23_august_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,187

Sunday 23 August 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Studies of inequality reveal that less equal societies suffer over a wide range of social and economic issues, but what researchers have also found is that people of privilege and wealth are more likely, as Social psychologist Paul Piff puts it, to behave like assholes.

The Equality Trust reports that: ‘Less equal societies have less stable economies. High levels of income inequality are linked to economic instability, financial crisis, debt and inflation’.

‘Inequality affects how you see those around you and your level of happiness. People in less equal societies are less likely to trust each other, less likely to engage in social or civic participation, and less likely to say they’re happy.’

‘Living in an unequal society causes stress and status anxiety, which may damage your health. In more equal societies people live longer, are less likely to be mentally ill or obese and there are lower rates of infant mortality.’

‘Inequality increases property crime and violent crime. A reduction of inequality from Spanish levels to Canadian levels would lead to a 20% reduction in homicides and a 23% reduction in robberies.’

‘Unequal societies have less social mobility and lower scores in maths, reading and science.’

The Equality Trust also finds that the ‘UK has the 4th most unequal incomes of 30 countries in the developed world.

Simply put, a government that not just presides over, but drives ever greater inequality and rising poverty is toxic to every member of society, causing instability, distress, rising crime rates, loss of trust, lower well being and happiness, worsening health and lower educational achievement. Even worse is a government that demonises, vilifies and punishes the poor, blaming them for the violence of the poverty in which they live and further drives them down, regarding and treating them as worthless and undeserving. That is the reality of Britain today and you Tories, who so delight to point the vengeful authoritarian finger at the poor, are entirely responsible for driving inequality and for the countless deaths that Iain Duncan Smith is at such pains to hide. Living proof that Paul Piff was right.