My recent post urging (meh – suggesting) my fellow Brits to vote Labour at the next election was a twisted piece. Twisted, because I am a contrary fellow, who appreciates both sides of every argument and would rather like to both have my cake and eat it. Twisted, because I am apt to change my mind at the drop of a hat at the best of times. Twisted, because I am in a constant state of political conflict. The latter is the most difficult issue and quite impossible to resolve.
I gave a longish list of principles that I’d like to see the country run by. But in truth, I could have summarised my position more concisely and more accurately. I think I may have done so in the comments section. I very simply believe that people in Britain shouldn’t go hungry, go without shelter, go without heating, go without medical treatment or be otherwise unfairly treated. Because, as a society, we should be better than that.
But how dull would a society be if we were all equal? We are not born equal. We’re all born different. That we should be born with equal opportunity is another thing entirely. But it’s natural that some rise to the top in their professions. It’s natural that some will earns riches beyond their wildest dreams. It’s natural that some sportsmen will earn medals. And it’s equally natural some will have to satisfy themselves with middling jobs, normal salaries and a pat on the back for taking part. Many would say it’s also natural that some people will be shunted to the sidelines, fail to make ends meet and be social misfits. If that is true, let’s try to be unnatural.
I love how Americans admire and applaud those who get to the top of the ladder, and instead of plotting to bring them down to earth, they plan on how they will get to join them there. Us Brits are rather reserved when it comes to wealth. No one likes a show off. It’s ok to be rich. Just don’t let anyone know about it. And besides, no amount of money will buy class. Because class most definitely still opens doors. Just make sure you’re wearing the right school tie.
I rather despair at the fact that the ladder is held a little too high from the ground for far too many people to even get on, but that’s another story. My admiration or contempt for a person isn’t determined by how rich he is, but by who he is. I’m a big fan of Bill Gates. I’d not shed a tear if the Kochs were to be come to a sticky, public end. I’d frankly be tempted to push Donald Trump in front of a train, given the opportunity.
I am, sad to say, one of those with a middling job, a very normal salary and the occasional pat on the back when I complete a 10km run. But I benefit from the wealth of others. Not in the ‘trickle down’ sense. Nor because I have any genuine belief in getting some of that for myself. No, I receive the benefit of wealth in a different way entirely. Every time I go to London and see the grand architecture, palaces and fabulous shops. Every time I go visit a beautiful old castle in the countryside. Every time I enjoy a trip to a museum. Or see a priceless work of art, commissioned at ridiculous cost.
My senses are brought to life and stimulated by other peoples wealth. And if I work hard enough, maybe, just maybe I can be part of that impossible dream. If only temporarily. Afternoon tea at the Ritz, perhaps. For a moment, I can pretend to be at home amongst my surroundings. Or I can walk around a car showroom and make my choice. Not any old showroom. If you’re going to dream, do it properly!
London is a fabulous place to be if you like cars. You won’t have to wait long in Westminster or Chelsea to see the latest Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls or Lamborghini. There are some choice showrooms on Park Lane. Paganis and McLarens can both be found there. But we strolled around some fine motors in a dealership on Berkeley Square. Mostly Bentleys.
But there was one shiny blue beast of Italian descent, now based in Germany. A Bugatti. I know I’ll never drive this Bugatti, let alone own it. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that I’ll ever get to ride in one, even as a humble passenger. I may even be chased away by an irate salesman if I dare get too close. But, nonetheless, I’m glad it exists. The world is a better place because of this Bugatti. My spirits are lifted every time I see such a creature. My socialist sentiments are put back in their box for another day. Viva dinero!