Opposing Labour’s elitist defence of affluence

In: Daniel In The News

12 Mar 2008

Yesterday I appeared on Colourful Radio, which describes itself as ‘talk radio with soul”, discussing the Progress lecture by John Hutton, Labour’s business secretary, where he apparently praised affluence. I cannot currently find a copy of his speech on the internet but according to a BBC article the Blairite minister said “more millionaires” are needed and the freedom to get rich is “a good thing”. It drew predictable complaints from vaguely leftist commentators such as Polly Toynbee and Neal Lawson. For example, Lawson argues that a “modern left” wants to offer the working class “social citizenship, real quality of life, sustainability and the right balance between what we need and wants as individuals and members of society”.

My argument, in contrast, is that affluence should not just be for the elite. Everyone should have access to the best that society has to offer. Coming from a website with the slogan “Ferraris for All” that should not be a surprise. I pointed out that, as today’s Budget would show, Labour is the party of green austerity.