KENNY DALGLISH was a successful footballer back in the 70s and 80s, making a nice living. He now has a net worth of around £8 million. Had he been born later, he could have expected to make more than a nice living. Professional footballers can now make staggering sums of money. Manchester United’s finest, Wayne Rooney made over £110 million (or to put it in crude terms, around 14 Kennys).
George Clooney’s personal net worth is around 600 million dollars. No wonder he’s smug. That’s around five Wayne Rooneys. Harry and Meghan are trailing way behind, with only around a tenth of a Wayne. No wonder they’re bitter. Their pal, Oprah Winfrey has 30 Waynes. Elon Musk has over 200 thousand million dollars or around 2000 Waynes. The monarchy of the UK is around half an Elon.
A quick listen to BBC, or Nicola Sturgeon, or Labour and you will find the ‘rich’ being talked about without any mention of whether they are talking Kennys, Waynes or Elons. In fact, they seem to have decided this homogenous group may extend and include your GP, small business-owner or estate agent.
Calling people ‘rich’ is an easy way to invite some booing. The SNP, always generous with other people’s money, likes to rouse the rabble with talk of being against the ‘rich’. It’s only fair isn’t it? In Scotland, earning over £44k will land you in the higher tax bracket and If you reach £150k then you’ll join the lofty ranks of the ‘very rich’ where the top tax bracket is 46 per cent.
In England, the tax is £50k for second top rate of 40 per cent and 45 per cent for the £150k plus. When Liz Truss suggested reducing the 45 per cent rate to 40 per cent she learned what happens when you poke the national bear. Her idea was panned because it meant that the ‘rich’ were getting it easy and not paying their way. Liz Truss wisely stuck her head back in before the peasants arrived with their pitchforks.
Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that this move would have the ‘super-wealthy laughing all the way to the actual bank’. Her deputy John Swinney was less poetic but was clear that it was ‘tax cuts for the rich’. He also described it with SNP nuance as meaning ‘nothing’ for those who need it most.
Placing the working person in the same category as the actual super-wealthy does some damage. In Scotland the UK party in government is described as ‘detestable Tories ’ by the devolved administration. Working Scottish people find themselves as being stuck with the nasty rich label. In a country that still looks back in anger at the Thatcher government, at least some of that anti-rich sentiment is redirected at the new ‘wealthy’. Some working Scots are being newly packaged as the new enemy of the government. ‘Rich’ is carelessly flung – and has a clear message of you are shameful and the SNP are coming for you.
And yes, that’s the same SNP who chucked three Waynes at their Calmac buddies for a couple of boats that could and should have cost half-a-Wayne.
Photo of Wayne Rooney football sign courtesy of – dsc_4511_42558800280_o, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=112229978