Social inequality is a factor which contributes to many social ills such as poverty, crime, homelessness and educational under achievement. And though a recent opinion poll found that over ninety percent of Labour and Liberal Democratic voters (i.e. the majority of voters) thought inequality was too great in Britain, the New Labour decade has seen social inequality rise rather than fall.
Inequality can arises from several causes (e.g. luck, effort, talent, choice, etc), but the payment received by the owners of capital and those at the top of commercial organisations - which is hundreds of times that earned by ordinary workers - has nothing to do with these factors. It has everything to do with the systematic extraction of surplus value from workers in Britain and abroad – i.e. exploitation.
Peter Mandelson, early guru of New Labour, once said he was content with the ‘filthy rich’ but what Mandelson means is that he is happy both with the exploitation of workers to create such inequality and with a society founded on massive social class divisions.
Two points should be made here. First that the political left is nothing unless it embraces policies to reduce social inequality and exploitation. Second, there is a consensus among voters for the left on this issue, but the popular consensus does not extend to the leaders of New Labour.