Kingstone By-election

Tags

, , ,

donna-green_330x3302

Dear member,

This morning Donna Green resigned from her position as councillor for Kingstone ward.

A by election will be held on 28 September to elect a new councillor for Kingstone.

We are looking for a candidate to stand in that by election.

The candidate will be selected from an all women short list. If you would like to be considered, you will need to complete the application form available here. This will need to be completed and returned to me via email at danielgriffinbarnsley@gmail.com before midnight on Wednesday 23rd August. 

You will then need to attend a panel interview on Saturday 26th August. If successful you will be able to put your name forward to be considered at a selection meeting to be held next week.

If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact me via danielgriffinbarnsley@gmail.com or 07730 595 500.

Best wishes,

Daniel

Barnsley DLP LCF Secretary
t: 07730 595 500
e: danielgriffinbarnsley@gmail.com

Advertisements

Ministry of Justice sneaks privatisation past parliament

Tags

, , , ,

Justice image

We’re angry to hear that the government now wants private companies to take over collecting court fines – currently this important work is done by the civil service.

The Ministry of Justice is sneaking through this major privatisation plan while parliament is in recess. The government tried to privatise court fees just two years ago and wasted £8 million of public money before dropping the plans.

We think these plans are outrageous and the way they are being snuck through during the summer recess is shameful.

At the moment, civil servants who collect these court fees are subject to the Civil Service Code of behaviour. This Code helps to protect vulnerable people from abuse by bailiffs, and ensures that people who default or don’t pay their fees are dealt with fairly and impartially.  This is essential because the bailiffs have the power to search people’s houses, put them in custody, and access sensitive police data.

There are issues surrounding current practices of fine collections – a recent report from Citizens Advice claimed that reforms to collections in 2014 have failed to curb unfair practices among bailiffs. Vulnerable people aren’t properly protected from bailiffs who might exploit or abuse their power. Privatising the collection of court fees will only put these people in more danger.

The Code of behaviour will not apply to a private, outsourced organisation. If the collection of court fees is privatised, then we will have next to no protection from rogue bailiffs, and more people will be treated unfairly.

To make matters worse, the Ministry of Justice admitted in 2015 that outsourcing would not provide ‘best value for the taxpayer’. Privatisation is expensive, and a waste of public money.

We also know that when justice services are run for profit, standards drop – the outsourcing of translation services in courts, for instance, has proved disastrous. There is no justification for outsourcing the collection of court fines.

An Early Day Motion has been tabled in parliament opposing the plans, and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is asking supporters to email their MPs asking them to sign.

logo-og
We Own It supports this vital campaign to keep our justice services public – use the PCS action page to email your MP now!

Source: https://weownit.org.uk/blog/ministry-justice-sneaks-privatisation-past-parliament

This is bad news if you were born in the North of England

Tags

, , , , , ,

People born in the North of England are 20% more likely to die early than those born in the South.

People born in the North of England are 20 percent more likely of premature death than those born in the South of England, according to research led by The University of Manchester.

An analysis of data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) discovered a stark North-South divide in life expectancy, with 1.2 million more early deaths in the North from 1965 to 2015 compared to those living in Southern England.

The study also found a higher prevalence of early death among middle-age adults. There were 49 percent more deaths among 35-44 year olds in the North in 2015.

There were also a higher proportion of early deaths among younger adults when compared to the South of England: 29 percent more deaths among 25-34 year olds in the North in 2015.

The findings raise questions over the fairness and reasons behind government policies, particularly the recent decision to bring forward changes to the state pension age and public health policy interventions of successive governments.

It suggests that a more regionalised approach to the state pension age should be considered. The study shows clear and evident variations in life expectancy across the UK, with those living in the South expected to live longer lives than other parts of the country.

Consideration should, perhaps, also be paid toward those with disabilities and chronic health conditions, as well as poorer families, who tend to live shorter lives than more affluent sections of society.

Lead researcher, Professor Iain Buchan from The University of Manchester said: “Five decades of death records tell a tale of two Englands, North and South, divided by resources and life expectancy – a profound inequality resistant to the public health interventions of successive governments.”

“A new approach is required, one that must address the economic and social factors that underpin early deaths, especially in younger populations, and one that focuses on rebalancing the wider economy to help drive investment in northern towns and cities.

“The devolution of centralised powers may enable civic leaders to seed the economic growth to tackle this divide, but only if they are given the proportionate northern weighting of funds to do so.”

Co-author, Prof Tim Doran from the University of York added: “These important findings were made possible by examining public health data – held by the NHS and other agencies – dating back decades.

“The data, technology and skills now exist to better understand population health and develop public policies to improve it proportionately.”

Chief Executive of the Northern Health Science Alliance, Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, said: “Health inequalities between the North and South of the country must be addressed by government as a priority.

“The NHSA wants to harness the North’s huge potential in health innovation and life sciences for the benefit of its 15 million population.

“Research conducted by IPPR North demonstrates the government invests much less in health research funding in the North of England than in the South, despite the huge need, as demonstrated by this research, to address inequalities”.

“The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy is one way in which to make the investment needed to readdress the health inequalities these figures so starkly demonstrate.”

Source: http://www.welfareweekly.com/bad-news-youre-born-north-england/

Council steps in to save substance misuse service

Tags

, , , ,

index

THE COUNCIL has stepped in to save a youth substance misuse service after a drug and alcohol charity it awarded a £1m contract to run it collapsed.

Lifeline Project Limited has gone into administration and has now been dismantled with the bulk of its contracts taken on by another charity, Change Grow Live.

Barnsley Council’s ruling cabinet had only approved its three-year £1,020,000 contract to Lifeline last September with the service starting weeks later.

The council has now stepped in after it was given formal notice that due to financial problems Lifeline could no longer provide the service, which aims to prevent children and young people from becoming problem drug and alcohol users in their adult lives.

About 200 young people a year are referred to this service, with about 70 receiving treatment. The main substances involved are cannabis and alcohol but trends show an increasing popularity with mephedrone and synthetic cannabinoids, formerly known as legal highs.

A council report published last week said Lifeline would stop delivering the substance misuse service – which is jointly funded by Barnsley Council and Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group – as it had encountered significant financial difficulties. An urgent review was held to find the best way forward and the Chronicle was told by the council the local authority taking over ‘provided a smooth transition for the existing service, staff and those young people who use it’.

A council spokesman said: “The council was happy with the staff and service received from Lifeline. It was the (parent) organisation that wished to withdraw from the arrangement.

“No disruption to service users has been reported. Existing staff, computer systems and the service phone line have been maintained. The service is embedding well and being reviewed to ensure the current arrangements are effective and the transition has been managed well.

“Barnsley Council is satisfied the service can be delivered in-house and is working closely with Barnsley’s adult substance misuse provider and Public Health. Service performance will be monitored as part of existing performance management arrangements.”

Source: http://www.barnsleychronicle.com/article/council-steps-in-to-save-substance-misuse-service

This map shows what white Europeans associate with race – and it makes for uncomfortable reading

Tags

, ,

file-20170425-12650-16jxfww

A European map of implicit racial bias. Author provided.

This new map shows how easily white Europeans associate black faces with negative ideas.

Since 2002, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have logged onto a website run by Harvard University called Project Implicit and taken an “implicit association test” (IAT), a rapid-response task which measures how easily you can pair items from different categories.

To create this new map, we used data from a version of the test which presents white or black faces and positive or negative words. The result shows how easily our minds automatically make the link between the categories – what psychologists call an “implicit racial attitude”.

Each country on the map is coloured according to the average score of test takers from that country. Redder countries show higher average bias, bluer countries show lower average bias, as the scale on the top of the map shows.

Like a similar map which had been made for US states, our map shows variation in the extent of racial bias – but all European countries are racially biased when comparing blacks versus whites.

In every country in Europe, people are slower to associate blackness with positive words such as “good” or “nice” and faster to associate blackness with negative concepts such as “bad” or “evil”. But they are quicker to make the link between blackness and negative concepts in the Czech Republic or Lithuania than they are in Slovenia, the UK or Ireland.

No country had an average score below zero, which would reflect positive associations with blackness. In fact, none had an average score that was even close to zero, which would reflect neither positive nor negative racial associations.

file-20170426-2848-91puix

A screeshot from the online IAT test. IAT, Project Implict

Implicit bias

Overall, we have scores for 144,038 white Europeans, collected between 2002 and 2015, with sample sizes for each country shown on the left-hand side.

Because of the design of the test it is very difficult to deliberately control your score. Many people, including those who sincerely hold non-racist or even anti-racist beliefs, demonstrate positive implicit bias on the test. The exact meaning of implicit attitudes, and the IAT, are controversial, but we believe they reflect the automatic associations we hold in our minds, associations that develop over years of immersion in the social world.

Although we, as individuals, may not hold racist beliefs, the ideas we associate with race may be constructed by a culture which describes people of different ethnicities in consistent ways, and ways which are consistently more or less positive. Looked at like this, the IAT – which at best is a weak measure of individual psychology – may be most useful if individuals’ scores are aggregated to provide a reflection on the collective social world we inhabit.

The results shown in this map give detail to what we already expected – that across Europe racial attitudes are not neutral. Blackness has negative associations for white Europeans, and there are some interesting patterns in how the strength of these negative associations varies across the continent.

North and west Europe, on average, have less strong anti-black associations, although they still have anti-black associations on average. As you move south and east the strength of negative associations tends to increase – but not everywhere. The Balkans look like an exception, compared to surrounding countries. Is this because of some quirk about how people in the Balkans heard about Project Implicit, or because their prejudices aren’t orientated around a white-black axis? For now, we can only speculate.

Open questions

When interpreting the map there are at least two important qualifications to bear in mind.

The first is that the scores only reflect racial attitudes in one dimension: pairing white/black with goodness/badness. Our feelings about ethnicity have many more dimensions which aren’t captured by this measure.

The second is that the data comes from Europeans who visit the the US Project Implicit website, which is in English. We can be certain that the sample reflects a subset of the European population which are more internet-savvy than is typical. They are probably also younger, and more cosmopolitan. These factors are likely to underweight the extent of implicit racism in each country, so that the true levels of implicit racism are probably higher than shown on this map.

This new map is possible because Project Implicit release their data via the Open Science Framework. This site allows scientists to share the raw materials and data from their experiments, allowing anyone to check their working, or re-analyse the data, as we have done here. I believe that open tools and publishing methods like these are necessary to make science better and more reliable.

This article was updated on July 18 2017 to correct the number of white Europeans whose scores were used in the study. The number was 144,038, not 288,076 as previously stated.

Source: https://theconversation.com/this-map-shows-what-white-europeans-associate-with-race-and-it-makes-for-uncomfortable-reading-76661

Tory austerity means the memories of Jarrow March are all too clear today

Tags

, ,

jarrow_crusade

Since the end of the second world war many people have seen the period between the two conflicts as one of unmitigated economic failure, marked by mass unemployment and hunger marches, including the famous Jarrow March of 1936. For the historian Claude Cockburn this was the “devil’s decade”.

However, this popular view has been challenged by Stuart Maconie in his new book Long Road from Jarrow. He points out that, although there was great hardship in the 1930s, especially in the north east, it was very unevenly spread out.

The deprivation was real, particularly for those who lived in the depressed areas of Tyneside and County Durham. For instance, between 1854 and 1913 the output of British coal had grown from 65 to 287 million tons. But, by 1934, it had fallen. In human terms the ruin of the traditional industries, such as shipbuilding and mining, was the ruin of hundreds of thousands of men through mass unemployment. Certainly to live in Jarrow was a grimmer experience than to live in midlands areas like Market Harborough. In 1936, Jarrow resembled a ghost town with more than 80 per cent of the town’s men jobless.

The Durham town of Ferryhill experienced an unemployment rate of 25 per cent. The effects were devastating as shops, pubs and other businesses were forced to close. Families fell into debt. Diets suffered and health deteriorated. The “dole” was meagre and the “means-test” was often applied in a harsh and heartless manner. Today, although unemployment is low, millions experience the insecurity and low wages of the gig economy while jobseeker’s allowance has been frozen for the second year. Over a third of claimants have been ‘’sanctioned’’ at one point in the last 12 months.

There has been a sharp rise in precarious self-employment and zero hours contracts. Under austerity, the number of northerners using food banks has soared. The Trussell Trust gave out more than one million food parcels in 2016.

As Maconie notes, “the 30s in some ways start to look very much like Britain today, once you’ve wiped away the soot and coal-dust.’’

Social class, for Maconie, is alive and well. It’s the principal divison of British society as he reflects upon the north-south divide through his 2016 journey from the post-industrial towns of Jarrow and Barnsley to the southern market towns of Bedford and St Albans. The former industrial town of Ferryhill today is “a mining town with no pit” he writes.

Yet as Newcastle University historian Norman McCord points out, towns like Hebburn – three miles from Jarrow – were hard hit but escaped the worst ravages of the inter-war recession. At the same time the leafy neighbourhood of Gosforth remained untouched, with virtual full employment, not unlike the situation today. Even in High Heaton and Cowgate new council housing was being built for the so-called “respectable working-class”. With interest rates low, then new mock owner-occupied Tudor semis were being built in Kenton and North Gosforth from 1934 for professionals in the private sector.

Nor did the era produce a potential revolutionary situation or extremism as predicted by many contemporaries at the time. Although membership of the Communist Party grew from 2,500 in 1930 to 17,500 by 1939, it made very few advances. Likewise as the Newcastle historian Martin Pugh points out, Mosley’s black shirts made little impact in the region even though the British Union of Fascists had over 30,000 members by 1935.

The 1930s were in several areas a period of growth and socio-economic expansion. The well-established light industries of the midlands and Gateshead’s Team Valley in 1937 – although they had always met the demands of the domestic consumer – found themselves faced with a rapidly expanding mass market. Inexpensive consumer items such as vacuum cleaners, radios and electric irons flooded the market and were bought in vast quantities by 1939. Department stores, especially Woolworths, grew rapidly.

As the decade witnessed marked shifts in the economy in both the midlands and the south, leisure too became transformed. In 1920 there had been about 500,000 motor vehicles of all kinds. By 1932 there were three times as many. And by 1939 that figures had doubled. Of the three million vehicles on the roads, two million were private cars. In Oxford, traffic jams had become a familiar bank holiday event. In 1931 only 1.5 million people were entitled to paid holidays. By 1939 this figure had risen to 11 million.

Caravans, Butlins holiday camps, and particularly cinemas were becoming a familiar sight. The number of visits to the pictures rose from 36,000 in 1924 to eight million by 1935. The Odeon, Royalty and Jesmond picture houses were packed out every weekend. The avant-garde Tyneside cinema is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

Throughout the thirties the cost of living fell a third faster than wage rates. Those in work, like office-based “black-coated workers” and skilled artisans, enjoyed a rise of 17 per cent in real incomes from 1924 to 1935.

In his classic work, English Journey, JB Priestley noticed the paradox that prevailed: mass unemployment and poverty for one section of the working class living in the north east and a rising standard of living for another section.

“This is the England of arterial and by-pass roads, of filing stations and factories that look like exhibition buildings, of giant cinemas and dance-halls and cafes, bungalows with tiny garages, cocktail bars, motor coaches, wireless, hiking, factory girls looking like actresses, greyhound racing, swimming pools and everything given away for cigarette coupons,” Priestley wrote.

Eighty years on and writers like Stuart Maconie note that we are going back to the thirties with rising austerity, social inequality and the growth of far-right populism. A gross simplification, argue others.

Yet it cannot be denied that today we are seeing a widening gulf both between the north and south of England. Just as worrying is that we appear to be witnessing a big gap opening up in our core cities such as Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester. Compare and contrast Parklands in Newcastle with its lavish suburbs, high levels of conspicuous consumption and packed restaurants to that of the inner-city and outer council estates, with high levels of deprivation, ill-health and insecure jobs.

Maconie is correct to emphasise making our country a “one-nation society” again. But we also need to strive for a “one region society”, if we’re serious about creating a more equitable and fairer community which benefits the many and not the just the few.

Stephen Lambert is a Newcastle city councillor and former lecturer in sociology, history and politics.

Long Road from Jarrow: A Journey Through Britain Then and Now by Stuart Maconie is published by Ebury Press.

Source: https://labourlist.org/2017/08/tory-austerity-means-the-memories-of-jarrow-march-are-all-too-clear-today/

Two scams a day reported to councils fighting fraudsters

Tags

, , ,

atm-313958_1920

“Councils are receiving reports of scams every day from victims whose confidence and trust in people has been shattered, leaving them anxious and scared of being targeted and harassed again.”

More than two scams and attempted scams a day are being reported to some councils as they crack down on criminals running shams ranging from fake online dating and disability parking badge sites to bogus diamond investment schemes and weight-loss devices.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, is urging people to report all scams which costs UK citizens nearly £10 billion a year.

Fraud, which includes scams, is now the most common type of crime, accounting for 3.6 million crimes in England and Wales last year. But this could be the tip of the iceberg as only 5 per cent of scams are reported, often due to embarrassment or people simply being unaware they have been deceived.

The LGA is urging victims not to suffer in silence, but to report all scams to help raise awareness of latest swindles and fight fraudsters more effectively.

In one council alone – West Sussex Council – trading standards officers have received more than 800 cases of scams and attempted scams since July 2016 – equating to more than two a day and costing victims £383,000.

Trading standards teams at councils elsewhere have secured successful recent prosecutions for various scams and warned residents about sham schemes which have cost victims vast sums of money. They include:

  • Warwickshire County Council was contacted by a woman who reported losing more than £30,000 to someone who contacted her via a dating website; a man who is thought to have sent more than £50,000 to fraudsters after being tricked into ‘investing’ in pink diamonds; and prosecuted a trader renting out ‘ultrasonic liposuction’ devices which he falsely claimed would enable users to lose weight without exercise or dieting, but in fact proved ineffective and gave customers electric shocks
  • National Trading Standards prosecuted a man from Essex and his company who misled 102 disabled people into paying £49 a time for Blue Badge parking permits – normally bought from local councils for £10 – using copycat websites. He was ordered to pay more than £15,000 in compensation and costs
  • In a prosecution by Redbridge Borough Council a man was jailed and his accomplice received a suspended prison sentence after taking advance fees from clients for the purpose of arranging mortgages that were never provided

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:

“Heartless, money-grabbing fraudsters don’t care about the financial and emotional distress their sham schemes cause. They just want to exploit people, many of whom are elderly or vulnerable, into parting with their hard-earned money or life savings and vanish without a trace.

“Councils are receiving reports of scams every day from victims whose confidence and trust in people has been shattered, leaving them anxious and scared of being targeted and harassed again.

“Fraud not only leaves victims out of pocket, it also creates significant costs for taxpayers as elderly victims in particular often require more care and support after being scammed.

“Although scammers often target the vulnerable, anyone can be fooled by a fake businessman, scheme or rogue trader as fraudsters are always devising new ways to con people out of their savings.

“It’s important that victims don’t suffer in silence or feel embarrassed. By reporting a scam, people can help someone else avoid being a victim and help councils track down the fraudsters, bring them to justice and recover their money.

“We want to encourage people to speak out and give their families or carers the information they need to take action.”

Advice on avoiding scams is available from councils and their partner agencies. People should report scams, rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or Action on Fraud.

CASE STUDIES

  • More than 800 cases of actual and attempted scams have been reported to West Sussex Trading Standards since 1 July, 2016. This cost victims a total of £383,000. In that period, an additional 125 doorstep incidents saw residents scammed out of a further £85,000. West Sussex Trading Standards has also prevented 99.7 per cent of 15,572 nuisance and scam calls after the first of 80 call blocker devices were installed in residents’ homes in February 2016.
  • Warwickshire County Council trading standards have been contacted by consumers who have fallen victim to dating scams. One victim reported losing more than £30,000 after being contacted online by someone she thought was in the American Army. Trading standards officers are also warning of bogus investment opportunities after a resident was contacted over the phone and convinced to ‘invest’ in pink diamonds from the world’s last pink diamond mine. It is believed that he may have sent more than £50,000 to fraudsters. The council prosecuted a trader renting out ‘ultrasonic liposuction’ devices which he claimed in false and misleading adverts would enable users to lose weight without exercise or dieting, despite no scientific evidence to prove this. Some of the devices gave customers electric shocks. Customers who complained were unable to claim a refund because the businessman had hidden his true identity from them.
  • A man from Essex and his company who misled 102 disabled people into paying £49 a time for Blue Badge parking permits using copycat websites was ordered to pay more than £15,000 in compensation and costs following an investigation by National Trading Standards. The badges are normally bought from local councils for £10.
  • Redbridge Borough Council prosecuted two men after receiving a large number of complaints about a company taking advance fees from clients for arranging mortgages that were never provided. The company’s adverts were targeted at those that had poor credit histories or who had been unable to obtain a mortgage from a high street bank, making potential customers financially vulnerable. One of the men was jailed for two years and banned from being a company director for 10 years, while the other received a 12-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

NOTES

  1. Fraud against UK citizens was estimated at £9.7 billion annually, according to the Annual Fraud Indicator 2016
  2. Only five per cent of scams are reported.

http://www.tradingstandards.uk/policy/standagainstscams.cfm

Source: https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/two-scams-day-reported-councils-fighting-fraudsters

Why the Conservatives struggle with empathy

Tags

, , , ,

xtk8m0v6nxnpgi6wpw0ok2bbtwlxdq.jpeg.gallery

The ‘nasty party’ tag will stick until the Conservatives reject making moral judgements about poorer members of society

By Ben Richardson, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, and Simon Glaze, Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Warwick

 

Emotional intelligence has become such an important political virtue in the UK this summer that First Secretary of State Damian Green recently sought to reassure BBC Breakfast viewers that the Prime Minister Theresa May ‘is a warm and empathetic woman’. This was in reply to criticisms regarding May’s impassive response to the Grenfell Tower disaster and her seeming failure to consider the concerns of those suffering from austerity, including public sector workers whose pay increases have remained capped at or below inflation rates since 2012. A case in point occurred during the general election campaign when May was accused by Labour of lacking the ‘common decency’ to condemn the fact that some NHS nurses had resorted to using food banks. But as some Conservative ministers indicated that a softening of austerity might be appropriate in light of changing public opinion on state spending, former Prime Minister David Cameron intervened to warn that this was not the right way to demonstrate compassion: ‘Giving up on sound finances isn’t being generous, it’s being selfish: spending money today that you need tomorrow’.

Such moralistic condemnation of those seemingly not in thrall to the virtues of thrift was a persistent theme of the rhetoric of Cameron’s governments, particularly around poverty, which was deemed a result of individuals’ poor choices and lack of self-control. It was these assumed characteristics that informed a distinctive kind of ‘Conservative compassion’, which according to Iain Duncan Smith, architect of Conservative social policy during this period, was about ‘taking the tough choices’ on behalf of the poor. This was contrasted to the sympathy exhibited by the left, which he saw simply as an indulgence that encouraged welfare dependency and eroded personal responsibility.

It is this concern with upholding personal responsibility that we explore in an article on the moral economy of food consumption. Looking at recent political discourse, we note how food banks and obesity have been frequently understood in terms of indolence and ignorance, often in ways that justified the wider agenda of state retrenchment. So in parliamentary debate for instance, the Minister of Employment Esther McVey would assert that food banks had become more prevalent because of individual hardship ‘caused by personal debt, overspending and people living beyond their means’ and national hardship caused by Labour governments doing the exact same things. This assignation of blame was a practice that Cameron himself had endorsed in his famous Broken Society speech, in which he encouraged people not to worry about appearing judgemental and just say what needs to be said. His example: ‘We talk about people being “at risk of obesity” instead of talking about people who eat too much and take too little exercise.

While policies to coerce ‘errant’ consumers into making different choices jarred with the neoliberal principle of unrestricted market exchange, and therefore remained difficult to justify ideologically, the use of censure was far more permissible. This approach can be traced to Friedrich Hayek, who saw invidious comparison of others’ conduct as necessary to the inculcation of self-reliance; a virtue that underpinned existence within market society. Within this intellectual tradition, which was embedded within the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher and continued today by think-tanks like the Institute for Economic Affairs (which now has a Lifestyle Economics team dedicated to de-regulating food consumption), personal responsibility became a way to bolster consent for liberal capitalism and bulwark against the supposed totalitarian ethos of socialism. Sentiments of sympathy risked extending a duty of care to others, and put both these things in jeopardy.

So is there a trade-off between self-regarding and other-regarding behaviour? Drawing on Adam Smith’s body of work, we suggest not. In contrast to Hayek, Smith suggests that dispassionate sympathetic interactions – something closer to empathy than compassion – are in fact central to a just and prosperous society, providing the basis for commercial exchange and moral development. It is not self-reliance, then, but self-command that is at the heart of Smith’s moral economy: learning to temper and transcend our passions in light of a sympathetic reimagining of others’ behaviours and likely motives. Needless to say, this reading of Adam Smith is entirely distinct to portrayals of him by leading Conservatives like George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith, who in their references to Smith have entirely downplayed his rejection of free-market dogmatism and socially condescending political interventions based upon supposedly objective moral standards.

It is by returning to Smith’s ethic of self-command that we suggest an alternative liberal conceptualisation of (inter)personal responsibility can be articulated; one which maintains the dignity of individual autonomy without deploying the hostilities of Hayekian neoliberalism to help guarantee it. And it is through such an account that we can also suggest why Theresa May is having such difficulty in attempting to shed the Conservatives’ ‘nasty party’ tag that she famously identified 15 years ago. It is only through a wholesale rejection of moral judgements about poorer members of society that this ideological inheritance can be loosened, and a more authentic – and as Smith shows, socio-economically vital – form of empathy can begin to be practised.

Source: http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2017/08/03/why-the-conservatives-struggle-with-empathy/