The ultra-rich hold us to ransom again

Blair selfie in front of pile of cashGreed is good, or at least that’s what the bankers and CEOs of the biggest companies think. What is surprising is not their avaricious self-interest and total indifference to everyone else, but the blatancy with which they flaunt it. As their leader so movingly put it, they’re all in it together – the CEOs of Ocado and Kingfisher, those Labour sell-outs Lord (Digby) Jones and Lord Myners (both worth a bob or two in the City), and inevitably Boris Johnson.

The only omission was Blair, but no doubt it would have been too much of an embarrassment even for him now that he’s reputed to be worth £40 million. The cacophony of financial selfies that Balls’ modest proposal has elicited is extremely revealing. It shows what a tin ear they have to the tightening squeeze being imposed on 90% of the population, where 60% of voters sampled in a poll approved of Labour’s move, even including Conservatives. Continue reading

Another unmentionable word in the Queen’s Speech: wealth

Apart from assuring us that the government’s main objective was economic stability – the stability of the graveyard it seems in this government’s case – the only other significant things in the Queen’s Speech were what it didn’t contain, not anything it did contain. Nothing about housebuilding, an infrastructure bank, reviving manufacturing, boosting capital investment, QE to bolster youth employment rather than the banks, or anything that really needs doing. And nothing about 1% versus the 99%. The inequality in wealth in Britain today is on a staggering scale, and it’s not even mentioned. So let’s start with the facts, grace of the Sunday Times Rich List rather than Treasury data – even the evidence of the distribution of wealth has been privatised. Continue reading

Who are the super-rich beneficiaries from this Budget?

There can be no doubt that the nation’s revulsion against awarding a £10,000 tax break to the top 1% of earners and no less than a £40,000 tax cut to 14,000 millionaires was dramatically sharpened by the fact that it was funded by depriving 4.5 million pensioners of £83 a week. But even if that had not been so (a politically explosive mistake that Osborne will learn to rue), the sheer provocativeness of giving away such huge sums of money (probably nearer to £1bn than the absurdly inaccurate £100m claimed, to ward off the political flak) would have made this at a time of austerity unforgiveable.

But of course that’s just the point – the Tories now feel they can get away with anything – not just handing a tax break to 300,000 people on more than £3,000 a week, but also to chief executives of big companies on an average £86,500 a week and even to Bob Diamond, head of Barclays, on £307,600 a week! Continue reading

Who are the rich that Osborne is pandering to?

To give a tax break to people on more than £150,000 a year when the rest of the population, and above all the bottom half, are on the rack for a decade of austerity takes some doing. It shows more acidly than anything else could the sheer psychopathic mania of the ruling Tory elite for relentlessly squeezing the mass of the people in order to consolidate the power and wealth of a miniscule set of the ultra-rich. Continue reading