social mobility

“Social mobility” is a leitmotif in British politics. Successive governments have launched strategies to improve “equality of opportunity”. Alan Milburn, a Labour MP, publishes an annual report listing “indicators” of its progress. There is common agreement that social mobility has stalled: that the UK is in an uniquely immobile spot. The truth is far more nuanced but it is nevertheless a depressing picture.

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The South Norfolk Conservative Association’s annual dinner sounds like an event made for Alan Partridge but it is that other 1990s’ star, Sir John Major, who on Friday used it to capture the headlines. “In every single sphere of British influence, the upper echelons of power in 2013 are held overwhelmingly by the privately educated or the affluent middle class. To me from my background, I find that truly shocking”, the former prime minister said. Read more

Social mobility is public policy’s equivalent of unified field theory: an abstract, controversial idea that seeks to unite different explanations about the state of the world. Its slipperiness has also helped it be an aim of governments of every hue. Read more