Home Class Politics Michael Marmot Wibbles About Inequality Again

Michael Marmot Wibbles About Inequality Again

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Of course, if you’ve made your name wibbling about inequality then you are going to wibble about inequality, aren’t you? What brought a K might achieve a Barony after all – look what happened to Prem Sikka.

That you’re wrong in your wibbling doesn’t stop such Widmerpoolish flotation to the top of the tank. Far from it in fact, supporting fashionable opinion works better than being right.

In February 2020, just one month before the UK entered a national lockdown, we published a review of what had happened to Britain’s health and health inequalities in the 10 years since 2010. The picture was bleak: stalling life expectancy and rising inequalities between socioeconomic groups and regions.

Here’s the problem:

Inequality today is lower than it was in 2008. A connection between health inequality and socioeconomic inequality would therefore mean that health inequality had declined over this period. Marmot’s assertion is that it has risen. Therefore a link between socioeconomic and health inequality cannot be supported.

Sad, that’s rather then end of Marmot’s big idea, but there we are. Probably won;t stop the Baron part but hope springs ever eternal and all that.

There are other holes in the evidence base, of course there are. One of the most notable being that we’ve absolutely no idea whatsoever of the links between childhood circumstances and lifespan. For we don’t measure lifespan by place of birth, we measure it by place of death. There simply are no records of lifespan by place of birth – thus there’s nothing useful we can say about childhood and lifespan. Certainly, we can’t talk about Sure Start and all that. Because we simply do not know.

Sure, the idea is embedded into the public consciousness but it’s also toss. And there are those who say there’s nothing wrong with British academia today……

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