Laurie Taylor column

October 12, 2001

"Britain's public intellectuals have been replaced by the safe university expert" - THES, October 5 .

Andy Williams with "Can't Get Used to Losing You". This is drive-time classic hour on Poppleton AM. Now, a personal question. Do you have more money in your pocket now than a few years ago, or are you finding it more difficult to make ends meet? Questions raised by a new study carried out by Dr Henry Lightfoot of the department of social policy at the University of Poppleton. Dr Lightfoot joins me in the studio. Your research shows that there is now a much bigger gap in income between the rich and the poor in Poppleton than ten years ago. Is that right?

The gap has certainly widened.

So the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer?

You could put it like that.

So, why's this happening?

The reasons are complex, but they would certainly include the impact of the large numbers of women now earning below average wages in the labour market as well as the increased tolerance of enlarged remuneration packages for executive groups.

Isn't this rather shocking news? Whatever happened to our ideas of social justice?

That's somewhat beyond the scope of the present research.

Isn't there something disgusting about the fat cats lining their pockets while the have-nots sink lower into poverty?

That's a value judgement.

And isn't this a massive indictment of new Labour? Surely, most people who voted Labour hoped they'd reduce social in-equality rather than increase it.

That's certainly one point of view.

Dr Lightfoot, thanks for taking the time to come into the studio. Time for another classic track. Old Blue Eyes with "Fly Me to the Moon". One of your favourites, Dr Lightfoot?

I'm afraid that's a little outside my field.

Thought it might be. Take it away, Frankie.

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