"A new picture is emerging of an increasingly divided Britain. Changing these trends will take decades not years."
So we'd better get started right away!
The hysteria was based on two new studies by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The first is a lengthy statistical analysis cobbling together Census data with the rehashed findings of JRF poverty surveys and a raft of other stuff. We'll come back to that.
The second is an analysis of opinion poll data asking people the free-hit politics of envy question of whether they think that the gap between rich and poor is too big. And as you can see from the JRF chart, concern is mounting rapidly:
Figure 1: People's views of whether the income gap is too large/about right/too small (1983-2004)
Oh... ahhhh... well, blow me down! Concern isn't mounting rapidly at all. In fact, the proportion of people who are quite happy has actually reached a 20 year high. How can JRF possibly think there's a problem?
In reality, JRF have spun their argument from nothing. Indeed, far from suggesting increasing public concern, their quoted poll findings actually suggest the public are getting more comfortable with letting the market decide.
So what about the first statistical study on Poverty and Wealth? Is that any better?
It purports to demonstrate an alarming increase in polarisation between rich and poor, with people in the South-East (outside London) getting richer, and people in the old industrial cities getting poorer.
Get the picture? Although the results were widely reported as fact, safe consumption actually requires a very large bucket of salt.
But WTF does the BBC- ONCE AGAIN- have to report such shoddy leftwing propagandising as fact? Why don't they point out the underlying work doesn't support the headlines?