The minimum gesture was one that indicated recognition of the discontent the so-called ‘battlers’ felt. If their complaints derived more from unlovely envy than actual hardship, it was all the more urgent to recognise them. The political precondition of the social wage was public acceptance, and the public would only accept what seemed to be just. This was the government’s imperative—to reinvest the social wage with a consensus view of justice. If ‘social justice’ was to be more than a cliché of Labor ideology and government departments, it needed to be vigorously extended to those who worked and earned and had ambition. The answer was not to send everyone in the town or street a cheque, but to assure them all that they were part of the equation and no-one was getting a cheque he did not deserve.
<blockquote>This was absolutely true then, and absolutely true now. Too many on the left fail to appreciate this…</blockquote>