Entitlements. The new privilege.

I’ve just been delayed on my flight abroad by more than 3 hours. It’s actually going to be the other side of 4 hours. With two small children, my wife and I have been feeling the strain and using up the myriad ideas, techniques and distractions that we had already planned for the flight itself to keep the children entertained.

Thanks to the passenger who sat next to me I now know that we’re entitled to compensation as a result of an EU directive.

I could get north of €250 per person for my troubles.

Now obviously if enough of us passengers (customers they kept telling me) successfully claim then the logic is that the airline will learn the hard way and try to avoid such a payout again.

And this is where there is always an interesting discussion of what the market does and does not do.

The EU created this entitlement for me. The market didn’t.

Had the market been left alone completely would I be in the position of being able to claim compensation?

Surely if it’s what consumers want then providers will compete for the best compensation package? As far as I can read of this EU directive while sat waiting to take off, it’s all based on the rules the EU has come up with so it’s a straight and simple entitlement.

And that’s the term I’ve fixed on. Even the pilot said it in his announcement. We will be entitled.

I don’t want to be entitled. To anything.

Ironically I think it’s just as bad, if not worse, than being that other dreaded lefty word: privileged.

Entitlements are just state sanctioned privileges. State designed ones.

Its where the state elites have worked out where we should and shouldn’t have privilege, presumably as a way of “levelling the playing field” or certainly in this case, of bashing corporate greed in the name of the consumer.

Some privileges are earned. Others come by luck. Some by birth.

Theres another form of privilege now and it’s wrapped in the language of equality. The entitlement.

Not born of the market or of hard graft but delivered on a plate by our benevolent masters. Because the world is too scary for it not to be run by our betters.

At least, that’s what they think.

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