REVOLUTIONS have been caused by less. Presidents who don’t pay tax; rich and spoilt Prime Ministers whining over how little money they have while living the life of Reilly; tycoons who crow about Brexit then cut and run for tax havens such as Monaco; royals with their snouts so deep in the public trough they’d shame pigs; captains of commerce treating workers as if they’re some inferior species, undeserving of respect and dignity.

And all this amid pandemic – while ordinary folk stare financial destruction in the face, and watch the future of our children go up in smoke.

May I suggest you listen to a song called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous by the band Good Charlotte as you read this article? It’ll make a fitting musical accompaniment while you ponder the audacity of those with money and power; their contempt for the rest of us.

As the lyrics say: “I’d like to see them spend a week/living life out on the street/I don’t think they would survive.”

Let’s start close to home – in Grangemouth. Sir Jim Ratcliffe is the UK’s fifth richest man. His personal wealth is estimated to have increased from around £9.5bn in January 2019 to £17.5bn today. He’s the petrochemical magnet who founded Ineos and still owns 60% of the company. Ratcliffe, though, has moved to Monaco – if you live there over half the year you pay no income or property tax.

Records held at Companies House show Ratcliffe recently submitted official paperwork changing his residence to Monaco. It’s interesting that the ‘date of change’ is listed as ‘24/03/2020’ – that’s the day after lockdown was declared on March 23.

Ratcliffe is a big Brexit supporter. In May, the energy company Petroineos – joint owned by Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group and the state-owned Chinese company PetroChina – asked the Scottish and UK governments for loans, reportedly up to £500 million. In 2018, there were reports that Ratcliffe wanted to buy Chelsea Football Club from Roman Abramovich.

To a simple guy like me it looks like Ratcliffe, a super-rich Brexiteer – whose company wanted money from the state – scuttled off to a tax haven the day after things got scary in Britain following lockdown with his pockets bulging with cash. That seems pretty appalling – not to say greedy. But maybe there’s a simple explanation? The shame is Ineos won’t comment on these “personal details” so we’ll just have to make our own minds up.

Some will say – well, Ratcliffe’s quite a guy, he grew up in a council house, after all, and made a hell of a success of himself, created a lot of jobs, too. Yes, sure, I hear that – but my problem is, I thought someone from the working class would have known better than to behave like this. I wonder what Ratcliffe made of headlines the other day warning that food prices are probably going to rocket under Brexit? I wonder if he thought of how some kids in working class homes on council estates today might go hungry when that happens?

Ratcliffe is in good company in Monaco, with the likes of Sir Philip Green of Topshop. Waving Britain goodbye seems a bit of a trend among Brexiteer tycoons too – James Dyson, the vacuum guy, relocated his company headquarters to Singapore last year.

Of course, when it comes to the rich taking ordinary folk for fools – there’s no show without Punch... so enter Donald Trump. We’ve finally found out that the President paid a whopping £587 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017. The New York Times discovered Trump paid no income tax in 10 of the previous 15 years.

Trump’s response? Denial and whining like a child. “The IRS [the Internal Revenue Service] does not treat me well … they treat me very badly.”

Speaking of whingeing leaders, there were staggering reports of Boris Johnson moaning about being poor. He’s suffering because of the pay-cut he took to become Prime Minister – which for folk on the average national wage must sound like language form another planet. Poor Johnson had to pay for a divorce, can’t afford a nanny – the horror, the horror – and has to stump up, out of his own pocket if you can believe it, to entertain his friends at Chequers rather than fobbing the bill off on taxpayers.

For some context, as the nation learned of the PM’s plight, reports emerged of his partner Carrie Symonds enjoying a luxury break with their child and three girlfriends in a £600-a-night hotel on the Italian lakes. They larked about in a £300-an-hour motor launch. The home Johnson owned with his ex-wife was sold for £3.35 million – making a profit of more than £1 million on the purchase price.

Let’s not forget the royals and their daily drain on British taxpayers. Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle cost us £245,000 for their last official tour in Africa. The privacy obsessed couple have just signed a deal reportedly worth £112million with Netflix, including a fly on the wall camera crew following them for three months. The rest of the royals are armpit deep in our tax pounds too. It cost £16,440 to charter a plane for Princess Anne to watch rugby in Rome – and £15,848 to fly Prince Andrew, yes him, to golf in Antrim.

Just as the royal expense account goes on ad nauseam, so too does the list of demeaning treatment meted out by powerful corporations to ordinary workers. Online fashion company Boohoo claimed it was shocked when, mid-pandemic, claims emerged of staff at a Leicester garment factory, which made clothes for the retailer, earning as little as £3.50 an hour, and working without protective masks.

Shaming chancers isn’t enough. Yet it’s all we seem to do. I sometimes wonder if maybe we don’t deserve to be treated like schmucks. What have we really done to change things, to stop the abuse of power? We’ve allowed this to happen. We take no real action. We vote in governments that do nothing to rein in the rich and powerful. We barely even kick up a fuss over their behaviour.

Schmucks … if the hat fits, then wear it, I suppose, as the old saying goes.

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