As you’ll see if you look at the Guardian and Telegraph links, the story the media have tended to run with is that Labour supporters especially – but the population generally – have shifted from societal explanations for poverty to those emphasising laziness in particular. That is, we’re much more likely to see poverty as an individual’s fault now, as opposed to in 1986 (with the highpoint of societal explanations over that period in the first half of the 1990s).
The survey offered for options for people to answer the question “Why do you think there are people who live in need?”
- ‘Inevitable in modern life’ (the most popular throughout);
- ‘Injustice in society’; or simply
I noted in a previous post that recently there’s been a lot of discussion of how postliberalism might be an appropriate way of characterising current political trends in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Individual decision-making and market mechanisms are viewed with more suspicion than they used to be, according to Will Davies for example.
** To some extent the particular decline in the societal explanation amongst Labour supporters might have more to do with tribal loyalty than a particular worldview: wanting to believe that the party has done as much as it can, so any residual poverty will be the fault of the individual rather than the government. However, in terms of effects, this still amounts to a neoliberal view that at least up to 2010 was remaining pretty resilient.
†In ‘A Note on Language’ at the beginning of his book The British Dream, Goodhart explains: ‘I generally use the word Britain when I really mean the United Kingdom.’ How to wind up someone with (some) Ulster heritage…
‡Though I should point out, in liberal fashion, that living here wouldn’t suit everyone, and some people would probably feel more comfortable and welcomed than others.