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.