Rather that creating opportunities for the poor to become rich by creating jobs, incentives to go into business, greater chances to get a bette education and a better job, take what the rich have away from them and give it to the poor. This way, nobody will be rich and there won't be any incentive to try since any success will be stolen from you. That way, the only method to get what you want if it's more than the barest minimum needed to survive is to steal it from someone else. This is how the USSR and its empire worked for 74 years. The EU and UK could do the same. Tue 22 Jul 2008 05:29:05 GMT+1 Huaimek "Poverty is a state of mind", "God helps those who help themselves" !!!When you try to help the poorest ; you will often find a mental or physical inability to better themselves . You cannot make people equal , if they are unwilling to try to better themselves .Much emphasis is put upon Education ; but Social Education is as important to poor people as academic education .Many children in Britain are allowed to go to school sruffily dressed ; I note that teachers dress down to do the same . I recall a young man on television , complaining that he had a university degree , but nobody would give him a job . His hair was all over the place , his clothes were dishevelled and his speach was inarticulate .If you can attain a university degree , with which you are employable in middleclass professional and executive jobs , you have to be the part , dress well , speak well , have acceptable social behaviour .Up to the second world war many people of poor working class families , look up the social scale to emulate and be like people who employed them . There academic education may have been limited ; but the could read and write , knew how to dress , if only for church on sunday . They knew how to show respect for people around them , not just their employers , or "Toffs".We live in a time when it is fashionable to think down not up ; for people to dress badly , behave badly and not show respect for anyone .I know families who have elevated themselves from poor working class , to middle class ; it can be done ; but there must be the will on their part to uplift themselves . No amount of political social engineering can do it for them . Tue 22 Jul 2008 04:02:55 GMT+1 Anne Sullivan Yet again, we see politicians attempting to create 'fixes' for problems that they have not defined correctly.The wealthy and educated middle class did not 'cause' the lower classes, nor do they force them to remain poor. Redistributing the wealth of the 'haves' to the 'have-nots' cannot possibly fix the problem of the gap between them.Equality of opportunity is a critical factor in a healthy democracy, but to attempt to force any equality of outcome is absurd. Success requires motivation and effort and no magic government program can create that.If the Labour government truly wants to narrow the gap, they must first address the attitudes -- encouraged for years by their own rhetoric -- that ambition is to be sneered at and that the most virtuous and worthy thing one can aspire to be is a member of the working poor. Every time that a Labour party politician sneers at and insults anyone that has worked their way up the ladder, they are hammering home this message.And it is not just the Labour party, their is also blame to be shared by the those that market mass media that elevates low class as something for young people to aspire to. Music, movies, clothing, entertainment -- in all of these areas you see a disdain for improving one's lot within society. According to popular media, it is far better to scream songs of hatred, to glorify the rebel, to dress like a refugee and to embrace drinking and fighting as the best form of entertainment.Young people want to fit in with their peers. If the commission truly wants to close the gap, they need to start by fighting the attitudes of the poor that don't wish to succeed, not the attitudes of those that make an effort to rise. Tue 22 Jul 2008 01:11:15 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII This is wonderful. Why doesn't the whole EU adopt it. From each according to his ability to each according to his need. Socialist competitors are so easy to beat. Go for it. I said the EU would become the EUSSR. Tue 22 Jul 2008 00:01:16 GMT+1 Ian Nartowicz I just checked the calendar and it isn't April 1st, so I can only imagine he must be serious? Mon 21 Jul 2008 23:02:31 GMT+1 Blogpolice Does the Government pay people to produce such documents? Labour tax and waste? Mon 21 Jul 2008 23:00:14 GMT+1 poloplr He costs 70.3 million pounds, according their laughable business plan: Mon 21 Jul 2008 22:09:42 GMT+1 CarrotsneedaQUANGO2 How can you taje this guy seriously?Phillips is very very comfortably off, his kids go to private school, he is as likely to be seen with a glass of champagne at a party of celebrity A-listers as at a march in honour of civil rights.He is a New Labour man to his bootstraps, one Peter Mandelson was his best man and Tony Blair counts him as a fellow political traveller.Socialism just doesnt have any place in a modern 21C Britain.Everyones equal, just some are more equal than others. Mon 21 Jul 2008 21:49:33 GMT+1 CarrotsneedaQUANGO2 7. threnodioMore to the point: We should both wonder what he costs. Mon 21 Jul 2008 21:20:48 GMT+1 Clovis-Sangrail My heart nearly stopped as I listened to Trevor Phillips this lunch time.He failed completely to distinguish between equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes. He advanced the most outrageous pseudo-Marxist cant as the belief of the vast majority of British people. He mimicked John Prescott's outrageous comments about the undesirability of good schools and he miserably failed to distinguish between "social class" and income.Why can no-one accept that education is the single best predictor of income in this country and it's largely the parents who care about education who produce educated children? Instead of suggesting even more "wealth distribution" why doesn't Mr Phillips address the failure of so many parents to motivate their children to learn?Why does he not castigate the government for fudging the issue by trying to give qualifications (certificates) to all rather than getting people to perform in school.Why, for that matter, do so many in the BBC continue to shriek abut the outworn concept of social class when it has been largely replaced?You all give the same impression - that of people who try to change the rules when they're losing the game. Mon 21 Jul 2008 21:14:19 GMT+1 threnodio There is a real problem of definitions here. It seems that Mr. Phillips sees a direct correlation between wealth and class which I suspect is questionable. One has to be careful in this age of political correctness but class used to mean something different from the amount of money available to you. It tended to be gauged in terms of behaviour, manners and other intangibles which are no longer fashionable. We all knew 'toffs' who did not have two coins to rub together, we all knew 'rough diamonds' who had made good through hard work and deft footwork.If modern thinking is that money is class, then there is no getting away from the fact that nothing can be done about the yawning gap between rich and poor without direct action through the tax system to redistribute national wealth on a large scale. I really do not see how EHRC can achieve its goals in any other way.But if it is about something else, Mr. Phillips needs to define what it is in more specific terms before a serious debate can be had. Mon 21 Jul 2008 21:00:01 GMT+1 threnodio #3 - CarrotsneedaQUANGO2 wrote:I wonder what he earns.I wonder what he is paid. Mon 21 Jul 2008 20:16:12 GMT+1 shaun78 I do see where Trevor Philips is coming from but he has to be careful to not politicise the issue. The gaps between the haves and have nots has grown wider, with a whole class of people effectivley demonised with terms of chav and hoddie. The gaps between rich and poor are not just bad for society but also UK plc most eighties yuppies were sons and daughters of factory workers and manual labourers, most had nothing more than a maths o level suddenly a cosy elite were threatened by hungry newcomers, and London went from a declining basket case to the most powerful financial centre in the world, okay that is using abroad brush, but if that decent fairly well educated bunch of people had not exsisted, to take the oppertunities then most of those reforms may not have happened. If you deny a decent education to those with the most to gain from new opportuniites then society will stagnate and decline. complaining that you can no longer "work the system" to your advantage will have little sympathy from over here Mon 21 Jul 2008 19:47:22 GMT+1 kencharman Firstly, we gain nothing by peddling the falsehood that the poor are poor because the rich are rich. Secondly, we need a class of super rich. High net worths are vital in supplying capital to the important new breakthrough technology start-ups that our large savings institutions are not allowed to invest in (thanks to statutory rules). Finally, if he wants to help and I believe he sincerely does, Mr Philips should campaign to persuade poorer classes to aspire to more appropriate role models. The middle classes persuade their children to become accountants and lawyers - which are professions open to anyone with average intelligence. Sadly, the glitz of pop, sport and celebrity culture distracts the children of the masses into a state of stupid contempt for the "boring" old professions. How many potential accountants do we lose from lower income families who willingly wreck their future chasing fantasies of stardom. What about it Trevor? Do the nation a favour and launch a useful tv like "Britain's Got Accountants". Mon 21 Jul 2008 19:40:49 GMT+1 lukas If you succeed in completely removing the gap between rich and poor then everyone becomes more or less equal. If everyone is equal then there is nothing left to aspire to - since you can't better yourself as you are equal to everybody else and there is no better place to go. So really when the commission talk about equality I think they are actually talking about the destruction of aspiration. This would fundamentally damage capitalism and ruin the British economy since it removes the reasons people have to work.One could argue that people would still need to work to sustain themselves and their families... but lets face it - how many people are happy to work just for sustenance and not for any kind of luxuries or treats? Wouldn't such an existence be somewhat soul destroying? Many have to put up with that now (myself included). But what if any chance of breaking out of it was taken away?Indeed would you really want to live in a country where getting rich was not merely difficult - but impossible as it doesn't conform to government social engineering ideals?IMO what we should be doing is not this kind of socialist/communist nonsense - but instead remove things which prevent people at the bottom of the ladder who aspire to better themselves. We shouldn't be setting limits as to how far they can better themselves and dragging middle classes down to make it easier for those at the bottom to achieve some kind of bland mediocrity (and don't make the mistake that this will affect the hyper-rich in any way whatsoever).Unfortunately (for the PC crowd) allowing real aspiration to flourish also means accepting that some people will fail. But personally I'd rather take that chance with my life then to be stuck in some kind of socialist hell where everybody is the same and nobody can ever hope to be anything else.I would rather feel if I was at the bottom of the ladder that there was some way through hard work I could become rich beyond my wildest dreams then that I am simply defective because I haven't reached the middle ground where everyone is supposed to be.I think the commission and the government have got it wrong on this since I don't think that what people object to is some middle classes being well off and comfortable. What they object to is the obscenely rich - who (ironically) are propped up by this government and given tax breaks simply because if they left the country it would cause economic problems due to the way New Labour has already distorted capitalism. It is deeply ironic that the party that is supposed to be for the working person has turned England into a nirvana for the extremely rich and multinational (generally American owned) corporations.I want to live in a society where there are opportunities for aspirations to be fulfilled and for those who work hard to be rewarded properly (and for those who can't be bothered to be NOT rewarded). In that direction only lies some kind of future for the economy and so for the living standards of all of us to be raised. Mon 21 Jul 2008 17:39:13 GMT+1 CarrotsneedaQUANGO2 I wonder what he earns Mon 21 Jul 2008 17:06:47 GMT+1 virtualsilverlady This is more madness from this outdated commission to sicken our indigenous people into uprooting and leaving their homeland for good.Hundreds of thousands of young qualified and skilled workers have already done this and no doubt there will be many more in the recession ahead.I already know people who once they get their children through their education will be leaving this country for good.What will be left?The poor and old and those that no other country will take.Will somebody stop these crazy people before it's too late. Mon 21 Jul 2008 16:31:08 GMT+1 Rich Barber Most people are heartily in favour of achieving equality for all. However it can only be through elevating those in difficulty, not by - as the Government and CRE seem to think - simply trying to reduce us everyone (apart from the very richest, who can afford to move out of the country!) to the same level of abject subsistance... Mon 21 Jul 2008 16:02:19 GMT+1