This morning I want to address something which has been playing on my mind for a few days. I recently got into an argument with a couple of Tories. In the course of the debate, the matter of privilege came up. Apparently, we liberals are hypocrites because we are biased against privilege.
This argument really, really irritates me, mostly because it’s so stupid. As I understand it, liberalism means tolerance – the belief that no one person is better than anyone else. Hence one asks: ‘why should a disproportionate number of old etonions become prime minister?’ Yet, according to certain people, this means I have a bias against the upper class.
In other words, they’re accusing me of discrimination in order to defend a system which discriminates. We all know that the things the Tories promote – lower taxation for the rich, a reduced wealth fare state, less regulation in business – is designed to perpetuate the class divide. They are the ones discriminating in terms of wealth; liberals like me see everyone as of equal worth, and hence we need to redress the balance so everyone has a fair chance. The class system is unjust as, no matter how brilliant you are, if you are born into a working class family it will be very hard to succeed. Yet Tories would just describe it as their own fault. They’re the hypocrites, not us liberals. It is not discrimination to point out the inequalities in the system.