I was prompted to write this by reading the Government’s Impact Assessment of the Household Benefit Cap.
Under ‘Reasons for Change in Policy’, one of the bullet points (top of p6) is:
– deliver fairness to the taxpayer in work
This is a bogus policy justification. Fairness, like justice, can’t be applied to only one section of the population.
‘Fairness’ as perceived by one person, which is achieved by ‘unfairness’ inflicted on another is not fairness at all.
One of the most common cries I hear from the privileged, who face some aspect of their privilege being dismantled, is “that’s not fair”. What they really mean (what I really mean, because I forget myself and say it sometimes too) is “I liked what I had; I liked my advantages; I didn’t mind that you were disadvantaged; don’t take my stuff away from me”.
A see-saw with one end high and one end low is a symbol of imbalance, of advantage vs disadvantage. It is not possible to bring the low end of the see-saw up without bringing the high end of the see-saw down.
Fairness involves all parts of the see-saw, just as justice demands both sides of the scales.
It is not possible to ‘deliver fairness’ to one group only.
That’s just not fair.