Socialist Worker

Rich learn how to clean their own homes as virus crisis hits

Issue No. 2702

Chandeliers are going un-dusted during the coronavirus crisis

Chandeliers are going un-dusted during the coronavirus crisis (Pic: Amaury Laporte/Flickr)


While some headlines focus on lack of safety kit at work or the rising benefit claims, there’s a hidden group of coronavirus victims—the rich.

Some toffs have lost their staff as they self-isolate or are furloughed. So they are learning to clean.

Lucy Challenger is boss of domestic staff firm Polo & Tweed in Mayfair, London.

She said the firm is now getting “calls day in, day out” from the rich pleading for help.

They want to know how to change a bed or do washing.

“People are having to launder and iron and fold for the first time,” explained Lucy.

Polo & Tweed has nobly stepped up to the plate, ­offering classes in tasks such as ironing.

The rich will get certificates if they pass. And the wealthy can get specific advice, such as how to clean their chandeliers, if they require it.

If you’re fed up being stuck in overcrowded housing during the lockdown, remember the downsides of having more space.

As Lucy put it, “People might think, ‘Hang on, why can’t the person who owns the house pick up the Hoover and off they go?’

“But picking up a Hoover in a property that has 30 bedrooms would take you a month to complete.”

The Countess of Carnarvon, chatelaine of the vast Highclere Castle which was the film location for TV drama Downton Abbey, is one of those most affected.

Fiona, as she likes to be called, is trying to keep on top of 300 rooms at the castle.

“I went to get the vacuum cleaner—I know exactly where they are kept,” she proudly explained.

“But doing that took me long enough.”

The countess said that walking around to check if any lights have been left on “takes 40 minutes”.

“I would love to have the time to do every inch of the place, but I just don’t,” she said.

So some things, including dusting and polishing of silver, “will have to wait”.

We truly are all making sacrifices under the lockdown.


Tories were warned of pandemic threat

Government ministers were warned last year that Britain needed a plan to deal with a pandemic virus.

A confidential Cabinet Office briefing leaked last week warned that even a mild pandemic could kill tens of thousands.

The National Security Risk Assessment said, “A novel pandemic virus could be both highly transmissible and highly virulent.

“Pandemics significantly more serious than the reasonable worst case are possible.”

The briefing was signed off by Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser. It recommended stockpiling personal protective equipment and organising advanced purchase agreements for other kit.

It also recommended that the government establish procedures for disease surveillance and contact tracing.

But a source said, “There was a national plan for dealing with a pandemic.

“But who took control of that?

“Who was responsible for making sure plans were being made at a local level?

“I am not sure anyone was doing this. We have been caught out.”

The paper said a moderate pandemic could lead to 65,600 deaths.


Furlough cash goes to Cayman Islands

Rich bosses are doing very well out of the Tories’ furlough scheme. The scheme is supposed to protect workers’ jobs by underwriting most of their wages and keeping them from being sacked.

But it’s also another handout to the rich. Stonegate Pubs has taken millions of pounds of our money and furloughed 16,500 workers—despite being based in the Cayman Islands. The firm owns Slug & Lettuce, Walkabout and Yates. It has paid no corporation tax in Britain, blaming “exceptional costs” which include paying bonuses.


Victoria Beckham has furloughed 30 workers at her VB fashion label—despite having a family fortune of around £335 million.

Apparently staff have received letters saying they will receive only 80 percent of their wages under the government scheme.

So she won’t be topping up the rest then.


Tests for the super-rich in Saint-Tropez

Lockdown is a breeze for the super-rich residents of the gated community of Les Parc de Saint-Tropez in France.

Its president has set up a private testing site for coronavirus there for residents and their friends.

Meanwhile health workers in local hospitals can’t get hold of tests.

Saint-Tropez mayor Jean-Pierre Tuveri said the tests were done “under the aegis of the Pasteur Institute”.

The institute said it knew nothing about the tests and that the mayor’s statement was “quite suspicious”.


Arms sales to repressive regimes soar

Britain sold nearly 400 percent more arms to repressive regimes last year compared to 2018.

In 2018, Britain sold £173 million worth of arms to states the Foreign Office calls “human rights priority countries”.

Last year this rose to £849 million—an increase of 390 percent.

And more rises are on the cards.

The DSEI arms fair already plans to be back at London’s Excel centre in September next year—once it’s done being a hospital for Covid-19.


Paltrow has your date night sorted

Gwyneth Paltrow has published advice for how to have a “date night” under lockdown.

It will cost you a mere £3,000—and that’s before you’ve bought any food or drink.

Handily, all the necessary products are available at Paltrow’s Goop website. They include a set of pans for £307 and plates for £240.


Worth less in Britain?

A human life in Britain is valued at £2.4 million—at best—based on figures used by the Nice health provision group.

The equivalent figure in Germany is around £12 million.

Some suggest the government use Nice figures to judge if continuing the lockdown makes financial sense.


Toff of the week - the queen, top royal scrounger

  • The queen has had to quit horse riding due to the lockdown.
  • The Daily Mail told us last week that she is at Windsor Castle with prince Philip.
  • But its source ‘revealed’ that they ‘get on well’.
  • The queen has slashed her waiting staff to ‘around a dozen’ during the crisis

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