bulk :: 12st 12
days away :: 4
beds slept in (sofas and mattresses included) :: 5
books sold :: no idea (I kind of wish you’d stop asking)
book reviews :: 0 (I’m trying not to get too sad about this)
days till I go back to France for a fortnight :: 5
weeks till I give up and go farming :: 10
feet that itch :: 2
I had a very good time in London, thank you for asking, not least because I saw lots of old friends again and was asked if I would become a secular godfather to the daughter of a couple of them. A kind of godlessfather. Of course I said I would be honoured. And I am. I also feel like it’s another spur to keep going, to get a move on, to make something of my life and pass whatever I can of it on.
‘Whatever I can of it on.’
I know my words.
I spent too much money at the weekend. I have none left again. France is going to be tough. Everything’s going to be tough. It’s tough being free, let’s face it. Free of money I mean. Free of wage-slavery. Unencumbered by wealth.
Plus, it’s snowing.
Now, in honour of the budget, and ramped-up austerity, and the great gift of capitalism in general, I’d like to leave you with this letter to the Guardian from Michael Meacher MP, which you may have seen before. Even if you have seen it before, it’s really worth reading through again, just to remind yourself how obscenely unfair is the system to which you shackle yourself, and in so doing, help to perpetuate. I’m not having a go at you. I’m just saying, you should probably quit your job and start growing your own vegetables. Anyway, here’s the letter, from May of last year…
The annual Sunday Times Rich List yields four very important conclusions for the governance of Britain (Report, Weekend, 28 April). It shows that the richest 1,000 persons, just 0.003% of the adult population, increased their wealth over the last three years by £155bn. That is enough for themselves alone to pay off the entire current UK budget deficit and still leave them with £30bn to spare.
Second, this mega-rich elite, containing many of the bankers and hedge fund and private equity operators who caused the financial crash in the first place, have not been made subject to any tax payback whatever commensurate to their gains. Some 77% of the budget deficit is being recouped by public expenditure cuts and benefit cuts, and only 23% is being repaid by tax increases. More than half of the tax increases is accounted for by the VAT rise which hits the poorest hardest. None of the tax increases is specifically aimed at the super-rich.
Third, despite the biggest slump for nearly a century, these 1,000 richest are now sitting on wealth greater even than at the height of the boom just before the crash. Their wealth now amounts to £414bn, equivalent to more than a third of Britain’s entire GDP. They include 77 billionaires and 23 others, each possessing more than £750m.
The increase in wealth of this richest 1,000 has been £315bn over the last 15 years. If they were charged capital gains tax on this at the current 28% rate, it would yield £88bn, enough to pay off 70% of the entire deficit. It seems however that Osborne takes the notorious view of the New York heiress, Leonora Helmsley: “Only the little people pay taxes.”
Michael Meacher MP
Labour, Oldham West and Royton
Have a great weekend.