It’s kinda offensive, really. ‘Aspiration’ in Tory/Blairite terms seems to assume there’s a sizable portion of the electorate that are scroungers who have absolutely no life plans. That only the middle classes aspire to be and do.
Miliband was wrong to protect welfare and repeal the bedroom tax because it sent out the message that the Party that created the cradle to grave welfare state is in favour of the cradle to grave welfare state. And that’s bad. Because the Tory media says to its readers that welfare is a disincentive instead of, you know, the taxpayer subsidizing low pay, unintentional unemployment, and landlords. It’s the recipient, not the cause, to blame. By golly, they just weren’t aspirational enough. They should be punished. Miliband’s carrot method should have been exchanged for the stick method. BAD POOR PEOPLE, BAD.
Miliband was also wrong because the mansion tax crushed the aspirations of every person just trying to get on in their pursuit of a £2 million home. Gosh, will somebody think of the shoppers at the high-end of the property market? How dare someone tax the assets of just 6% of the population to fund a public service we all use? By golly, that’s the only thing that puts me -a kid from an ex-council home who’s very aware that I will never be able to afford a house at this rate- off of pursuing a mansion! Why would I want to be TAXED? I’d prefer to live in squalor tbqh.
And Miliband was wrong about non-doms. We should aspire to be non doms. How dare we pick a fight with the rich, powerful and unaccountable when we ALL want to be rich, powerful and unaccountable.
Sod all of that.
My aspirations are not based on wealth, but if they were, I would not be put off by the prospect of paying more tax. I would willingly accept the notion that if I suddenly find myself safe and not having to worry about finances, that by principle my fortunes could be passed onto a fellow citizen in need via progressive taxation. For services that we all use. For banning zero hours, banning unpaid internships, investing in the NHS, raising the minimum wage. Socialism is aspirational and I would happily fund it.
If being taxed puts you off getting rich, then you’re clearly not a contributing member of society. You’re kinda just an asshole, really.
Sorry, is that what you expect a leftist to say? Well whatever. If I were rich, I’d happily pay tax to fund services for those less advantaged than myself. PARTICULARLY if I were the aspirational type that by some miracle had fulfilled a rags to riches story. Because then I would have knew what odds were stacked against me and I’d be willing to do everything in my power to help people from my background defy the odds and do the same.
Meanwhile, the people on welfare -most of whom in work- are the ones blamed for being noncontributing. The logic assumes that the unemployed and low paid can magically work their way up just be sheer force of will. That if they just TRIED HARDER, 1 million people wouldn’t be going hungry, 60 people wouldn’t have died at the mercy of the bedroom tax. They just didn’t have incentives or intention. None of these fellow human beings aspire. So it is their fault for letting their lack of will let them down.
We all know that’s not true. We all know that we don’t start on a level playing field or a true meritocracy. We all know that my University degree is not the guarantee it would have been 30 years prior. No matter how much hard work a working class kid does, they will always be 5 rungs down from their richer peers. Networks, resources, the ability to live through unpaid internships that Labour would have banned -that’s not meritocracy or sheer power of will, that’s hereditary.
Every single person has aspiration and dreams. Every single one. Everyone from foodbank users and ‘scroungers’ to Lords want to ‘get on in life’. There is no one set of ‘aspirational voters’. It does not belong to Middle England. It does not belong to the lucky 6% who live in homes worth more than £2m. To those seeking to possess a corporation that would have paid 1p more under Miliband. It does not belong to people who do not value public services enough to contribute more to them. It belongs to every person of every region and every background. And it starts with a basic social safety net and the reduction of inequalities that cost the taxpayer more to subsidise. Tackling inequality IS aspirational. Milibandism IS aspirational. Because it listened to those on zero hours and those on a minimum wage. It asked of the broadest shoulders to bare the brunt of a crisis the poor did not commit, for the sake of everyone.
Aspiration is not thwarted by the prospect of progressive taxation or policies mainly aimed at helping the most vulnerable survive and thrive.
Aspiration is about becoming a better citizen more able to contribute to the society that helps you in times of need. Aspiration should not be ceded to those who mistake it for social irresponsibility.