Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Santa & the City (Xmas Special)

[Last December, Sir Reginald Pratt, one of the most celebrated entrepreneurs and philanthropists in the world, and widely known to his friends in the City as ‘Father Christmas’, kindly agreed to be interviewed by ‘Question the Powerful’ (An Interview with 'Father Christmas'). A year on, he’s here again to share with us his thoughts for Christmas.]

Q: Sir Reginald, how’s ‘Father Christmas’ doing in the City? It’s been a tough year.

R: On the contrary, it’s been a splendid year. I’ve just given my top team their biggest ever bonus. So everyone’s happy with Santa.

Q: But many people in the country have lost their job or had to take a pay cut. How do you feel about that?

R: Well, you hear people moaning about crisis this, crisis that, the world being turned upside down and all that nonsense. But the truth is, the world’s finally being turned right side up again. Life was sound for centuries with those of us at the top lording it over the rest. Then after the Second World War we had all that socialist and liberal welfare claptrap in Britain and America too. The gap between us and the great unwashed started to narrow. They began to have aspirations, about owning their homes, getting proper medical care, going to universities, eating in restaurants, even having holidays.

Q: You think that was a bad thing?

R: Of course! Before long, they were edging towards our standard of living, well, getting close to the level of our servants. So it couldn’t go on. And thank God, from the 1980s on, good old Maggie and Ronnie did us proud and changed the rules in every possible way. With their help we could at last return to our grand old traditions, siphoning off more for ourselves and screwing the rest with complete abandonment.

Q: That would be when the US and the UK started to lead the developed world in widening income inequalities?

R: I like your use of the word, ‘lead’, because that’s what we and our Anglo-Saxon cousins have been doing, leading the world back to sanity. As my grandfather used to say, “Those who have are meant to have; those who have not are meant to rot.”

Q: But when so many people are finding their real incomes cut while a few at the top get even more, that’s going to spell trouble, isn’t it?

R: Trouble indeed, because having had a tiny taste of the good life, the riff-raff wants to keep up with the Pratts and the Diamonds, and since they’re not clever enough to earn as much as we, they have to resort to borrowing. Now since we make even more money out of lending to these dimwits, we don’t mind. But ultimately, since their pay’s been cut to a pittance, the blighters can’t pay us back. That’s how we’ve ended up with this ludicrous debt problem. And given that we in the City can never be out of pocket, someone has to pick up the tab, and that would be the government.

Q: Are you surprised the government hasn’t tried to tax the top 1% more to help out the rest?

R: Not the slightest. The likes of Little Dave and Gideon know who their real friends are. Besides, my accountant can always find tax loopholes. I’d rather pay him the money than give it to the government to help degenerates. It’s a matter of principle. My accountant’s rich, I don’t mind giving him a handout.

Q: What about the 99% who are not wealthy like you?

R: Just blame them for anything you can think of. Call them benefit cheats, lazy public sector workers, Europhiles, or illegal immigrants. The media love it. After all, we own most of the media. Rupert’s been in a spot of trouble this year, but nothing money can’t fix.

Q: Don’t you think but for the grace of God you could be not so well-off yourself?

R: Spot on. It’s absolutely the grace of God that determines who will born into the right family, bet on the right hedge fund, or pick the right Lottery number. It alone decides who amongst the poor will be crucified, whose dreams for their children will be buried, so that bonus levels for the chosen ones can rise again and soar heaven high. We should accept it meekly. I do, and I’ve inherited my share of the earth. Merry Christmas!


Roachesman said...

Merry Christmas Henry. You paint an exquisite picture of the selfish elite that run this and probably all other countries around the World. Perhaps Michael Sandel's and your own philosophy should be taught in schools to emphasise how pure luck not hard work counts most in life.

Henry Benedict Tam said...

Merry Christmas to you too. If Boethius were alive today, he'd probably write 'The Consolation of Satire'. We can't dislodge the plutocracy, so we laugh at them. But if we can get enough people to laugh at them, maybe we can undermine them enough for the change we need. And they are very, very laughable.