It’s time for some news, guys. And not the sort of happy, sunshine news that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You know, like when some panda has babies or an old lady is reunited with her long lost dog. Nope, this isn’t that sort of news. This is some head in your hands, crying in the corner, wondering where it all went wrong sort of news.
Apologies in advance.
So, according to a recent report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, children from wealthier families are 35% more likely to become high earners than more intelligent children from poorer families. Let that sink in, kids from rich families are much more likely to succeed in life and get into a position where they can make more money than kids from poorer families, regardless of intelligence. It doesn’t matter how clever you are, if you’re poor, you’ve got less chance of making money.
I could go into more detail on the ins and outs of the report, but I thought it would be easier to just take a quote from it instead. So here we go.
“The empirical evidence presented here shows that there are unequal chances among children who perform relatively poorly in cognitive tests taken at age 5 and those who perform relatively well.
Within high and low attainment groups, children from families with higher incomes or more advantaged social class backgrounds have a greater chance of being highly successful in the labour market than their less advantaged peers.”
This news is sad, but not at all surprising, when you stop and think about it. As the old saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. And this is especially true here, as rich kids get far more advantages in their lives compared to poor kids, regardless of how intelligent they are. These advantages could be access to private education, financial support through university, access to a wide web of business connections, or any number of other things.
While it’s easy to try and hate the rich kids for this, it isn’t their fault. It’s not their fault they were born into better circumstances than poorer kids, that’s just the way it is. And if David Cameron and his Conservative buddies have anything to do with it, this won’t be changing any time soon.
While I’m no political or economical expert, not by a long shot, it was easy to take some basic points away from the recent budget. As expected, those who don’t need any help are getting more help, while the most vulnerable people in society are being targeted by more aggressive cuts. And to top all of this off, students could soon be forced to pay upwards of £10,000 per year for university by the end of the decade. While all this is going on, I can only imagine that Cameron and his cronies are laughing, patting each other on the back and swimming around in giant swimming pools full of money, like Scrooge McDuck.
Change won’t come quickly, but it very rarely does. The Conservatives (48% of whom were privately educated, by the way) need to accept that there are major barriers in place when it comes to social mobility, barriers that are preventing intelligent young people from succeeding, purely because they weren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Instead of demonising the poor, how about they invest some time, effort and money into helping break down these barriers, giving poorer young people the same chances that they no doubt had presented to them from the moment they were born?
Or, you know, they could keep doing what they’re doing, promoting elitism, nepotism and just generally being all round dicks to anyone who isn’t rich.
Thankfully, all is not lost. There are a small number of organisations based around the country that are fighting to break down these social barriers, in an attempt to create a more equal, fairer society. RECLAIM Project, for example, is a Manchester based charity with a focus on ending leadership inequality. They seek out young people from working class backgrounds with leadership potential, and give them the encouragement, opportunities and access they need to make real changes in their communities. Check out their website to find out more, or to see how you can support them.