Monday 19th May
Every year The Sunday Times publishes The Rich List. This started off with ten, or maybe twenty and now includes probably a hundred or so. It is supposed I think to say something about the Nation’s Wealth. But personally I think it tells us far more about our poverty. As usual the very rich are getting even richer at an even faster rate than ever before. And this at a time of Austerity, of ‘We’re All In It Together’, of cuts, of ‘we cannot afford to pay people benefits to sit on their backsides’, of rationing in the NHS, of food banks serving more and more people with the basics of life. I mean how much pride do you have to swallow to apply for free food, to admit that you haven’t even enough money to buy food for your kids. And not all who apply even get accepted – you have to be really poor to get food for nothing.
I grew up in a time when talking about money was considered vulgar, nobody would have dreamt of asking how much one earned, or how much a person was worth. Now it is de-rigeur, no-one is ashamed in surveys of ticking the box bracketing their annual salary, and with more freedom of information we know far more about how much people earn. There is a new vulgarity now – of being proud, secretly or otherwise of being in The Rich List, and it has become an item on the news – who is up and who is down, how many billionaires are on the list and so on. I find it all a bit disgusting, and of course a true reflection of the fact that although they try to deny it, the Tories are hauling the country back into the Thatcher “Greed is Good” era.
So, I shall not be reading “The Rich List”, I am not even mildly interested. Maybe they should publish “The Poor List” next year; however they might need a newspaper the thickness of the Bible and very small print to do so.