inequality‘I’ll just sit and grin 
The money will roll right in’

Somewhat of a quiet week, as the country inexorably degenerates, there is an overwhelming feeling of apathy. 

This tired old governments legacy of  40-yrs plus of neoliberal experimentation is an unprecedented squeeze in living standards, stagnant economic growth, crisis-ridden public services, a growing housing nightmare and political turmoil. 

We start with taxes, or rather the lack of…in Career Opportunities, I talked about how reforming CGT by equalising the rates payable with income tax would raise between £8-10bn in additional revenue. 

Well, analysis of anonymised personal tax returns found that 97% of the population never receive any capital gain, and those that do are predominantly the very richest who benefit from CGT being levied at a lower rate than income tax . Research found that 50% of the gains for the entire country go to as many people as could fit in the Albert Hall.(1) 

Or, people living in Notting Hill, west London, received more in capital gains from 2015 to 2019 than the combined population of Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. 

Just 0.3% of people with income under £50,000 had taxable gains in an average year, compared with almost 40% of taxpayers with incomes over £5m receiving some gains. 

25% of all the gains go to people living in London. A further 22.4% are received by people living in the south-east of the country. By contrast, taxpayers in Wales, the north east and Northern Ireland received just 2%, 1.5% and 1.3% of capital gains, respectively. 

One of the researchers, said: There are more capital gains in Kensington than the whole of Wales, and more in Hampstead and Kilburn than the north east of England. Continuing to tax these gains at a lower rate than earnings from work is the complete opposite of ‘levelling up’. 

‘There are more capital gains in Kensington than the whole of Wales’

There it is, a free hit for Labour, only they have promised not to make the change. So much for representing the working man! 

Of course, we are told that the super-rich who exploit these anomalies are transient, if we try and tax them too heavily they will simply move elsewhere. 

As the Telegraph wrote in January, Labour is coming for your wealth – here’s where to escape their taxes…… options for worried middle-class earners 

The actual median UK income is £34,963, as such the use of middle class is, at best, misleading. It is, however, politically convenient to pretend Labour is coming after any homeowner, any tax payer, or anyone with an Isa, disguising the wealth of the super-rich under the cover of general middle-classes. 

The article goes on to discuss VAT on private school fees (attended by just 7% of children) and non-dom tax, which benefits only 68,800 people in the UK). 

As one commentator identified, they maybe transient but the grass isn’t always greener. They cited the example of Guy Hands, the private equity financier, who upped and left for Guernsey in 2009, seduced by its flat 20% income tax rate and zero capital gains tax.  

He wrote recently: Moving to Guernsey greatly impacted my ability to build and maintain strong relationships with contacts, on which my success in business relied. I lost the flow of the market and ultimately I was never able to raise a blind fund again. Deal-making and fundraising is best done face to face … I also lost connection with my team. He added: For me it was a disaster 

‘many tax havens are either small and insular such as Monaco, or boring and culturally barren, such as the Channel Islands’

London offers the super-rich a great deal, shopping, good food, its far from the cultural desert it was in the 1970s. In addition, they have their own communities, families, friends and roots here. By  comparison, many tax havens are either small and insular such as Monaco, or boring and culturally barren, such as the Channel Islands. Sam Friedman, a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics had his team interview a raft of the top one-percenters and found not one planning to make Guy Hands’ mistake. 

Attitudes towards tax are changing, with the demise of Thatcherism. The British Social Attitudes survey found that 52% of the public are in favour of higher taxes. Listen to the Confederation of British Industry and serious businesses these days call for infrastructure investment, not cuts.  

‘All Hunt’s tax cuts will achieve is greater inequality, poorer public services, further alienating the majority of the electorate’

All Hunt’s tax cuts will achieve is greater inequality, poorer public services, further alienating the majority of the electorate. But then that’s what happens when a government is out-of-time, relying on the old playbook, and not understanding that everyone else has moved on.  

First up in the playbook is migrant-bashing. What was once a vote winner, is now diminished, research consistently shows a pronounced decline in anti-migrant hostility, even as overall numbers of immigrants have risen.  

This makes the home secretary, James Cleverley’s, order banning overseas care workers from bringing dependants to the UK, not so clever! Given the national shortage of care workers, and the fact that they are woefully underpaid, leaving their families miles away hardly makes for an enticing opportunity.  

Next-up is the return of Boris. Now, I will readily admit that electorally he could do no worse than Sunak, but, I suspect he’s no-longer box-office. He might have been the man in 2019, getting Brexit done, and levelling-up, but with Covid and partygate, the total failure to even begin levelling-up, and no electoral pact with Reform, he is unlikely to trouble the scorer.  

‘electorally he could do no worse than Sunak, but, I suspect he’s no-longer box-office’

We mustn’t forget the culture wars, especially Transphobia, which currently has taken over the lives of a few thousand very vocal online activists to a disturbing degree, making the lives of a tiny marginalised minority harder has not registered as a priority for most. Sunak’s spiteful transphobic gag in the presence of Brianna Ghey’s mother was seen by many as just cheap, malicious politics. 

Lastly, the old banker card, economic competence, has been trashed, to such an extent, that all the Tories are left with is bemoaning  how leftwing extremists, and the deep state have taken over the tools of government.  

As a result, they fail to understand the younger generation, who they can only see as outsider. Not only have they lost their vote now, they have lost it in the future, too. Millennials will be the first generation to defy the tendency to shift rightwards with age, not because they’ve been brainwashed, but because Tory economic experiments only offer them insecurity instead of freedom. 

‘Millennials will be the first generation to defy the tendency to shift rightwards with age’

Many in the far-right of party are blind to all of this, their threats to defect to Reform, serve only to hold the rest of the party hostage. In opposition, they will double down on this approach, spurred on by media outlets such as GB News. 

The world has changed and they have missed it, believing that doing the same with greater intensity will eventually yield the results they want.  

Of course, just how big the Tories lose will, in part, be decided by the vagaries of our first-past-the-post system, where the numbers in the polls do not correlate cleanly to seats because it depends where votes are located. Describing seat projections from general polling as a loose yardstick, Rob Ford, a professor of politics at the University of Manchester, said: Labour could get a lead of 15 points and not have a majority, a lead of 10 points and have a majority. It depends where those votes are. 

Any party relying on the farming communities support might be best advised to think again. Overall, farming is having something of an existential crisis over climate change and the use of pesticides, as governments seek to make the industry carbon neutral. 

In Europe, we have already seen Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, withdraw a bill to halve the use of chemical pesticides by 2030, and replace it with more consultations. 

Of course, the UK farmer has been whacked with a deserved additional stick, Brexit; which for more some mystifying reason they thought would serve them better than the EUs Common Agricultural Policy. 

Perhaps as a result of the above, or maybe just out of sheer desperation, this week Farmer Rishi became the first PM to address the National Farmers’ Union conference since 2008. Whereas the rural vote was taken for granted by the Tories, years of neglect and broken promises have seen that become a debate point. 

‘in my memory she was photographed pissed smoking a cigar, and is, or at least was, Loopy Liz’s best mate’

Last year, the charm offensive had been tasked to then environment secretary, Therese Coffey, a lady with a very limited claim to fame; in my memory she was photographed pissed smoking a cigar, and is, or at least was, Loopy Liz’s best mate. Possibly still suffering the effects of booze and tobacco, she turned up late and then proceeded to tell her audience to stop moaning and try doing a proper day’s work instead. She then exited almost as fast as she entered, avoiding questions because she had a train to catch.  

Rishi’s effort was little better, although it should be noted that he appeared, or at least pretended, to like farmers. He sympathised, empathised, and then offered a bribe, via a mysterious £220m that was supposed to solve all their problems. 

He told them, You can trust the Conservatives, which he followed-up be telling the audience, I have your back. This was apparently met with barely a polite smattering of applause, suggesting they were no more convinced than I am.   

There was then a brief question and answer session with Minette Batters, the outgoing NFU President, however, no press questions were allowed and only two, pre-vetted questions from members of the audience. 

The disastrous effect of Brexit on farming was brushed off, saying, It’s been a difficult period, which given that Rish had sold Brexit as the golden ticket for all farmers, seems a bit dismissive. 

The post-Brexit trade deals such as those with New Zealand, and the frozen foods bonanza with Sweden, have done little to help, but were quickly glossed over. 

Last, although not least, is the lack of compensation ed for allowing their fields to store floodwater. The Pathways to Success report was meant to be the answer, but has been quietly ditched suggesting that perhaps there were no pathways.  

We are simply sinking slowly. The PO Horizon debacle goes from bad to worse with the unseemly oh yes you did, on no I didn’t spat between the ex-post office chair, Henry Staunton, and the business secretary, Kemi Badenoch.  Which looks like it will run for a week, or two more. 

In fairness, Kemi hasn’t had a great week, she seems to think we are in trade talks with Canada, who seem to think that they broke down 4-weeks ago 

As a final flourish we have Trident, our nuclear deterrent.  

During a test launch, a Trident missile plopped into the Atlantic during a test launch attended by the British defence secretary, Grant Shapps. Although, I can’t help wondering whether it was a plot to rid us of Shapps!  

Apparently, test firings can be hit and miss (literally), a previous one is 2016 had to be aborted  when the missile, aimed for Africa (Rwanda, perhaps?) veered off course heading towards the US. 
That just about sums us up! 

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time 
‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find 
I’m not the man they think I am at home 


  1. University of Warwick and the London School of Economics and Political Science  

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said that Islamists are now in charge of Britain, after the Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, admitted he had been wrong to ignore protocol over security threats to MPs.

The embarrassing scenes in Parliament were in many way matched by Grant Shapps/Fox/Stockheath/Green’s Trident damp squib; why spend £17m on a delivery mechanism with a theoretical range of 4,000 miles when you could actually poke enemies inside the range of that beauty.

Evidently the last test was in 2016, which also failed; a ‘nuclear deterrent’ in the style of Ken Dodd’s tickling stick. Those close to Michelle Mone say that she is considering ceasing production.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad; so what was Philip thinking?:

A typically messy week in UK politics. At least Nero fiddled whilst Rome burnt, whereas Rishi and his crew are just mired in indifference and inability.

As a result this is somewhat of a mash-up that just highlights, once again, how out-of-touch the Tories have become. Unfortunately, from what we can and read, the only real difference they offer is in name only. Hopefully, they will surprise on the up-side!

The last 3-days our politicians attempted to vote for a ceasefire in Gaza has grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Conservatives, Labour, and the SNP all wanted their motion on the subject to be the one debated.

The Conservatives had the weakest proposition, which could be summed-up as a ceasefire if Israel wouldn’t mind too much, to the SNP who wanted an unconditional one. Stuck in the middle was Labour, who, because of internal dissent, had a hybrid along the lines of an unconditional ceasefire if no one actually minded!

Clearly, the Speaker dropped the ball, allowing Labour a way out by selecting their amendment and avoiding an internal revolt.

That aside, there are two points that should be asked.

Firstly, it was just pathetic politicking, my amendments better than yours schoolkids stuff. A ceasefire is needed and it doesn’t matter who’s. The whole sad mess descended into a game of politics, based around whose amendments were more important to the parties.

Secondly, what was the point? Neither side will listen to us. It was just making politicians feel better about themselves.

Lyrically, we start with something for the few that pay CGT, “The Money Will Roll Right In” by Nirvana, which was the final song in their legendary 1992 Reading set.

To finish, and especially for Grant Shapps, we have “Rocket Man” by Elton John. I know, I know, he isn’t my thing, but everyone has a favourite Elton John song. Enjoy!




Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

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