Advanced search

Boris Johnson says Super Rich are an ‘Oppressed Minority’ worthy of our ‘Humble Thanks’ – Time for a Reality Check

(84 Posts)
ttosca Mon 18-Nov-13 19:20:41

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, today used his platform of a column in the Daily Telegraph newspaper to argue that the super-rich are a ‘put upon minority’ like homeless people or the travelling community. He argues that they should be protected from ‘bullying’ by the public, who should instead be offering their ‘humble and hearty thanks’ for their ‘prodigious’ contributions to our public finances.

The reality is, these super rich individuals are paying an ever smaller share, while receiving substantial tax payer funded subsidies, and the protection of the publicly funded police from an increasingly outraged public.

The Cost of the Human Welfare State

The UK Government spend a total of £694.89bn a year, to do everything. The amount the government spend on benefits is £159bn, with £72bn (45%) of that going on pensions. So, we have £85bn (12% of spending) a year actually going on working age benefits. The UK’s current unemployment rate stands at 7.8%. It makes sense that we spend this proportionate amount of shielding citizens from poverty induced by involuntary unemployment, and support sick and disabled people who cannot work or who bear additional financial costs to work.


columngollum Mon 03-Mar-14 09:44:44

I don't know if it's worth a new thread. But his latest outpouring is that children at risk of radicalisation should be taken into care.

Surely the obvious thing to do with anyone at risk of radicalisation is to talk to them (which many people already are doing.) You can legislate against what people do in a democracy. But you can't legislate against what people think. All you can do is reason with them. And if they break the law you can put them on trial.

yorkshirenipper Fri 13-Dec-13 14:55:30

Boris goes for PUBLICITY and forgets about commonsense.

Juliet123456 Mon 09-Dec-13 13:57:54

It certainly is true that if you pay a lot of tax in the UK (as I do although I am certainly not in the super rich league) and create jobs you don't get much thanks. He was just trying to encourage people to remember that 30% of the tax is paid by 1% of tax payers.

petteacher Wed 04-Dec-13 13:35:15

Boris was being his daft/mystical self with a few jokes thrown in

ttosca Sat 30-Nov-13 13:49:24

And now for something completely different:

Stupid poor people are stupid and poor, says massive blonde-haired child

TheLeftovermonster Thu 28-Nov-13 23:17:16

Hmm, looks like he is suckuing up to some of the filthy rich, who will then back his political ambitions. In exchange for something.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 22:34:26

Boris's "unpleasant elitism" will be discussed on Newsnight now. I will have to Sky Plus it, because I will be watching Question Time instead.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 22:31:28

I am with you completely. We need different models and need to scrap the 'one size fits all'. Notmany of us would choose to wear a 'onesie', so why should schools be 'one size fits all', which is why I am not in favour of a comprehensive only model, and ys since teh school laving age has increased, then why not intake at 16 too.

' I admire those who have risked their own money and started businesses, employing lots of people. However, asking me to admire those who have done nothing but inherit from mummy and daddy - save me!'

Exactly, I admire meritocracy and people who have achieved and created something against the odds. I admire exceptional people, which is why I admire Thatcher, but I don't admire people who were born with a silver spoon n their mouths and then look down on others less privileged than themselves.

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 21:49:13

The only problem with the model we both prefer is that it will need a step back from the DfE's current 'one size fits all' attitude. This started with the National Curriculum and has only got worse since, with the deterioration accelerating under Michael Gove, the man who is on the record as saying 'all schools should be above average'.

We have to start acknowledging that children learn at different rates and in different ways, which is why we need selection at different ages - I'd argue for a third intake at 16 for the late developers. That means trusting not only parents, but schools and teachers too, and the DfE isn't doing that at all at the moment. My DD2's school is an example - they were given 'Requires Improvement' at their last OFSTED, but the inspector said that had the team come on a different day, they would have got Good and been borderline Outstanding. That tells me the inspection regime is completely dysfunctional. The school is a good school - a great school, with amazing pastoral care, teaching which manages to be both inspiring and creative and an ethos of teaching to the child's best, not to national targets. However, that doesn't fit the SATs factory mould and so is not properly appreciated, except by parents and children.

Until we have an education system that serves all children and delivers each child's maximum potential, we will never get anywhere.

And getting back to topic - if Boris thinks I'm going to humbly thank the super rich for anything, he has another think coming. I admire those who have risked their own money and started businesses, employing lots of people. However, asking me to admire those who have done nothing but inherit from mummy and daddy - save me!

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 21:30:20

Yes you are right, Gove did a good thing to get rid of early sitting of GCSEs. What counts is breadth and depth of education, not just getting paper certificates early to benefit school targets.

And you are right that comprehensives can also be very good schools. I am in favour of different models - selective schools at 11, alongside comprehensives and selective schools at 14 and vocational schools at 14 etc. I believe in choice and letting parents choose which option they want.

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 21:02:19

We'll have to agree to disagree on grammar schools, claig. IMO they aren't the answer - because there are only a tiny number of them in a tiny area, and it will take years if not decades to 1) create new ones in all areas and 2) find ways of ensuring that their intake is fair. Because however you spin it, currently it isn't. Grammar school populations are never, ever representative of the school's catchment - middle class affluent children are disproportionately represented, and I refuse to believe that affluence = high ability. Far too many children are missing out.

I would like to see some form of academic selection, perhaps implemented within rather than between schools. My DD1 goes to our local comprehensive - no grammars where we are, just some rather mediocre independents. The school caters for her and her peers very well. She's in Yr8, doing Yr 10-11 work as a matter of course in the academic subjects. She won't be sitting GCSEs early - Michael Gove has put paid to that anyway and in any case I disagree with early exam entrance unless there is a real prospect of that young child reaching their full GCSE potential so early. Instead the school focuses on teaching them in depth and breadth and preparing them so that the transition to A-level will be smooth because they have already set out on that path, and on getting the best out of them. Her peer group, from a very ordinary and not homogeneous affluent background, are working towards Oxbridge/RG universities. High ambitions, high standards, working towards excellence, all proving that the comprehensive system can deliver if the will is there. The school is an academy, but without the draconian rules on discipline and uniform we see so much of in the press, and it just works.

ttosca I don't think claig is entirely inconsistent although I disagree with her on many things, and I don't think that comment of yours adds anything to the debate at all...

ttosca Thu 28-Nov-13 20:45:15

You're just a big bundle of confusion, contradiction, and incoherence, arentcha claig? Yes you are! Oh yes you are!

gazzalw Thu 28-Nov-13 20:45:03

hmm Only someone who went to Eton could even utter such a crass statement!

ttosca Thu 28-Nov-13 20:43:47

Yeah, Thatcherism worked out really well for the working class, didn't it?

That's why there are so many working-class Thatcher fans.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 16:01:29

And when all these great children eventually make it to the heights of our society and when they are in Parliament and in the Cabinet and in the House of Lords, I want them to remember where they came from and who they are. I want them not to forget the others just like them and I don't want them to pull the ladder up and scrap the grammars that gave them their chance, just as the grammars gave Thatcher and Wilson and countless others their chance.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 15:50:45

I am for grammar schools and for Eton and for Oxford. They are all great instiutions of our country and are part of our heritage and our way of doing things which has been historically dfferent to that of Germany's way of doing things.

But I want a society based on meritocracy not progressive equality and not on wealth and privilege. I want a Thatcherite society of enterprise and aspiration and one where Thatcher never ever cut a great company like Remploy unlike Gordon Brown and the progressives who laid workers off from that great company.

I don't believe the arguments of progressives like Gordon Brown who claim that grammar schools only help middle class children. There are lots of working class parents who encourage their children to work and study hard, and some of these parents may work on minimum wage or be recent immigrants, but they know that education is the way for their clever children to do better than them and many of them want their children to enter grammar schools because they believe that they are better than the local comprehensives.

I believe in freedom and am against any progressive politician introducing biometic ID cards or DNA databases or of telling parents what school their children should go to. I believe in freedom and choice. And just because not every working class child can go to a grammar, or just because not all working class children are as bright as some others, that doesn't mean that those who are bright enough shoud not have the opportunity to go to grammars and eventually maybe displace from Oxford or Cambridge or Eton or the Cabinet, the arrogant privileged fools who thiink that "some people are just too stupid to get on in life".

I have no envy, and I do not envy those who are where they are by meritocracy, but I have anger against injustice and arrogant fools who believe they are better than others by dint of their privilege or wealth.

There are thousands of children like the following one in our country and I want them to give Boris Johnson and the arrogant elite a run for their money and I want them to earn "loads of money" and prosper and live well, as they wish in freedom and with real choice.

"A YOUNG maths prodigy, raised above a Chinese takeaway by his doting parents, has won a scholarship to Eton College.

James Yuen, 12, astonished his parents when he announced he was heading for the prestigious college whose pupils generally come from elite public schools. The bright youngster secured his place after bagging an A grade in GCSE maths at the age of ten and then followed that up with an A at A-Level last year. After attending an open day and sitting gruelling entrance exams he has been granted a New Foundation scholarship to the famous college in Windsor, Berkshire."

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 15:28:52

On education I think we need a radical change of tack - I am leaning towards doing what the Germans do, only doing it better. That means investing in excellent vocational education alongside excellent academic education, and valuing both equally (which is what the Germans aren't managing to do because Realschule is still looked down on).

The grammar school model is basically dead because affluent middle class parents who can afford to tutor their children from the word go will end up displacing brighter children from less affluent families. It isn't just about drilling for the tests, it's also about cultural capital. I don't think that system can be rescued, it needs radical replacement with something that genuinely offers opportunity to the best.

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 15:25:54

It's funny how many things we agree on despite coming at them from radically different perspectives.

The idea that Russell Brand is a progressive sticks in my craw though, after the crap he put Andrew Sachs through - he's a loudmouthed obnoxious yob who's only interested in getting media coverage and he isn't even funny...

I detest the Daily Mail because of what they did in smearing Ed Miliband's father, because of the foul things they always print about working women being bad parents (but SAHM are bad too because they sponge off their husbands, we can't win!) and the gay community and because of the way one of their columnists smeared Jack Monroe - what an article that was, one lie strung after another. However, I have noticed a slight softening in their tone lately, which is interesting.

So far the only paper I find which is mostly neutral is the Independent - the rest are all very strongly on one or the other side of the political divide.

soul2000 Thu 28-Nov-13 15:16:44

I am not even sure that the likes of Johnson/Cameron really know what grammar schools are. I think all they know is that some of their potential voters like them . Cameron on the other hand is frightened that they can be seen as being toxic by the progressives. Cameron has very little experience of state education and what he does know via (Like Blair sending his kids to state schools) is the same that the Royal Family has in using the N.HS . This of course is the very best that both can offer and the experiences bear little in common with the vast majorities experiences.

Ian Duncan Smith just opens his mouth without thinking, therefore he comes up with ideas that sound great but in reality cant or dont work.

Michael Gove is a Zealot who genuinely thinks he is saving education from the teachers,who he believes are part of some stalinist plot. He really believes he is the aire to the "MAD MONK".... Sir Keith Joseph.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 15:09:53

I am also left wing on some issues. I voted for the frauds in 1997 when I voted for Blair.

I do use progressive pejoratively to portray the political correctness of the ruling elite and its dominant media in the BBC and elsewhere who use the term "progressive" to cover themselves with a halo and implicitly paint their opponents as "regressive". I use it pejoratively to highlight that those who call themselves "progressives" on our TV screens are not as worthy as they claim and that their opponents are not as unworthy as they imply, that those in glass houses should not throw stones.

I believe in balance. When the Tories went too far in 1997, I voted Labour. When the philosophy of the progressive is dominant everywhere, then I support Anne Widdecombe and am for "cutting the green crap".

When a progressive like Russell Brand says "I am against the Daily Mail", then I am against the progressive, because I am not for Boris Johnson or for the Tories, but I most certainly am for the Daily Mail.

And when balance is lost and if Boris Johnson goes too far, then I will become a progressive too and may one day vote Labour again, just as I did in 1997.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 14:56:58

'I agree that enforced equality is wrong, but I do feel that inequality has gone much, much too far - both in the world as a whole and in the UK in particular. We're now living in a country where you can be born highly intelligent in a poor working household - or in a completely dysfunctional family - and there are no mechanisms to get you out of that.'

I agree with you. We must provide greater opportunity to the disadvantaged majority of our population. I agree with Johnson about reintroducing grammar schools, I just don't like his crass way of arguing for it.

'we need a system where there are opportunities for everyone to better themselves. That way people from all walks of life will have an incentive to take education and work seriously - because there is something in it for them.'


'There will always be an elite'
Yes, but the elite should be based on meritocracy, not on privilege and wealth. We need more opportunity and the return of grammars so that our brightest minds from the working and middle classes can displace an out-of-touch, crass, insensitive elite who are only where they are due to privilege and money.

'I don't want to climb the ladder where I work, because it will take me away from those aspects of my job that I love most - interacting with people, making things work well for others, teaching and inspiring confidence and furthering research which will improve people's lives.'

Exactly, it is about making a difference to other people's lives and about service.

'"Some people are just too stupid to get on in life"
Who is this arrogant, privileged, crass fool talking about?

Is he talking about workers who only earn minimum wage and who work more hours than he does or people who are unemployed because bankers have forced businesses to ruin and led to the shutdown of businesses and the loss of jobs. I have worked for minimum wage, has he ever done so? Who does he think he is compared to the millions of people who work hard for minimum wage? Does he think he is better than them, cleverer than them? His arguments are crass. I don't care if he went to Eton and Oxford, he is still a fool.

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 14:50:34

claig how you define 'a progressive'? I've debated things with you frequently and you always seem to use it as a pejorative, but somehow I never feel that the term as you use it applies to me.

Which is odd, because I consider myself pretty progressive. I'm left wing, I am in favour of marriage equality and against discrimination on grounds of gender, race, sexual orientation and so on. I believe that those of us who have done well out of life should not begrudge supporting those who are not so fortunate - I feel we need welfare as a safety net, we need to invest in education and employment opportunities for people who haven't had them, we need to help people help themselves without blaming the poor for being poor and being punitive about it like Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove. I have no problem with being tough on people who really can't be bothered to make their own living, but I don't believe that untrammelled capitalism will work (nor untrammelled communism, for that matter).

So what is a 'progressive' to you, and am I one?

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 14:43:46

"Mr Johnson said: ‘I am afraid that violent economic centrifuge is operating on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw ability, if not spiritual worth."

The prentiousness of this statement by the joker Johnson almost equals the prentiousness of statements made by the progressive comedian, Russell Brand.

The same use of big words to hide empty ideas.

pointyfangs Thu 28-Nov-13 14:40:20

claig I agree that enforced equality is wrong, but I do feel that inequality has gone much, much too far - both in the world as a whole and in the UK in particular. We're now living in a country where you can be born highly intelligent in a poor working household - or in a completely dysfunctional family - and there are no mechanisms to get you out of that.

We don't need a spirit of envy, we need a system where there are opportunities for everyone to better themselves. That way people from all walks of life will have an incentive to take education and work seriously - because there is something in it for them. There isn't a simple way of achieving this - Thatcher's way didn't, and nor did Labour's method of thowing money at the problem.

I think part of the problem is the legacy of the class system, coupled with a strange innate disregard for the virtues of education that is peculiarly British. What's needed is a change of culture alongside a change of system, which is easier said than done.

There will always be an elite - but 'the elite' should consist of people who have used their talents well, reached the top and are now using their talents and position for the greater good, not for their own advancement.

Equally it should be accepted that not everyone wants to be a high flyer and that we should all be valued for the hard work we do. I don't want to climb the ladder where I work, because it will take me away from those aspects of my job that I love most - interacting with people, making things work well for others, teaching and inspiring confidence and furthering research which will improve people's lives. Climbing higher would mean endless meetings and planning and then handing the meat of the real work over to other - no, thanks.

claig Thu 28-Nov-13 14:15:42

The sad thing is that enforced progressive equality is wrong and it is about dumbing down and is the enemy of aspiration, but Boris can't argue it, he can't reason it. I think he studied classics, but he obviously didn't understand the great classical philosophers. He is out of his depth.

He probably thinks he has a high IQ, but his arguments ad reasoning are shallow which is why his comments and jokes are crass and offensive.

The Tories should only use him as the warm-up act, the jester, the clown.
They should leave the thinking to others.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now