The verdict on Osborne’s ‘one-nation budget’ as regards inequality appears to be that it will perpetuate the forty-year trend in the wrong direction. That is, on the average householder’s ledger, the amount credited by an increased minimum wage will be less than that debited by decreased tax credits.
In a speech in February 2011, David Cameron criticised ‘state multiculturalism’ on the grounds that it has ‘encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other’. In 2015 we must ask how great must be the disparity between rich and poor before one says the same of ‘state neoliberalism’?
Cameron was right in that speech to say that ‘we need a clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone’, but that’s not possible if we remain, either culturally or economically,
Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws. (Sybil, or The Two Nations by Benjamin Disraeli, Cameron’s predecessor as party leader and prime minister)
Excessive inequality is its own sort of multiculturalism, and fighting it would be the properly conservative thing to do.