There is enough evidence here that equality is a good thing to be able to take it on faith, and to move away from evidence-based politics towards a politics that is, for want of a better word, more ideological.
There are some problems with The Spirit Level, and it’s through exploring these that David Runciman gives Wilkinson and Pickett their due. The Spirit Level is a very good book. It might sometimes trip over itself in its own enthusiasm, but it does convince. Even if it doesn’t, it’s still worth it for the handy collection of references. I wrote to my MP (Martin Linton, Lab.) to ask if he’d read it yet, and if he had, whether he’d be willing to publicly repudiate what Peter Mandelson once said about being “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”. I haven’t heard back. I’m thinking of sending Martin a spare copy because it can only be some practical hiccup – he dropped his copy in the bath and it hasn’t dried out yet, or something like that – and not anything, you know, ideological. He’s a Labour man, after all.