Danny Dorling’s Edinburgh lecture has been largely avoided by the mainstream media, here’s why.
Dorling is one of the most respected academics in Britain on poverty, economics and social policy. He’s the author of You Think You Know About Britain and, most recently, The No-Nonsense Guide to Equality.
The central conceit driving the ‘Vote No get Yes’ story is that Labour (or some kind of benevolent political force will ride to the rescue, at some point in the future). It’s a bit vague I know and Miliband’s actions make a nonsense of this, but that doesn’t stop it being repeated like a sort of comforting folk memory. This lecture and his key findings destroy that idea.
On Labour’s record in office he says simply:
There were a couple of years where they managed to hold things a bit still but they rose under New Labour so what kind of a political party is it if its happy for a society to become more unequal? You could say things were getting so much worse it was too hard do anything about people at the top of the Labour Party in government in in London just didn’t understand economics that well. But I don’t think people at the top of the Labour Party, particularly the Chancellor, who later became Prime Minister, would say that he didn’t understand economics that well.
On austerity, he says:
We haven’t done austerity for the better off, less austerity for the worst off. We’ve done austerity that most affects the worst off and you could even add after lone parents with children, its lone parents with disabled children. I looks very callous.
On the future he adds:
America is more unequal than the UK. This really matters because my feeling is the current plan of the Westminster parties is to become more like the USA. Maybe in a slightly more humane way but not to worry too much about it.
The Wreford Watson Lecture, University of Edinburgh, June 12th 2014 is here: