Sarah Teather and Devil’s Kitchen are added to my list of credulous fuckwits

Devil’s Kitchen directs me towards Sarah Teather’s latest speech at the Liberal Democrat conference. It is a doozy, containing this nugget:

“Labour claims to be the party of the poor, but that just gives them a reason to keep people that way.”

What a horrible woman.

So it seems she’s suggesting that when in office Labour adopt policies which are specifically aimed at making people poor while simultaneously misleading the poor into thinking they are helping them. So calling all Labour party members liars and hypocrites and patronising the poor in one compact nugget of hate. Oh, well done!

There’s a problem with this though. Whenever you make an empirical claim for rhetorical effect there is the possibility you will end up looking like an arse. Loathe as I am to praise New Labour’s record, they were a damn sight better for the poor than the other lot. This graph from Lane Kenworthy clearly exposes Sarah Teather for the mendacious woman she is.

The incomes of the poor rose far more under the last Labour government than they did under the preceding Conservative administration. Labour adopted many misguided policies, but even so they achieved a great deal for the poor, contrary to what Sarah Teather would have you believe.

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5 thoughts on “Sarah Teather and Devil’s Kitchen are added to my list of credulous fuckwits

  1. Although from that graph it looks like the poorest 1% did better under Thatcher and Major – so in Rawlsian terms presumably the Tories win out over Labour?

    1. Correct, but it depends on how you cut your distribution. People move between percentiles monthly, if you do some overtime one month you’ll move a few percentile in income, for example. Likewise, those in the bottom percentile are usually there only transitoryily or are homeless etc. which hasn’t been an area Labour have been really strong on to my knowledge.

      So I wouldn’t say the relevant -tile to look at was percentile. By Qunitile Labour were miles better for the bottom three fifths of the income distribution.

      Also, the IFS go into further detail and almost all the bottom percentile’s decline comes in Labour’s third term. Labour were even better for the poor 1997-2005.

  2. “Labour claims to be the party of the poor, but that just gives them a reason to keep people that way.”

    And presumably the conclusion of this syllogism is implied to be “therefore, there’s no reason for this government to give a stuff about them”.

    1. Yeah, the rich lost loads of money! Makes New Labour look even more progressive!

      I’m not sure the effect it had, probably not great, probably not worse than the Tories would have been.

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