Reposted from The Mirror
There is a famous 1966 comedy sketch from The Frost Report that you’ve no doubt seen.
The one where Ronnie Corbett (4ft 11in), Ronnie Barker (5ft 8in) and John Cleese (6ft 5in) highlight the rising levels of superiority (symbolised by increasing height) between the lower, middle and upper classes in Britain.
If the sketch was re-made today only two comedians would be needed: Ricky Gervais’s mates Warwick Davis (3ft 6in) and Stephen Merchant (6ft 7in).
Because the way wealth is being polarised in this country there will soon be only two classes of people: the Haves and the Have Nots.
Or rather, the “I have so much money I spend all my time worrying what to do with it” and the rest.
And, as between Merchant and Davis, the gap between the two groups is phenomenal.
Since the financial crash of 2008, the average Briton’s savings have fallen by 21%.
Yet, according to the Rich List, the assets of the top 1,000 have doubled to £519billion.
We learned this week that it now takes the average FTSE 100 boss (annual salary £4.72million) two days to earn what the average worker (annual salary £26,500) makes in a year.
We also learned on the day hundreds of thousands of public sector workers went on strike to protest against the savage cuts in their living standards since this Government came to power, that 33,000 of the richest earners, some of them household names, have been deliberately avoiding paying £5.1billion in tax.
It’s usually at this point that I blame it all on Thatcher’s culture of greed.
Yet I have a bigger problem with the last Labour Government and their starry-eyed hero-worship of the rich.
Remember Peter Mandelson remarking as he hopped between yachts how New Labour was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”.
Maybe that’s how they attracted such fair-weather friends as Sir Michael Caine, who quickly turned his ire on them when Gordon Brown introduced the 50p tax rate in 2009.
“We’ve got 3.5 million layabouts laying about on benefits, and I’m 76, getting up at 6am to go to work to keep them,” he whined, before going on to publicly back David Cameron.
Tory supporting Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, meanwhile, called that 50p tax “the politics of envy”.
You won’t be surprised to learn that both Caine and Lloyd Webber were outed this week as tax avoiders.
The assumed wisdom in modern Britain seems to be that decent wages, bonuses and pensions are not for the little people but the big earners. Because they are vital to the country’s wealth.
Argue with that, as public sector workers did on Thursday, and you’re cast as selfish wreckers.
But who is truly vital to your life?
The people who teach your kids, fight your fires, care for you in hospital and empty your bins?
Or the ones who make records, films, TV shows and lots of money. Then hold back the taxes on that money to make themselves richer.
Who really wrecks this country? Those who don’t pay their share to fund it, or those asked to make this country work for less money every year?
I’d take an honest striker over a dishonest sponger every time.