He may be a bastard, a class warrior, or a prophet, in any case, but what soon-to-be-Lord Flight said is certainly open to interpretation.Dave Osler hears tones of Keith Joseph’s eugenicism, something which cost him a chance to be Tory leader, Lenin does the same. Chris sees the class hatred, but somewhat excuses Flight, because in a way he is correct, if you change someone’s incentives, their actions will likely change.
What surprised me is that someone on the alleged right has a problem with poor people breeding (The upper classes produce heirs, the middle classes have families, the lower orders breed). This behaviour seems to rather give the game away as far as social mobility is concerned.
On average, I’m informed, children now cost £200,000 a pop; a lifestyle choice which would make even Tony Montana blush. This doesn’t include the school fees, which I doubt Flight would begrudge his daughters, or the benefits which he seems to think encourage the poor to procreate so much.
£200,000 (plus or minus your own prejudices and passions), isn’t such a bad deal however, if you expect a child to reach their potential, it begins to look like a bargain. The Conservatives have never offered much to the working class but they have allegedly offered the chance to “get on” and to move up the social ladder.
His coalition partner, Nick Clegg, would likewise insist that a just society lets those of ability rise to the top, regardless of upbringing and regardless of if they are born to those on benefits. If we assume that social mobility is important (rather than inequality), what is Flight’s problem with the poor having babies?After all, if the Tories do what they’ve always promised, someone’s origins should mean nowt.
I see three options. He may be an idiot, in that he can’t foresee the likely results of his own party’s administration. He may be a eugenicist, in that he does not believe his party can improve social mobility because people belong where they are born.
Finally, and most worryingly, he may being honest. Social mobility is a difficult thing to improve even when the economy is booming and families are getting help. With the the next few years offering none of this, Flight may just be reflecting on something inevitable, those born poor are going to stay poor.