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MONDAY 4 MARCH 2024

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Hats off to wealthy Julia and patriotic multi-millionaires campaigning for a wealth tax

Julia with her dogs on wildlife land


HOW many times have we all driven through the countryside and seen long, winding driveways leading off to nowhere? We all wonder who lives in the mansion that must obviously sit at the end.


Our first thought is that it will be a pop star or Premiership footballer. But it could just as easily be Joe or Jean Bloggs whom we have never heard of, on their way to becoming one of the planet’s first trillionaires in the next 10 years. And they could well come from the worlds of technology, pharmaceuticals, retail, business, food and drink. They will be as rich as an oil producing state, many financial writers say.


Pop stars, actors and footballers are rarely billionaires, other than a few like American singer Shawn Corey Carter £2.5bn (known as Jay-Z — heard of him?), Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney. Although stars like Celine Dion and Taylor Swift are getting there, teetering on around £1bn.


Most are just everyday millionaires. Tom Jones, Joe Brown and people of that ilk are about £75million. Most are half that. And according to Forbes, mostly grow their money through property not catchy Christmas ditties. They are making a good living. New Boy on the block TV’s Ryland Clark has only just got on the millionaire ladder … at £4 million. Rich yes, but not that rich in the scheme of things to come.


But now it appears that even billionaires these days are getting a bit of a conscience about the poor and the state of the world economy. As many of them gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum last week, and the hangers on touted for jobs, probably including some politicians, some billionaires were pressing for more taxes on themselves, according to newspaper reports. Hard to believe, isn’t it? You normally only hear about their garages full of Ferraris; swimming pools and multiple homes. Step forward Rod Stewart.


Hats off then to 50-year-old multi-millionairess Julia Davies, who has founded Patriotic Millionaires UK a non-partisan group of super-rich Brits campaigning for a wealth tax. She says levies on wealth are miniscule, compared with taxation on income from work. And she’s right of course. No wonder Oxfam loves her.


She added last week: “Just imagine what £22bn a year invested in public services and infrastructure could pay for; improving the lives of every one of us who lives in the UK and providing our elderly, young and vulnerable with the care and support they need and deserve.”


She has been busy in Davos raising support for her tax-the-rich plan, and apparently getting it too. If you didn’t know, Julia sold her share of the outdoor equipment company Osprey Europe and spent her money returning swathes of farmland to the wilderness. Nature is in crisis, she argues, and we need to protect it.


She lends money to conservation groups such as wildlife trusts. They can then launch public campaigns to help the wildlife on it. Trusts like the Dorset Wildlife Fund, pay her back when they get on their feet.


Now she is turning her sights on governments, including her own, to tax the rich and help another suffering form of life. The human race. Many of the rich are backing her. Over 700 multi-millionaires are members of The Patriotic Millionaires Movement.


The gulf between rich and poor grows even wider, the Davos Forum was told. In the UK, the richest one per cent own 36.5 percent of all financial assets, with a value of £1.8tn. And seven of the world’s biggest corporations have a billionaire as CEO. Wow. The majority of the leading CEOs have packages of one million a year, with a workforce earning an average £25,000.


Forbes says that the world’s five richest men have more than doubled their combined fortunes to £681.5bn since 2020, more than four times the entire UK NHS Budget, while the world’s poorest 60 percent of us, have lost money in real terms.


The five richest of course are: French fashion magnate Bernard Arnault; entrepreneur Elon Musk; Jeff Bezos, Amazon; Bill Gates of Microsoft and Investor Warren Buffett.


Most billionaires are from America, there are 735 of them now with a collective wealth of £5tn, but the UK has our fair share. Have you ever heard of British songwriter and former Miss UK, Kirsty Bertarelli? She co-wrote the hit song Black Coffee and other ditties. She’s now worth a staggering £11.5bn … and let’s not forget Denise Coates, chief exec of online gambling firm Bet365. She’s worth a cool £6bn.


She caused a bit of a stir in the Press last year when we discovered she was paid around £221m in spite of her firm making a big loss. The list of billionaires goes on across the world at varying amounts, including Russia, Chile, Germany, Japan and China. India has the second largest number.

In the UK, there is inherited wealth too. Like Lady Charlotte Wellesley, a descendant of the first Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. She is ranked 2nd in the Under-35s UK rich list with a personal inherited wealth of £2.5bn. The family inherited a vast Spanish estate as a thank you for the courage of the Duke. The Redcoats who lost their legs got nowt.


Our wealthiest woman is Kristine Rausing, at £12bn. She owns the right to Tetra Pak, the folded paper cartons that most of the world’s liquid foods are sold in. She lives at a stud farm in Newmarket.


This yawning gap between rich and poor will increase, says Oxfam and poverty might not be eradicated for at least another 230 years, if ever.

During the Covid epidemic the world’s billionaires got £2.6tn richer, the Forum heard, and their wealth has grown three times faster than the rate of inflation.


In the same period people worldwide are working harder and longer hours, often for poverty wages in precarious and unsafe jobs, Across 52 countries, average real wages of 800 million workers have fallen. These workers have lost $1.5tn over the last two years, equivalent to 25 days of lost wages for each one.”


Julia, who has a huge following for her philanthropic work sums it up: She says: “If you put off important repair work, it often ends up costing more in the long run.


“Those broken roof tiles you leave unreplaced can let water in, cause rot, and leave you with a repair bill for the entire roof.


“But that is what the whole world is currently doing. Our social, economic, ecological, and democratic systems are letting the water in, and the roof is beginning to rot – in richer and poorer countries alike.”

The Patriotic Millionaires have signed a letter to the G20 demanding international co-operation to tax the super-rich and reverse the extreme concentration of wealth which is “corroding our collective future”.


This amazing woman adds: “A wealth tax of 1-2 per cent on those with more £10m could raise £22bn alone. This would only affect around 20,000 people, or 0.04 per cent of the UK population, who would barely even notice it.”


But the ‘skint little people’ people would notice the difference in their lives. Good luck, Julia.

*****








Mike who is determined to stop the boats


Get a grip, Chakrabortty

“THERE’S no political will to get tough on illegal immigrants!” said our old friend (to some) and member of our parish, Mike Parry talking about the Boats and Rwanda on GB News last week … and how right he is. His patriotic feelings cannot be in doubt.


Unlike the misguided Guardian political columnist Aditya Chakrabortty, who in my view knows as little about the hopes, fears and aspirations of the British people as I do the workings of a nuclear rocket.


He claimed last week: “Over the past half-decade the government has manufactured a full-blown moral panic over refugees. The Tories have denied most of them any safe route to seek asylum in the UK, starving our asylum system of funds so that it collapsed into chaos!


“They also portrayed some of the poorest and most desperate people in the world as dusk-skinned folk devils bringing their foreign religions and culture here to take the UK for all it’s got and trash society along the way.”


Excuse me, but in the words of our very own fine columnist Richard Dismore: “What a load of bollocks!”


What is it with these Guardian plonkers like Chakrabortty? Has he got his fingers on the pulse of the nation? Or on his own excitable pulse?

Doesn’t he realise the British people voted overwhelmingly to Stop the Boats full of single male illegal African immigrants? Doesn’t he realise the Tories swept to power in landslides over Brexit, borders and people flaunting our boundaries? Would he have sent barges to bring the German tanks over in 1940? It sounds like it.


What is it he doesn’t understand about the democratic message: “Stop the boats!” Has he read the UN forecasts that over five million people, a few years from now, will be on the move in search of paradise in places like the UK? And doesn’t he read that the EU had started to put the barriers up at its own borders? We haven’t got the money or the room, for God’s sake.


Didn’t his own paper, if he reads it, announce that in the year ending June 2023 there were 52,530 illegal migrants detected entering the UK, up 17 per cent from the year ending June 2022. We don’t want them, Chakkrabortty old chum, if they want to come, apply the right way. Not like Hitler’s lot planning raids from Calais.


In 2022, an estimated 3.5 million people living in the UK had moved here to join a new British citizen who was granted work or study here. Most had no means of paying for themselves. Mike Parry, me, you and Chakrabortty did, from taxes.


And what about our struggling Health Service Mr Chakrabortty? Our own people are suffering on hospital waiting lists … our schools are crumbling; our homeless figures are rising and the cost of living has led to food banks.

Chakrabortty refers to these things in his piece and blames the government of course just like the stable of Guardian writers do, but ignores the elephant in the room … the cost of paying for immigration instead of school roof tiles. Instead, he rants about people who have super yachts. Perhaps he wants to commandeer them and send them to pick up new benefit claimants in that safe place called France.


If people like Chakrabortty think that most true Brits, brought up admiring their heroes, loving their culture and way of life and building a safer, well-defended Britain for the future of their children, are going to throw open their borders and bring in hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated strangers who often can’t speak English, have no medical checks or background papers, lie about their age and jump the legal asylum queue, he has another think coming.


Does he want a man of 25, who lied about his age, sitting next to his daughter, if he has one, in the classroom? Of course, we need a level of immigration and must try and help the persecuted. But not at the cost of our own people suffering and opening our doors to the world. There must be limits. We cannot just build houses for boat people because Chakrabortty’s vision and beliefs tells us.


He clearly doesn’t realise that many of them don’t integrate much at all and bring their own way of life and religion. There are now 3.3million immigrants living in London and the Home Office calculates that nationwide we will be spending over £11bn a year on asylum support in the UK by the end of 2026.


The Guardian writer and his leftie chums are using a new tactic to convince us and themselves that voters are not bothered about immigration now. They use polls to show that the British public are no longer interested in Rwanda.


But that’s because it has all gone on so long and voters know that the Leftie rich and foreign courts will just keep blocking it. It’s got boring. And they always win taking us on a journey to a new way of life with our traditions and achievements just a faint memory in the archives of time.


But as Mike Parry told GB News: “We should have followed the Australian model and pushed the boats back. When I see the former Australian PM John Howard talking about the way they sorted it and got them offshore, I think: ‘why don’t we do that’?


“People say we can’t because if you push the boat back and it tips over, illegals fall into the water. There’s just no political will to get tough.”


That sounds a big tough, Mike, but something desperately needs to be done before we lose our identity forever and we are turned into a Third World nation. The super-rich Lefties won’t worry of course, they’ll have their electric wire fences all around them.


Mike can have the last word: “Last week a French politician said that we are a soft touch. We’ve got a wonderfully developed welfare system and migrants take advantage of it!”


That’s the truth Mr Chakrabortty, face it. Yes, a certain level of immigration is good. But we should choose who we want and we need limits.

*****








Museum madness

IT won’t belong before Nelson’s column will be torn down and Mandela put on top if the Woke Brigade have their way. Great patriots Beaverbrook and Harmsworth must be turning in their graves, not to mention Churchill.


A website called “topple the racists” contains a list of around 60 statues across the UK it demands should be taken down, because they “celebrate slavery and racism”. It includes iconic historical figures such as Horatio Nelson, King Charles II, Oliver Cromwell, and Sir Francis Drake.


What has happened to our country that we can’t even celebrate our war heroes? Nelson, who had colonial friends, was a hero and gave his life to saving our nation at a time of great danger, for God’s sake.


That’s what he is remembered for. Nothing to do with colonialism. His guts! Now one museum wants to remember asylum seekers who ran away to safety with us instead. Because they braved the cruel sea.


The National Maritime Museum which last year received £20 million from us has unveiled a statue of a ‘God-like protector of all migrants’. It has been placed next to a bust of Lord Nelson and the pair will apparently engage in a recorded conversation in which the gender-neutral God praises the resilience of those escaping war, while moaning about Nelson’s fancy medals and uniform. What?


To cap it all, God wears his/her own medal of honour. A spray can on her head. Don’t ask!

*****













Lord Bath ... a talented eccentric

Lord Bath ... a talented eccentric 

Disappearing act ...

TALKING about long drives, big houses and super-rich people, as I did in my earlier piece, when I was editor of the Western Daily Press some years ago, I dined with many multi-millionaires, among them the late Lord Bath, a super guy and wonderfully eccentric.


I would often visit him in his penthouse flat at the top of his house in Longleat and would marvel at the artwork he created … mostly sculptured work and particularly face masks.


He was a regular guest at my charity functions in Bristol and I remember one night in the Marriott Hotel, he and two wifelets joined Glastonbury millionaire Michael Eavis and Billionaire Bristol City FC owner Steven Lansdown at my table.


We were raising money for a charity I had set up to fund a Hovercraft for Burnham on Sea, following the death of five-year-old Leleina Hall, trapped on the mudflats of the Severn tide.


In the middle of proceedings, Lord Bath, resplendent in a gold and red cloak and cowboy boots got up without saying a word and left the table. It was around 9pm. After some time, we became concerned when he didn’t return.


After an hour I sent out hotel search parties. They combed the floors, checking rooms, cupboards and toilets. Still couldn’t find him as time moved on and speeches were due. Finally, a girl reporter and hotel manager checked the basement floor, which was under renovation. They walked the empty corridors calling his name.


Suddenly a cry for help was faintly heard from the disused gents toilet which had no light bulbs. It was Lord Bath. He had wandered off to do his business somewhere peaceful … and the bolt on the door on Trap Four had half fallen off and locked him inside.


TERRY MANNERS


22 January 2024