Friday, August 29, 2008

Hundal scores again!

EDITED: see this comment thread for details.

Sunny Hundal is very excited because he thinks that he has managed to catch me out; you can almost see him bouncing up and down with glee, his ickle face beaming into his mirror. One of his acolytes, septicisle, pointed to this little graph of the Gini coefficient, which shows a marked rise under the Tories.

Looking at the above graph (via), would you say income inequality has increased more under this Labour government, or under earlier Conservative governments?

I'm not sure that Sunny mentioned income inequality in his original comment. In fact, he said (and I quote) [Emphasis mine]:
... why not compare the increasing level of inequality between Labour rule and Tory rule, and then come back to me. I think you’ll find inequality increasing massively during Tory rule.

Now, that leaves his measure open to interpretation, don't you think? Still, never mind: Sunny is carried away by his thrilling denouement!
I think it may be obvious but someone may want to explain this to Cxxxx Mxxxxxx...

Now, I don't expect a common little man like Sunny to have any idea about etiquette, but the convention is that you refer to a blogger by the name that he gives himself. As I have stated many times, I am not the Devil's Kitchen and the Devil's Kitchen is not me: it is an aspect of me, but DK is not Cxxxx Mxxxxxx. I refer to "Sunny Hundal", because he proudly blogs under his own name, although I am not sure why: if I were writing the sort of moronic, single-dimensional, inaccurate shit that he does, I would want to stay very anonymous indeed. Still, each to their own...
... of Devil’s Kitchen, the idiot with tourette’s syndrome...

If I were a Lefty, of course, I would get very upset about this because although I do not have Tourette's Syndrome, one of the contributors to The Kitchen does, in fact, suffer very badly from that condition.
... and a penchant for writing sexual fantasies about newspaper columnists, who thinks this is rubbish. It doesn’t help does it, if you’re angry at someone saying nasty things about right-whingers, and then get it wrong yourself with irrelevant statistics.

Ah, yes, it just has to be a conspiracy, doesn't it, Sun—can I call you Sun? I, of course, do not consider myself to be right-wing: I am a libertarian which is something entirely different. No, I am not angry, Sun, I am contemptuous: you are, in fact, a contemptible little man—stupid, unpleasant, pusillanimous and with a definite aversion to backing up any of your assertions.

Still, this is to quibble. Let us consider the graph that Sunny presents us with. Now the Gini coefficient measures inequality between levels of disposable income and, yes, it obviously does increase under the Tories—and continues to increase under Labour, although at a lesser rate. But is disposable income a good measure of inequality?

Well, let us consider a couple of examples. First, let us consider a hypothetical one: take a worker earning the median wage of roughly £24,000 and compare him to a playboy with a £1billion trust fund who lives on the capital (this is a very silly thing to do, but never mind). Now, under the Gini coefficient, the worker would be considerably better off than the playboy: is this a true reflection of their wealth?

Or, why not consider a worker on the median wage of two years ago—roughly £23,000. Now, let us take me, two years ago: I was earning about £16,000 per year, but I owned my own flat—sure, I was paying a mortgage on it, but that mortgage was pretty small (only slightly higher than the average rent). The reason that it was small is that I was able to put down a large deposit on the property. Now, the worker on the median wage was not only earning more than I, but he also spent less on rent; but, at the end of the day, which one of us is actually more wealthy?

So, when we start talking about inequality, what do you think is a more meaningful measure—income or wealth? I think that it's wealth, which is why I quoted statistics on wealth. Where those statistics "irrelevant"? I think not.

Indeed, given the vagueness with which Sunny defined inequality, did I "get it wrong"? No.

Of course, as Sam Tarran points out, those of us who aren't jealous, evil little shits don't actually give a crap about inequality.
It's all very well and fun throwing the arguments of lefties back at them, and all very well taunting the mentally challenged, but why should we actually care? Economic and social equality is a distinctly socialist idea.

Of course in a free society you are going to have inequality. Inequality should be a source of pride. It is the badge of a free nation. It is that vague line that separates Hong Kong from the rest of China. It is the transition from freedom and diversity to uniformity.

According to his profile, Sam is 16 years old and yet his opinions are rather more mature than Sunny's, and Sam backs up his ideas with data and references.

Anyway, I make that 2–nil to me in this exchange. So, as I said in the last post, Sunny, don't let the door hit your arse on your way out of the blogosphere, you twat.

UPDATE: as per, Unity has written a superb—and typically lengthy—post on this subject. The main point is that inequality did rise in the 80s, but not necessarily for the reasons that you might think.

From a personal point of view, it is a matter of supreme indifference to me whether inequality rose or not, although I know that we got rather poorer (those 15% interest rates supremely fucked my family over for a while as we've never been high income).

My original point was always meant to be that Sunny made a fairly important assertion without backing it up with any kind of evidence—something that he was complaining about in his original post. Indeed, the wee laddie had to rely on Septicisle to find anything like the kind of evidence that he needed.

On both a practical and philosophical point, as someone who has spent all of his working life earning below the median wage (until, possibly, the last four months) but who has always paid his way, I still don't see why I should lose a quarter of my income (in direct taxes alone) to fund the lifestyles of other people—especially those who might be, in the case of Child Benefit for instance, considerably better off than me.


QuestionThat said...

re. Sam Tarran: I was about to begin a post on a similar theme (connected to the report Tim Worstall has been all over today). It is an excellent point that needs to be hammered home - Equality and liberty are fundamentally incompatible.

Anonymous said...

This Sunny shap really is a left wing idiot, as all left wingers are.

Longrider said...

Equality and liberty are fundamentally incompatible.

Equality is also unachievable. The concept is nonsense once exposed to any reasonable analysis - we all have different aptitudes and skills. Those skills have different values. Or is the brain surgeon's time of the same value as that of, say, the dustman?

My time is now worth far more than it was when I signalled trains for a living and I only need to work part time as a consquence. This is because I have earned the qualifications and skills to enable me to do this.

Those who carp on about equality merely expose their own naivete - not to mention envy, spite and mean-spiritedness.

Blue Eyes said...

Cxxxx Mxxxxxx

I don't "get" the leftosphere's obsession with reminding us of bloggers' real names. No left-post is complete without a reference to Pxxx Sxxxxxx.


John B said...

Sam Tarran might just about be excused the belief that the difference between Hong Kong and the rest of China is income inequality, but solely on the grounds of his age. I mean, can anyone think of a more moronic proposition than "China is a state with low inequality of income"? It's got a Gini of 47, higher even than the US for Christ's sake...

@ Blue Eyes: obsession with 'ooh, look at me and my clever revelations' real names is hardly a leftosphere-unique trait.

Blue Eyes said...

Fair enough, but none of the blogs I read get excited about it.

Anonymous said...

Inequality is a silly measure and, when you get down to it, it's pretty meaningless.

If I have £50 million and my neighbour, Bill Gates, has £50 billion, then we have some pretty stark fucking inequality - stark but irrelevant. If I have £1 and my neighbour has £1 then we have perfect equality - and also perfect poverty.

You can't measure the effectiveness of an economy through arbitrary media like inequality. You must measure an economy (and, by extension, the effectivenes of a government) by looking at growth, looking at relative levels of absolute poverty, looking at the provision of opportunity, looking at home ownership... When you do this, you see that the Tories since have always delivered. The Tories have left the country richer and the economy stronger; they have left ordinary citizens with more money in their pocket and more opportunity both to spend that money and to make more - and, in the process of spending and investing that money, they create yet more money and more employment and more opportunity.

I was 19 in 1997 - the election that year was the first time I got to vote - and I remember the optimism and prosperity and general sense of happiness that pervaded the country back then, when the Eeeeeevil Tories were running their Eeeeeevil Unequal Economy. I look around, just eleven years later, and wonder what the fuck has happened.

Silly question. I know what has happened. Eleven years of Labour raping the country in the name of equality is what has happened. Where the Tories tried to raise us all up and make us all rich, Labour has, in the name of making us all equal, torn down the middle classes and made everyone poor.

I'll be staying up late at the next election so I can watch as the SNP take that monocular cunt's seat from him.

Stu said...

I use my real name on my blog - largely because I think it's nice to have at least some vague understanding of the person you're dealing with. All of my favourite blogs (with few exceptions) are either written under real-name bylines (Daring Fireball, Iain Dale, Coffee House etc) or have real names that are common knowledge (Dizzy, Guido, Devil's Kitchen etc). Putting a real name behind your writing gives a measure of accountability which is nice, like not leaving anonymous comments.

The idea of using a real name to deride an anonymous blog is pretty strange, though. Petty.

Back to the content of this post, another way to interpret the graph at the top is that inequality rose at the beginning of the Conservative Party's time in power, but was coming down until the rise of Tony Blair. What's more, the beginning of this drop in income equality was the recession of the early 90's. If recessions are causing drops in inequality, does that mean Labour are in support of recessions? (that would explain some things...)

Incidentally, Tom Harris is another one who's got funny ideas about Conservatives, inequality and poverty. In many ways that's more worrisome, since he's not just a random blogger but a government MP!

JuliaM said...

"doesn't it, Sun—can I call you Sun?"

Well, that's a little unfair.

The 'Sun' is known for its pairs of tits, whereas Sunny is demonstrably only one tit. Although certainly a big one...

Martin said...


I have posted the following comment on Hundal's blog -

"Dear Mr. Hundal,

I came across this post via 'The Devil's Kitchen'. I am the contributor to that site to whom Chris has referred as suffering from severe Tourette Syndrome.

It is disappointing to see your casual, lazy reference to what is an extremely debilitating and embarrassing condition on a post the topic of which has absolutely nothing to do with TS. Such references do nothing but continue to spread the lamentable misconceptions about TS which persist in the public mind. "

Interesting to see if it makes it through moderation.

Rumbold said...

Well, as QuestionThat said on Liberal Conspiracy, neither Sunny nor Devil's Kitchen are wrong with their respective arguments (i.e. income inequality verses wealth inequality), so perhaps this is just a storm in the proverbial teacup.

Equality isn't incompatible with liberty per se, its just that governments which pursue equality policies usually violate liberties to do so.

Ian_QT said...

"Equality", in the strict sense of the word (i.e. ensuring that no one person is better- or worse-off than the next), is incompatible with liberty because the only way it could ever become a reality is through totalitarianism.

Some use the E-word to refer to limited redistribution. I wish they wouldn't.

Sam Tarran said...

Sam Tarran might just about be excused the belief that the difference between Hong Kong and the rest of China is income inequality, but solely on the grounds of his age. I mean, can anyone think of a more moronic proposition than "China is a state with low inequality of income"? It's got a Gini of 47, higher even than the US for Christ's sake...

Quite. But Hong Kong/China was just a convenient metaphor of the contrast between a free state and an authoritarian (egalitarian) one. If this were twenty years ago, it would have been Checkpoint Charlie.

Sunny's graph doesn't exactly prove his point. If anything, it proves income equality has been fluctuating around a similar average since 1988.

Not that it really matters anyway.

Rumbold said...


I agree that in practice that it is impossible. But not in theory (which I suppose is irrevelent).

Bishop Brennan said...

On the inequality / freedom issue, I would simply quote Hayek: 'Social justice is a mirage in a pluralistic society'.

Sunny Hindal is a twat of the highest order. Bastards like him would take away our freedom in the name of ideology and throw people like me in a gulag. Sunny can go fuck himself a million ways.

FrankFisher said...

You're not wrong there Len.

Thing about Sunny is that he's just not that bright, but he *thinks* is is - like all the lefties. And this is what makes them ddangerous.

Why they can't just read a fucking history book or simply *look* at the world and understand that socialism is evil, I don't know

Ian_QT said...

"Why they can't just read a fucking history book or simply *look* at the world and understand that socialism is evil, I don't know"

Unfortunately it doesn't work like that, @frankfisher. We have to win the argument.

Anonymous said...

"(those 15% interest rates supremely fucked my family over for a while as we've never been high income)."

Didn't you go to Eton?

Devil's Kitchen said...

"Didn't you go to Eton?"

Perfectly illustrating the distinction between wealth and income.


Anonymous said...

Neato. Am I to understand that your schooling was paid for out of your family's wealth, and that your family has/had enough wealth to send you to Eton? Surely then a 15% interest rate would be great for you because then you would earn more interest on your wealth?

Sunny said...

Indeed, the wee laddie had to rely on Septicisle to find anything like the kind of evidence that he needed.

Awww... nice try there with the getout card. And nice try in trying to spin the fact that your own stats don't stack up either, as I pointed out in the comments.

But then, as you said, each to their own. I'm not losing any sleep over your stupidity.

John B said...

While I disagree with QT a lot (and I mean, a *lot*), he's spot on here. The concept that 'Stalin's purges prove that all redistribution of wealth is evil' is as moronic as the concept that 'the massacre at Hallujah proves that all Western involvement in foreign military conflicts is evil'.

Anyone (on either side) who doesn't get that point isn't worth debating. Yes, 'idiot who thinks the examples aren't valid', that means you.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"And nice try in trying to spin the fact that your own stats don't stack up either, as I pointed out in the comments."

What do you mean my stats don't add up? They are ONS stats, you fucking moron: they show precisely what they are meant to show and no more.

Fuck me, you are such a wanker.


Devil's Kitchen said...

"Surely then a 15% interest rate would be great for you because then you would earn more interest on your wealth?"

I'm afraid that I don't know the ins and outs of the Trust conditions. However, I do know that my father started paying School Fees Insurance when I was born (I have no idea whether you can still get such insurance actually)...


fewqwer said...

Every leftist article on 'relative poverty' begins with the concession that it is unrelated to 'absolute poverty', and continues with a bunch of woolly-minded bullshit on the assumption that they are somehow the same. If you assume a falsehood, you can prove anything.

Why it is Sunny's inflated, sensitive ego that makes him a leftist.

windy blow said...

Love that graph. Inequality increased under the Tories and has been perfectly well-maintained under Labour.

As always socialists don't get it: even after 11 years of Labour they still blame their predecessors for everything and anything. They never, ever say: "don't you think after all our initiatives we really ought to have done something useful and created what we always said was important?"

HSLD said...

Didn't Sunny write a bollocks whining article for the Guardian website along the lines of " Is it because I is black ? " a while ago and get comprehensively savaged for it by left and right ?

Or was it that other twat, Hairy Johann or whatever his name is ?

They all look the same to me. Socialists that is.

Chalcedon said...

We are only (allegedly) equal under the law. Unless you have got form of course or actually take a stand against yobbos and detain one or fight back.