Attacking the Politics of Envy: Some Suggestions

If the politics of envy made a country rich, we’d be very rich … Most rich people are contributing far more in tax than other people.

Bernard Jenkin, Tory backbencher

Envy – such an ugly word, and such an ugly concept. It ought to have no place in politics but there it is, all the time. Isn’t it about time we did something about it?

Like Bernard Jenkin, I would like to rid the world of politics from this terrible scourge. Hence, in order to make a start, I’d like to suggest a few people of whom everyone else  needs to stop feeling so goddamned envious:

  • Benefits claimants

Yeah, yeah, I know. There they are, sitting on their fat arses, reeking of entitlement on fifty quid a week. Let’s be honest, we’d all like to be that way, wouldn’t we? It’s not our fault if we’ve rightfully inherited millions and constantly feel a moral imperative to dream up ways to acquire more wealth while others have to work themselves into the ground before losing out in the next “restructure” we’ve introduced anyhow. No one gives enough consideration to the crosses executive management have to bear. If it helps in coming to terms with it, remember: you can always force the fuckers to work at Poundland for nothing.

  • Ex-pupils of “sink” schools

Confession: I don’t actually know what a “sink” school is. I tend to picture a school full of actual sinks, but I imagine it’s not that. Anyhow, I know that if you go to a school defined as “sink” you get loads of advantages when it comes to applying to Oxbridge and things. All you have to do is write your own name and you get a fully funded place or something. It’s political correctness gone mad and it’s so unfair on kids whose parents have paid for them to have a public school education, private tuition, interview coaching etc. etc. No wonder the latter are barely holding on to their bizarrely disproportionate dominance over all positions of power in the country. Sadly, though, there’s no point feeling envious of the “sink” school kids. You need to blame your parents instead. They could’ve sent you to a “sink” school but chose not to. Perhaps they have a fear of porcelain.

  • Immigrants

It is the height of greed to be born in one country and, not satisfied with that, to want to live in another. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you’re white, rich and a “wealth creator”. Then it’s just spreading your benevolence farther afield. However, most immigrants are not so “valuable”, yet they nevertheless get to jump to the front of the queue for pretty much everything (particularly detention centre accommodation). This is deeply unfair. It often makes me want to flee my own country in fear of my life or to escape abject poverty. Unfortunately, no one’s even bothered to threaten to kill me or to take away all my possessions. Plus I’m not sure where I’d go – who’s best at locking people up? But still, no point feeling bitter over the immigrants. After all, I had ancestors who were immigrants, so it’s probably just not my turn.

  • Same-sex couples

Being gay is one non-stop party, a bit like Saturday Night Fever meets The Full Monty. Loads of sex (it is physically impossible for a gay person not to be lusted after by at least ten others at any one time) and zero responsibility (since they’re all rolling in that magic, mysterious currency known as the “pink pound”). It’s no wonder we straights feel a bit peeved – why do we have to take on all the responsibility for being morally superior? And now they want to get in on marriage! I mean, really! Aren’t we permitted to jealously guard anything? Well, yes, actually, for the time being we are. So it’s probably best not to make too much of a fuss when there’s so much moralising to be getting on with.

  • The poor

Obviously being poor rocks. You might have no money and no choices, but at least you don’t have to suffer the type of “posh-bashing” the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch have to face. Being poor is cool. It’s way better to be dithering about whether to use to pay for a trip to the dentist than it is to be typecast as the plummy villain in yet another period drama. I fully understand all that. Nonetheless, let’s not forget – the poor tend to have had years, nay, generations of practice at being poor. You haven’t, so don’t feel envious – you probably wouldn’t fit in at The Money Shop anyhow.

So, envy – all around us, insidious and unchecked. Right now the world is full of total fuckers who have nothing better to do than resent those who have fewer assets and/or rights yet lack the good grace to roll over and give up more. It’s a horrible state of affairs. I bet envy keeps people like Bernard Jenkin awake every night, eating away at them as they picture all the poor people, swanning around just, just, just being.

I’m sorry, Bernard. We do need to do something about it. For starters, could you stop being such an envious bastard?

PS To be fair, Jenkin is responding to Nick Clegg’s suspiciously self-serving suggestion to introduce an emergency tax on the wealthy. Even so, the language he’s using seems to me to cast moral aspersions on anyone but the likes of Nick Clegg himself.