Why are multi-millionaires so desperate to run our government?

Letters to the editor: our readers share their views. Please send your letters to letters@independent.co.uk

Friday 03 February 2023 10:12 GMT
Surely their normal lifestyle eclipses the standards and restrictions of Downing Street?
Surely their normal lifestyle eclipses the standards and restrictions of Downing Street? (Getty)

Why are the wealthiest so keen to be in power? Why do people who are already multi-millionaires want to run our government?  What does it give them? Surely their normal lifestyle eclipses whatever standards of accommodation or service are available in Downing Street or Chequers. It simply draws them, and their tax affairs, into the public spotlight.

They live in a social environment completely out of touch with the vast majority of the UK population, they cannot possibly relate to the everyday challenges faced by most. If the motivation was to help other people, surely that could be done in a philanthropic way – by using a fraction of their vast wealth. I doubt they would even notice its absence.

Two things spring to mind that may be motivators:

  • Westminster is the most exclusive private members club in the world.  If you are an MP or a peer, entry is free and everything is subsidised by the taxpayer. Membership is a huge social status symbol for those who relish being on the A-list.
  • Senior levels of government provide privileged access to most other countries of the world. The appeal is networking on a grand scale – providing personal contacts and influence for individuals long after they leave their role in government. 

The only conclusion I can come to is that these individuals see this as a game; a step on their ladder; a step to increase their status and already-excessive wealth.

How do we remove them, and get a government which is focused on service to the public? A government able to relate to the people and the challenges they face?

Dave Bonner

Stretton on Dunsmore

Suank can only offer a bodged attempt at repair

It has been 100 days for Sunak and 13 years for his party. He is the continuity candidate – in his own party’s opinion a second best to Liz Truss – thrust upon the country by hasty expediency with not a semblance of the “democratic” Tory processes of selection and election.

He cannot be measured solely against the standards and the records of his most immediate predecessors. He is the author of the latest chapter in the Tory playbook. His self-identified tasks are remedial, and required as a result of earlier chapters written by the same philosophies.

On taking office he made five pledges: halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing the national debt, cutting NHS waiting lists, and “stopping the boats”. They seem to miss the irony that every single area was performing better before the Tories came to power.

In rounded terms inflation is now four times higher, national debt higher, NHS waiting lists three times higher, and illegal boat crossings are now at over 40,000 a year.

The problems Sunak is forced to address are a direct result of Tory policies, and the continuing role of Brexit in the disaster is apparent. All countries dealt with covid and its impacts, but most are fairing conspicuously better in its wake. When we factor in public sector unrest and the government’s ongoing corruption, it is apparent that the country needs a major overhaul – no more bodged attempts at repair. We need a new government.

David Nelmes


The fatal flaw when it comes to public sector pay

I have been wondering for a while now about our government’s constant refusal to negotiate fair wages for public sector workers. Maybe I’m missing something, but two of the arguments they use seem to be fatally flawed.

Firstly, giving wage increases in line with inflation will somehow increase the inflationary spiral.

The current level of inflation is not demand-driven. Prices have been hiked up, and people have had to live with it. Many have dealt with this by forgoing meals, heating, and maybe some luxury or other. But realistically, most people are not buying the basic things they and their families need.

Providing a decent wage increase to match the current inflation rate and claw back some of what people have lost over the last 13 years of austerity will not lead to higher inflation, but could help kick-start the economy again as consumer confidence grows.

Second, the government seems to have forgotten about taxes; maybe because a number of their cohort seem unsure about whether paying the right amount of tax applies to them or not. Most of the people currently on strike are law-abiding taxpayers who need a better wage to restore their standard of living. A good chunk of any pay rise will come back to the government’s own coffers in tax receipts.

Phil Rolandi


It’s time the Tories understood that people aren’t stupid

Gillian Keegan, on the media round, continued to peddle the argument that inflation is the cause of real-term pay cuts, recruitment, and retention failures in the public sector. She airily dismisses the idea that high inflation is a relatively recent problem, and that her party has been in power since 2010.

She quotes government spending for education in cash terms over this period and fails, as is usual with ministers, to relate spending to need. Her attempts to win the argument with simplistic logic about “beating inflation” to the benefit of all are really declarations that she expects public sector workers to bear the cost of her government’s flawed ideology and chronic economic failure. As Kier Starmer, Rachel Reeves, and others have pointed out: there are other, fairer, ways to raise money.

It is all very reminiscent of the tissue of simplistic lies and culture war-stoking rhetoric used to insult us during the Brexit referendum. Look where that got them. It is time to understand that people are not stupid, not inherently dishonest, and do care about fairness.

David Lowndes


The UK is reaping what it has sown

It is no coincidence that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report noting that the UK economy will perform worse than all other advanced and emerging economies was published on the three-year anniversary of the UK leaving the EU.

Our economy is set to contract by 0.6 per cent in 2023; worse than other economies, including sanction-hit Russia.

One contributory factor in this is of course Brexit. We have witnessed the damaging economic impact of leaving the EU, with the UK set to be 4 per cent poorer than if it had stayed in it, according to the Independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

In addition, the considerable contraction of the UK’s trade capacity signifies some serious long-term concerns about the UK’s future exporting and productivity.

The UK government itself even noted that the much-trumpeted Australian trade deal will raise economic output by less than 0.1 per cent a year by 2035, while Brexit has raised food prices by 6 per cent and drained the workforce.

Brexit is one of the greatest acts of economic self-harm by a nation, and the figures from the IMF are evidence of the UK reaping what it has sown.

Alex Orr


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