Inequality and Tom Harris MP
I've just read an article by a Labour MP on poverty and inequality which even a particularly dim commentator on the Daily Telegraph website might feel a bit embarrassed to have penned.
The problem is not that Tom Harris MP (for 'tis he) is absolutely ignorant about the issue of inequality and his own party's policies. After all, if he really does know as little about the subject as he makes out, it would be possible for him to read a book, talk to people who know about it or get his researchers to do him an easy read one page summary of the issue.
Then he'd discover why inequality matters, how Labour managed to reduce inequality for a time through taxing higher earners and redistributing the wealth to poor families and pensioners, and how higher benefits payments actually led to more lone parents getting into work. He'd also discover a whole host of policy ideas for reducing inequality beyond 100% taxes on inheritance or 98% supertaxes on wealth, which appear to be the only ideas he has come across.
But the problem appears to be that he is actually proud of his ignorance, and would rather make stupid and flippant points than attempt to better himself. I guess better educational opportunities might be part of the solution, but any other ideas welcome about what can be done when MPs show no interest in learning about an issue which affects thousands of their constituents - maybe in line with the welfare reform agenda we should withhold part or all of the money they get from the taxpayer if they don't buck their ideas up?