It's official: Tony Blair will leave office, having overseen the rise of the richest rich bastards that have ever raked it in on UK soil. The wealthiest 1,000 people in the UK have seen their wealth grow by 20% in the last year. Since these people are multi-millionaires and multi-billionaires (65 of the top 1,000 are billionaires), a growth at that rate involves the transfer of millions and billions of pounds to them. Unsurprisingly, many of these people (Mittal, Branson, the Hinduja brothers) have been close to New Labour.
The Telegraph reports today that: "The top one tenth of the top one per cent of earners now take home the same slice of total national income as they did in 1937. The gap between the super-high earners and the rest has widened to pre-war levels after decades of convergence." Much of the annual growth in the wealth of the very rich is accounted for by massive corporate bonuses for the top CEOs, particularly in the financial zone. At the same time there is a wave of sackings going on in that very same square mile: funny how that works.
This news emerges not long after the UN report suggesting that Britain was one of the worst places to grow up in, and shortly after it was revealed that 200,000 more children live in poverty this year. Only a few months ago, figures revealed that the cost of living is shooting up for ordinary people, while the government and the Bank of England have set out to restrain wage growth, despite the fact that most people's wages fall behind inflation growth.
Gordon Brown has decided to foreshadow his brief reign as Prime Minister with an attack on public sector pay, reneging on previous agreements with health workers. Strike action is very close, it seems. This Tuesday, Mayday, a quarter of a million civil servants will be on strike over job cuts, low pay and privatisation.