As everyone's standard of living increases with the relentless march of technology, socialists need bad news to keep their client voters unhappy. Enter "relative poverty" - as opposed to absolute poverty (ie real poverty). The way this term (and its subordinate term; “wealth gap”) has been sneaked in to everyday usage, it will soon be the orthodoxy in regard to assessing poverty. The beauty of this - for socialists at least - is that there will always be poverty.
There are people in genuine hardship, of course. Some people are mentally incapable of looking after themselves or disabled through no fault of their own and must be cared for - it is right, we are a caring society, after all. But I don't think that they are numerically sufficient for the poverty campaigners - there must be more. In 20 years time, even if the least wealthy of British people have the disposable income and quality of life currently being enjoyed by today's middle classes, you can be sure that they will still be in "poverty", for those on the Left who exploit them require that it is so.
I speak of those who over the years have traditionally exploited the worse-off in our society. They are the likes of the Labour Party of Great Britain and The Daily Mirror. These people see the exponential rise in everyone's living standards as a threat to their very existence. They feed the worse-off with disaffection in order to harvest the resulting envy and it's crop of votes and print sales. For these exploitative forces there must be poverty, even if there's no poverty.
On 27th Sept 2005, the Guardian's Micheal White, reporting on the Chancellor's Brighton speech, propagated a Gordon Brown lie: "Mr Brown focused his concern chiefly on children and blamed the Conservative legacy for Labour's grim inheritance of one in three children born into poverty". Under no stretch of the imagination could anyone believe that one third of children were born into poverty in 1997. Only that statistical conjurer's trick - relative poverty - could embolden a politician to make such a ludicrous claim.
But back to the present day and things aren't looking too good for our confident class warrior in number 11, as his liberal friends at the Guardian report: "....the government published the latest figures on poverty and inequality.
The statistics were bad news for Labour. In case you missed them, these were the headlines: child poverty was up by 100,000; absolute poverty was up; there was a widening gap between rich and poor."
Absolute poverty up, eh? Now that takes some doing.