Monday, 23 July 2012
Yes, yes yes, the big boy stole your pocket money and ran away. What are you going to do about it? Everybody wants to use phrases like global elite to put a label on the bad guys so we can, what, feel a bit better about it? Name calling once they’re out of earshot is ineffectual; name calling while they’re still in range is never going to end well. These are very big boys indeed.
Of course it’s unfair, but the robber barons have been with us forever in one form of another. Today, hand-wringing governments are slowly trying to work out how to curb their excesses, while newspapers and blogs are daily reminding us of them. Meanwhile, huddled cohorts of rebels (read ‘unemployed’) rant about the 1% and talk about evil. They imagine a sinister, world-wide plot to enslave us all, when in reality all the big boys are doing is what human nature allows them to do and keeping it for themselves.
So come on, what would you actually do? Grab a pitchfork and storm the big house on the hill? Dismantle the estates and leave them to crumble? Strip out the yachts? Scrap the fleets of expensive cars and rip apart the private jets? Drive them from the land? The sound of stable doors flapping forlornly in the wind is almost deafening.
But look, somebody has to make all that stuff. Bricks don’t get laid by themselves, furnishings don’t get delivered by some unseen hand and somebody, somewhere was paid to stitch the leather upholstery in the Bentley. As much as you might not want to hear any of this, there is no point in going on the rampage. (And there's absolutely no point in engaging in punitive strike action. Fat cat union leaders are just another form of robber baron.)
In foreign climes, the Royal Navy is grippoed into submission by generosity. A ‘grippo’ is an offer of hospitality, such as free access to the golf course, parties or excursions. Much of such hospitality is offered by British ex-pats, eager for contact with their estranged countrymen. In his turn, Jolly Jack Tar makes hay by engaging in a spot of ‘baron strangling’, in other words kicking the arse out of the opportunity. Many’s the time Jack’s returned on board having spent a week drunk at somebody else’s expense.
In times past honours were handed out (bought) by landowners filling the king’s coffers with gold to wage wars. Nowadays we gong just about anybody and far too freely. If honours can be bought – and clearly they can and are – why not institute a system that rewards those who actually stay and pay their full share of tax?
You've got to be choking!
So, why make ‘wanker’ gestures at the filthy rich, when they can’t see or hear you and don’t care? Why make them angry and drive them still further offshore? Why not make like Jack, make 'em welcome, tax them fairly (the same as everybody else; the higher tax rate is a major factor in tax avoidance) then keep 'em here and keep ‘em spending?
Just a thought.