Thursday, 27 March 2014

Ding-dong, Round One

To paraphrase Malvolio, some are born rich, some achieve riches and some have riches thrust upon them. It’s a human imperative to acquire wealth, nurture your own children above all others and pass onto them what advantages you can; the envy of wealth is an essentially human thing and drives many of us on to greatness. But in the great modern rush for equality a head start is frowned upon – usually by those who have none - as an evil to be banished to feudal history. In the Guardian, James Butler argues that “Inherited wealthis an injustice” and proposes its abolition, presumably by confiscating your estate via a 100% inheritance tax.

In the eyes of your card-carrying, caring socialist it is better to take than to receive; it is better to be equally mediocre than perpetuate a system where some have and some have not. So James must have been delighted to hear that it is not only financial inheritance that could be denied future generations but cultural capital must also be withheld - how dare the English have a head start, for instance, in the international language of commerce? To assist British education on its downward spiral we now import such numbers of foreign-born children – I’m guessing to go up the chimneys our bone idle offspring won’t - that City of Leeds school has taken to teaching English as aforeign language.

In some parts of Leeds English has been a foreign language for centuries but, damn and blast it, nobody must benefit from innate expertise. In fact, sod it, forget English altogether; I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time before The EU decrees we resurrect Esperanto so that we can all struggle equally to communicate. Only when every single one of us starts at rock bottom will the great European experiment have achieved its ends. Although I can’t help but notice that in order to pursue those aims, a new royalty is emerging, passing on the reins of knowledge through dynastic inheritance; some family fortunes are more equal than others.

So last night’s Leaders’ debate on EU membership, between Nigel Farage representing the concerns of many millions of ordinary people and Nick Clegg, fighting the corner for yet more integration was a fascinating glimpse into the future. On the one hand a generally plain-speaking and credible example of an independent thinker, on the other a dedicated sticker to a script written in a galaxy far, far away. “In is good, out is bad” said Clegg, tirelessly swinging his hypnotic talisman and repeating ‘facts’ with no provenance, knowing his future ascension to the European throne room may depend on carrying this debate. Farage did his best to blow cigarette smoke at him.

But the most fascinating bit of the whole exercise was how the various pundits presented their ‘analysis’ of events. Danny Alexander declared Clegg the clear winner, but he would, wouldn’t he? John Redwood managed to both declare for Farage and dismiss him in the same statement. And lots of ‘independent’ journalists sought to preserve their future access to all sides - and hence their living - by slimily plumping for a no-score-draw. But the only official poll, recording the views of 1000 people selected to represent the political affiliations of the country as a whole, declared 57% to 36% in favour of Farage.

Mrs T would have won hands down!

It won’t end there, will it? Because it is highly likely that the votes cast represent inherited opinions, some of which will be based on personal experience, some of it on hand-me-down familial dogma. Worst of all, because it appears to show that people actually want, overwhelmingly, to have their say on our EU membership, that ballot must be overturned at all costs. Next week it is the job of the BBC to host the event. Anybody want to guess what the outcome of that second mini-referendum is likely to be?

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