Archive for October 10th, 2007


Today I met a lady with twinkling blue eyes and a wicked sense of humour.  She was sat up in bed tucking into a huge bowl of salt-ridden porridge and a large mug of sweet tea.

She was 102-years-old.

How good is that?


Meritocracy Gordon?

Ok, so the Tories said they would raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1million which incidentally probably went a long way to saving them from a General Election because subsequent opinion polls favoured them which really quite bugs me because people are just so fickle.  I mean show them a wiff of money and they are like moths to the flame.  No consideration of how it will be financed.  No list of inevitable public service sacrifices that will have to be made because of the reduced public money bag but hey ho.  It seems we’re all capitalists at heart.  Cameron does say he will fund the cuts by increasing charges on billionaires who are not officially residing in Britain but anyone trusting that this will ever happen is a mighty fool.  A Tory government will always welcome with open legs arms the world’s tax-dodging billionaires.

Anyway, Gordon’s government has subsequently made noises indicating that they too would make similar cuts.  Whether Gordy stole Tory party pledges or not, or whether he flip-flopped on this issue or not (which of course it will be a flip-flop if he does make the cuts), my concern is that Labour is supposed to be of the Left.  They are supposed to support and promote fairer wealth redistribution.  We can expect the rich to get richer and the poor to remain in the poverty trap under the Tories.  That’s a core Tory value and an important part of their political ethos.  But Labour allowing the wealthy to have tax-free money that they haven’t actually worked for is just another affirmation of our Labour government’s permanently Altered Status and loss of socialist values.

I know people say that inheritance tax is unfair and why should people who’ve worked hard for what they have, be made to pay more, blah, blah . . .?  But don’t you think it’s a crazy mixed up world when Average Joe’s hard-earned pay is taxed (and it’s worth mentioning here that the lowest paid pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than Britain’s richest) yet unearned, inherited wealth is virtually tax-free.  Why do we tolerate a system whereby the very wealthy get to pass on their wealth tax-free because they know how to play the tax games while the average hard worker gets stung every time?

I think that inheritance tax should of course fairly reflect and be in accordance with how much the estate is worth but (and you’re so gonna hate this), more importantly it should be based on how wealthy the beneficiary already is.  Would that be kind of a means-tested inheritance system?  So be it then.

I’m not talking about the average family who inherits their dad’s £100k terraced house.  I’m not even talking about the family who inherits the large semi and the £40/50k ++ that their parents have kept in ancient co-op account.  But a £1million threshold will give many existing wealthy families a real boost to their already thriving bank accounts and as I said, these are the kind of people who already know all the tax loopholes and who already benefit from the kindly tax breaks that our generous government gives them. 

Don’t we want a society in which the wealth is distributed in such a way that results in zero poverty rather than about 10% of the population benefitting by an unearned inheritance?  Inherited wealth perpetuates the already existing wealth gaps in our society which in turn creates a divisive and unequal society in which the rich get fatter and the poor are kept-in-their-place.

So when the time comes for Gordon to make the decision to cut or not to cut – and where to cut, he would be wise to remember his beloved past beliefs in a meritocracy.