"N O'B: We did a big piece of work last year called Just Deserts? which explored what people thought was fair. Politicians constantly talk about fairness. This is unfair, that is unfair, without any real sense of what the public think about these things and the public have a very strong reciprocal idea of what fairness is.
"BD: How would you describe the politicians’ view of fairness?
"N O'B: Gordon Brown’s idea of fairness is to look at a graph showing how the impact of any policy change impacts in decile terms. It’s all about distribution, it’s all about a socialist or egalitarian idea of what fairness is and nothing to do with just deserts, or these people work for this or try hard. The public are much more committed to that second view. We felt the whole political debate, including the right wing, had been sucked too far towards fairness just being something the Institute for Fiscal Studies can show you on a chart which it really isn’t."
See the full article on the Total Politics website
The section from the Total Politics website did not make it into the final print edition. If you want to read Neil's interview, please purchase a copy of this month's Total Politics.