Dear ‘Wealth Creators’
You know when you got bullied at school and went home in tears? Well, actually you probably don’t, since most of you will have been boarding at Eton. But anyhow, let’s imagine you do. When that happens, do you know what mums always say? They’re just jealous. That’s right. They’re just jealous. Whenever anyone upsets their kids, mums always decide that the perpetrator just has to be seething with envy. After all, what else could it be?
This used to happen to me a lot. The majority of my classmates were total bastards and my mum would always trot out the “just jealous” line. I knew at the time that it was total bollocks. The truth was, the others just didn’t like me. I was fatter than they were. My clothes were more unfashionable. I did get better results in spelling tests. None of these things justify how fucking mean they all were (perhaps I’m also just a total cow), but one thing’s for sure: not one of them was going home at night thinking “actually, deep down, I totally wish I was the overweight swot who still gets all her clothes bought for her from Woolworth’s”. If anything, what the bullies experienced will have been more like the opposite of envy; to put a charitable spin on their meanness, they were all afraid of being anything like me.
Of course these days many people – ordinary people – are mean to you ‘wealth creators’, those of you who ‘create wealth’, largely for yourselves, on the back of increasingly exploitative and insecure employment practices. We don’t respect your disruptive, innovative approach to company loyalty. We never say thank-you. We’re too busy working our arses off in jobs which might not be around in a week’s time to recognise that the person at the top, that person who may, this very minute, be working his or her PA’s fingers to the bone drawing up further overseas outsourcing plans, has given us a valuable, if fleeting, opportunity to be a worthwhile, low-earning economic unit. We never give anything back (apart from actual labour, that is. And the taxes that we lack the creative vision to get out of paying). Anyhow, sorry for being mean. We didn’t know it got to you like this. It’s only now we’ve discovered you’ve been running home to Mummy, aka the Tory Party, in floods of tears.
As all mummies do, the Tories have once again trotted out the “just jealous” line. Speaking to the Telegraph, Michael Fallon, the new minister of state for business, has called for an end to “the politics of envy”:
“We need to salute [wealth creation] and stop thinking of new ways to tax it […]. That’s an attitude I want to help change,” he says. “We need to get away from the politics of envy in this country and salute those who not only create wealth but risk their own money to create jobs for other people.
“Above all I want business to feel it has a strong Conservative champion in the department.”
Well, that’s nice, isn’t it? Hopefully that should buck you up a bit. You’re going to get “saluted” by your Conservative mummy, ever your “champion”. She might even make pretend medals for you. Or even real ones, come the next honours list.
Of course, as ever, the whole “jealousy” thing is bollocks. We ordinary people aren’t jealous of you. Most of us would appreciate more financial security but we don’t all want to be business “leaders”. From where we’re sitting, being you doesn’t look all that great. If anything, you look scared and paranoid. That’s not to justify all the hoarding as the economic situation worsens. It’s just to say that actually, we’re not envious. What you go through – well, it seems like an awful lot of stress in order to get more of a thing which you don’t really need more of. And it looks like the type of stress that shuts you off from the rest of the world, meaning you can’t believe it when everyone else’s priorities aren’t the same as yours.
Well, whatever. To you and Mummy, this will all look like I’m protesting too much. As though deep down, I want a yacht and a second or third home and to be sitting on Dragon’s Den pompously declaring myself “out” to one of the little people. As though when I complain about unfairness, all I mean is “I want more stuff”. But it’s a pity if that’s all you can hear.
A non-wealth “creating” economic unit