Sunday, 10 April 2011


SIR - As a result of the government's drive to stamp out nepotism, will my local Butcher have to change his sign to  to "Joe Bloggs and no son of mine"?

- Seen in the Daily Telegraph, 8th April 2011

Our Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg,  published a document last week: Opening doors: Breaking Barriers. A strategy for social mobility. He aims to build a society " which success is based on what you know, not who you know". Okay apart from a niggling doubt about how Cleggy actually defines 'success', I confess I find this aspiration at best naive, at worst sinister.

Nepotism and inheritance are as old as human settlement. No government can legislate against this urge. A Scientist would probably argue that this was a genetic trait - looking after our own, so they would both look after us and prosper from our help, so that they would then pass their genes on...

Nepotism is part of organic social networking and this is the way we act - it is part of tribal behaviour. Nepotism leads to greater social stability, collective identity and solidarity. I'd rather have a society based on strong kinship bonds than one engineered by officialdom. Nepotism tends to keep things localised with a human face. It leads to greater allegiance and trust - any social or economic enterprise is less likely to fail if you don't want to let your own kin down. There can't be many of us that can say they have never benefited from Uncle Bob, Sister Liz, neigbour Margaret or Mick down the pub.

Clegg's latest crusade will probably be soon forgotten - but IF it succeeds in some way it will only be to the detriment of the folk. It is yet another aspect of the egalitarian agenda which, when it succeeds, only erodes and fragments the nation, whittling away at a natural tribalistic form of self-organisation.