I was surprised to hear Mr. Osborne talking about social mobility today, but then I realised what he meant. He doesn’t mean making things fairer for everyone and allowing us all to improve our lot, he means he wants to support entrepreneurs and the Thatcher dream.
It’s our version of the American Dream™ – the idea that anyone can make it if they work hard. It is of course bollocks. The reality is that most people spend their lives working for others, and not because of a lack of drive or ambition but simply because that is the most reasonable thing for them to do. Not everyone is suited to going it alone or running a business. Even if you are about 60% of businesses fail within four years, and of course even if yours does not that is no guarantee that you will improve your social standing because of it. How many corner shop owners or painters struggle to reach the middle class, let alone actually becoming quite well off?
Of course there is nothing wrong with working for a salary. Lots of highly educated, hard working people do. But Osborne, like Thatcher before him, isn’t interested in them. Well, not beyond the point that they consume and thus create opportunities for businessmen and bankers. Thatcher wanted everyone to own a car, own their own home, own shares in former public utilities… Those are the least terrible aspects of it. Thatcherism considers any service that the government provides to be a lost business opportunity.
Need gas, water and electricity? Need to travel by train or by bus? Feeling ill? Fantastic, get out your credit card and I’ll introduce you to some friends of mine.