Joseph Gibson’s Blog

Conservative musings and comments.

Meritocracy

What has happened to Great Britain? Once a great meritocratic society, we have now been reduced to trying to sort out the amount of people that exploit the welfare state! As a student, perhaps I don’t have the authority to comment on the taxing system, but 40% taxes for those that earn more than £34,600… This is ridiculous! Why should we, in the words of Robin Hood, “rob the rich to feed the poor”?

I honestly and sincerely believe in the meritocracy – I believe that if you as a person work hard enough then you can work your way up to a higher rung of the ladder in society. There is one simple reason that I believe this, my parents. Both come from poor working class council estates in Bradford, both have worked hard their whole lives, both are now respected members of society and can be proud of all that they have achieved. This reason alone fills me with pride about what my parents have done, and I sometimes think what would I be like if they’d have not put in the hours to get to where they are in society. I couldn’t possibly answer that question, and I wouldn’t stoop so low as to say I would be some “unashamed benefits scrounger” because this unfair; creating some sort of stereotype of people whose parents exploit the benefits system.

Society is not one homogenous group that all follows the same trends and patterns, I wish it was, because then I believe that the meritocracy would become ‘common sense’ and that everyone would work to the fullest capacity that they could, but this isn’t possible, I know this. All that I hope to achieve in my lifetime if I am ever lucky enough to father children is that they believe as fully as I do in the meritocracy and that they work as hard as they can to get to where they want to be.

 Perhaps this has all been a bit off subject, and so I shall return to what my original point was – how we cannot claim to be a meritocratic society in that no longer is there the sense of working hard being one of the greatest characteristics to have in a person, instead, people rejoice in just how machiavellian they can be. This isn’t right! What is going on?! 

Now perhaps I should assess the reason that I believe this has happened to our society: Labour government. The glory days of the meritocracy were under Thatcher, the idea and promotion of the self made man, the privatisation of many state owned businesses and finally, the mass promotion of Capitalism. But since those days, what have we had, Labour government increasing the welfare state? Job seekers allowance? E.M.A? Since the birth of the Welfare State the benefits system has been exploited, but for some reason it is argued that increasing taxes will help to solve this problem, rather than an overhaul of the system, such as making JSA available for a limited time only, say 1 year? Under a Labour government, instead of this, we decide to tax people who have worked hard to get as far as they possibly can be, not just bit more, but twice as much! This is non-sensical in my view.

As much as I apologise for how poorly structured and indeed written this article has been, I honestly believe that the main argument of the article is correct – The Meritocracy is dying, and for what? Our brand spanking new cop-out country? Giving government? Thank God the Conservatives are tackling the important issues that Labour seem to encourage, let’s hope that when Labour are out of Government they understand the importance of Meritocracy, because they’ll be working hard to get back into government, with the current state of things as they are.

January 16, 2008 - Posted by | The Thoughts | , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. Your argument tackles a valid point that the benefit system is, in fact, being abused but the screaming hypocrisy in your words however do not constitute as workable solution.

    First of all: you give the heart-warming tale of how your parents have earned their place into a higher spot on the “ladder” (as you put it) of society through hard-work and dedication. I am a complete advocate of said principle, but by taking such a white-knuckled and typically conservative stance which promotes the division bell known as capitalism what you are saying effectively becomes pointless. Capitalism is there for one reason: to keep the people who have the power with the power, and the people without the power without it. In such a situation how could a potential family of your own rise through such a dogged system? Or would it simply be okay that they would be born into a slightly “higher” position than other people to have the kind of ego it would take to condemn others as socially “below” them? Thatcher’s Britain can only be likened to a landslide of the social class system; the people working for the lower wages such as miners were well and truly stamped upon by the iron boot of your policies in action, resulting in social division which has its effects in this day and age.

    How could this possible suit such an ever changing and ever more cosmopolitan society such as Britain? It can’t, it would only divide the population ever more, and create such a distinction between levels on this “ladder of society” which threatens the liberty of the public and ticks every box under the category of “immoral”. Would you rather this country become a feudal system of Barons and master/slave social values? Is that “Machiavellian” enough for you? Surely the means don’t justify the ends, just some kind of typical conservative egoism, for which you’re party is getting somewhat of a bad reputation.

    That said and as destructive as what you outline is – it’s good to see a young thinker.

    Comment by Westriver | January 17, 2008

  2. I disagree, I believe that the reason for capitalism is the meritocracy, and I believe that the class system can easily be overcome by the meritocracy.

    Yes, the miners were stamped out by Thatcher, but, looking back on the political power that they were trying to wield which led to the Winter of Discontent, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. The only mistake I believe Thatcher ever made was that she didn’t keep some of the mines open so that when we became dependant on other nations and prices grew, we had a backdrop to fall down on.

    All in all, I argue that the Meritocracy is the best possible way for this country to grow, and back to my original point, it is being strangled by the ‘unashamed benefits scroungers’.

    Comment by Joseph Gibson | January 17, 2008

  3. Hi Joe, interesting arguments indeed, glad to see you have been using our blog to, we have blogrolled you now under our CF section, we would be grateful if you could recpriocate!

    Comment by BUCF | January 23, 2008

  4. I think “unashamed benefit scroungers” is the important point here. Although I don’t agree with a lot of what you say, I think the fact that people who cheat benefits aren’t ashamed is a key point which says a lot about our culture.

    A lot of people, especially a few years ago, would brag about what they are getting on incapacity benefit they shouldn’t have been entitled to by exploiting loopholes. Why should they brag openly about stealing from every tax payer? I think people need to keep in their minds that the public money is their money that they have paid in and so be more interested in how it is spent.

    Comment by Rachael | March 4, 2008

  5. Interesting post… but what about those who work really hard in really worthwile jobs for a pittance? I don’t want to go all bleeding heart on you or you’ll think I’m an even crazier leftie, but since you dragged out your parents I can’t resist the urge tp contrast them with my own, a classroom assistant and a nurse, who have always worked bloody hard and don’t take home much compared to others of their age and qualification who do less worthwile jobs… taxes aren’t about robbing the rich to pay for “scroungers”, the main point of them is to pay for these workers who the country would be crippled without!

    Comment by brigidjones | March 10, 2008

  6. Surely that is the point of the meritocracy though – work hard and you can get further? Labours tax and spend agenda just does not add up, if it really is to pay for workers the country would be crippled without, and i’m sure wages would be higher if it weren’t for the exploitation the system is under.

    The main point of this article is that the meritocracy is dying, and to be honest I don’t really think that can be argued against anymore.

    Comment by Joe Gibson | March 10, 2008

  7. Some benefits are needed to further the meritocracy though. The most talented people won’t reach the positions they should end up in if they don’t have equality of opportunity. Things like child benefits, EMA (I’m not saying it’s an ideal system), allow talented people from poor backgrounds a chance to work hard, develop their skills and get good jobs in the future.

    Comment by Rachael | March 14, 2008

  8. I agree that some benefits are needed to further the meritocracy, and the first blog I actually posted was on the subject of EMA (if you’d like to read and comment?) I quite like the Wisconsin system for benefits, not too sure if anyone else agrees though?

    Comment by Joseph Gibson | March 15, 2008


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