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Richard Reeves, “A Question of Character” in the August edition of  Prospect (http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=10283) might prompt socialists to revisit roots and work upwards towards a more credible and appealing view of culture.

There are at least two failings among socialists. Firstly, the term, “working class”, has been allowed to become meaningless or a synonym for very poor. To be working class was to claim status and pride, e.g. until relatively recently “a working class illiterate” would have been considered an oxymoron.

Secondly, socialists – in defence of the poor and oppressed – have been drawn to an uncharacteristically liberal view on equality. The high ground of positive liberty has tended to be abandoned in favour of a negative liberty – or even extreme relativism – that tries to cherish everything. It needs to be emphasised that there is not the slightest contradiction between wanting to liberate people from poverty – economic and, yes, cultural – and taking care not to blame them for being poor.

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