Rich Fear 'Corbygeddon'
The Sunday Times Rich List has been published again for 2019. You’ll be please to know that the richest 1,000 people in the country are not doing too badly. They’re sitting on wealth of £771.3bn, £47.8bn more than last year. So they are over all 16% better off than 2018, without most of them doing a stroke of work.
Top of the pops are the Hinduja brothers, sitting on £22bn, £1.356bn up on last year. They own more than 50 companies. Or take number six in the charts, Kirsten and John Rausing, with £12,256 between them, £1.408bn more than 2018. To what do they owe their fortune? Kirsten’s grandfather founded Tetra Pak, the packaging firm. That’s it. As Marx noted, capital has the occult ability to add value to itself. The Rausings’ wealth then spread and spread. Kirsten is a member of the Jockey Club and owns 50% of the British Bloodstock Agency. But this is just a hobby for the horsey and well heeled.
All the same, the super=rich have a problem. The Sunday Times headline reads Rich prepare to flee Corbyn’s Britain as Tories desert PM. Hysterical? Sure. But this is a serious threat to democracy. The paper goes on to explain that Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell intends to introduce a budget, including a proposal to reduce the threshold for paying a higher (45%) rate of income tax from £150,000 to £80,000. This is not a call for revolution.
What’s bad news for the very rich, John wants them to actually pay the tax they ought to. “We’ll implement the most comprehensive set of anti-tax avoidance measures ever introduced by a British government, so that the super-rich and the big corporations pay their tax just like the rest of us do.”
The rich are worried. As the Tory Party disintegrates before our eyes the rich fear ‘Corbygeddon’, a Corbyn-led Labour government. The boss of Coutts, where the Queen banks her money, says they are more worried about Corbyn than Brexit. Alfie Best, said to be ‘worth’ £285m, threatens to flee with his money should a Labour government be elected. John Gore, a leading donor to the Conservative Party, explains why he regards his contributions (£2.6 million since the start of 2017) as a sound investment. “Am I worried about a Marxist being in charge? Yes, massively. Based on the intelligence I have from people within the Labour Party, it is a horror story.” He declares himself prepared to dish out millions more to stop this prospect.
An anonymous tax expert told the Sunday Times that he had advised ten rich people to leave the country with £5bn of their wealth. A construction boss who also wants to remain anonymous confided, “I would give up if Corbyn came to power. What I do takes risk. A hard left government would remove the reward that justifies taking those risks. Spending five years on a beach would be a better use of my time.”
What this boss is proposing is a strike - a strike of capital against an elected government. It seems democracy is OK for the rich as long as it delivers the result they want.
Another member of the super-rich makes the threat explicit. “Many of the young are up for the Socialist Republic of Great Britain. When they can’t get a job because all our wealth creators have skipped off to America, let’s see how they feel.”
There you have it. Labour is proposing a modest and necessary programme to help out the vast majority of our people. Build more affordable homes; an end to poverty wages; fund the NHS properly; no more cuts; an end to austerity; stop bullying benefit claimants.
The super-rich really see this as a threat to the ‘pro-enterprise low-tax culture’ they need to harvest their profits from low pay and exploitation. They are threatening to sabotage a Corbyn-led Labour government. This is a serious threat to our movement. We have to build a mass movement in the country to resist all the measures the capitalist class will throw at us.
This article was first published on the LRC website here https://labourrep.com/blog/2019/5/13/rich-fear-corbygeddon