Apparently there are 65 cold spots of social mobility in the UK, of which 60 voted ‘Leave’ in the EU referendum. This is according to the Social Mobility Commission report that was such a damning indictment of government policy – we’re in ‘a self-reinforcing spiral of ever-growing division’ – that its chair and members resigned en masse. ‘En masse’ in this case reading four resignations.
What is a cold spot in this case? It’s a place where social mobility doesn’t get a look in. That it can be, and often is, surrounded by hot spots of social agility. That raising one’s game, one’s expectations, one’s quality of food, health, work, exercise and one’s life expectancy just isn’t going to happen.
You’re screwed, and on the way to either unemployment, under-employment (a zero-hours contract or tax credits because your boss won’t give you a living wage), mental health issues and possibly an over-reliance on stimulants, cigarettes and drink.
A civilised society doesn’t turn its back on those that need ‘support’ and puts all of its fresh governmentally hatched eggs into the social mobility basket
Win the lottery and you might get out. Otherwise, it ain’t going to happen.
This is a bleak prospect for many. To know that you’ll never get holidays, clothing, space to wonder, education, ease of living – and live forever discomforted by the cramped conditions of your paucity – is a life sentence.
I have, like many of the formerly socially immobile made mobile, been banging on about this for centuries. One time, after a TV programme, I was faced with a questioning Ed Miliband. At the time he was Prime-Minister-in-waiting, if he could prove his credentials at the next election in 2015. He had also been on the programme and had a worrying look to his countenance. He said something like ‘But John, social mobility isn’t everything. What about support?’ We had a chat about it, but I didn’t reduce his perturbation about my insistence on more social opportunity.