Socialist Worker

£518 billion for the filthy rich getting richer under Tories

Issue No. 2404

Know your enemy graphic

Britain’s richest people are wealthier than ever before with a combined fortune of more than £518 billion, according to this year’s Sunday Times Rich List.

The 1,000 richest have seen their combined wealth rise more than 15 percent on last year’s total of £449 billion. They now own the equivalent of a third of Britain’s economic output.

A minimum of £85 million is needed to even be considered for the list—compared to £80 million in 2008 and £75 million last year. To get into the top 500, the rich need £190 million—double the £80 million required in 2004 and up £30 million from the £160 million cut off point for last year’s list.

Most distinguished among the old money names squats the queen. She had a sterling year as she added £10 million to one’s personal fortune. She is ranked a rather common 285 with £330 million. 

Though after years of wrangling by the palace that is a severe underestimate of how much loot she and her parasitical family actually own. 

South African insurance tycoon Douw Steyn, the money behind the meerkats annoyance on television,  saw his wealth go up by £50 million to a total of £600 million, ranked 170. Former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, was among the new entrants with a “value” of £100 million, ranking at 863.

Some 104 billionaires are now based in the UK—more than triple the number from a decade ago—with a combined wealth of more than £301 billion.

It means Britain has more billionaires per head of population than any other country, while London’s total of 72 sterling billionaires is more than any other city in the world

The report is an underestimate as it doesn’t reveal how much the rich have in the bank. Or how much they hide away offshore or under the bed. 


No Yorkshire tea for Nazis

In Troublemaker’s view it is a little odd to be a Second World War enthusiast. To go to a 1940s themed weekend in Haworth, West Yorkshire, is a lifestyle choice of a sort. But there are limits. Such as when a group of visitors arrived dressed in Nazi SS uniforms. 

It was too much even for the teashop owners of Yorkshire.

For the third year running, festival-goers were confronted with a small group of revellers who chose to dress in Nazi uniforms. Like the brave resistance fighters of yore the small business owners put up signs saying they wouldn’t serve tea and biscuits to anyone wearing a Nazi uniform. 

Which is nice.


Tory supper club donates a fortune

The Tories are snuffling hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of donations to the party through a secretive dining club. The club allows donors to hide their identities.

In the last four months alone the Tories have been given £140,000 by an organisation called the United and Cecil Club. The cash funds election campaigns in the party’s most marginal seats.

The money was given by donors at lunches and dinners attended by senior Conservative figures, including at least five cabinet ministers.

The Tories have been given £5 million since the last election through secret clubs.


The Tories received more than £3 million in donations over the first three months of 2014 from City financiers. They bought the right to have some private dinners with Tory leader David Cameron.


A soft toy to go with your 9/11 memorial 

There is nothing that won’t take a good gift shop. The museum at Ground Zero the site of the September 11 attacks on New York is a case in point.

The museum’s cavernous boutique offers a vast array of souvenir goods. For example, police and fire brigade T-shirts and caps, cop and firefighter charms and “United We Stand” blankets.

There are bracelets, bowls, buttons, mugs, magnets, key chains, mousepads, flags, pins, stuffed animals (pictured), toy firetrucks, cellphone cases, and a bag. There are even vests for dogs that handily come in all sizes.

There are rocks inscribed with slogans such as “United in Hope” and “Honor.”

One leaf ornament is said to change from amber to dark brown “and sometimes pink around the time of the 9/11 anniversary”. Some 8,000 unidentified body parts are now stored out of sight in a “remains repository” at the museum next door.


A burning desire to scab on dispute

Scabs lost control of a fire during a training exercise in Easingwold, North Yorkshire, causing the roof on their training centre to catch on fire. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service had to resort to calling in professional firefighters to extinguish the blaze, with five fire engines and one aerial appliance attending.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said, “This fiasco demonstrates that their abilities are about as impressive as their sense of solidarity and civic duty.”


Gulls’ Eggs Luncheon

Birds of a high-net-worth feather flocked to the annual Gulls’ Eggs Luncheon in the City last week. Wealth managers talked shop while gulping down seasonal gulls’ eggs with fine wine. This is an old school tie event in more ways than one. Each year, a gentlemen’s outfitter stitches a commemorative neckpiece. This year’s bird-motif offering, by Thresher & Glenny, was on sale at £65.


Tony Blair's garter

Some say Tony Blair wasn’t made a member of the esteemed Order of the Garter because the royals don’t like him. Troublemaker believes that Blair in fact turned down the ermine. The reason is that he would have to fill out a declaration of his interests and income.


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Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 20 May 2014, 20:06 BST
Issue No. 2404
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