Property values divide the nation

Last week Labour leaderEd Miliband spent over an hour telling us two things: that he wants us to be ‘one nation’ and that he went to comprehensive school.

I quite like the ‘one nation’ thing building, as it does, on our Olympic success and burying, as it should, Labour’s bigoted tribal heritage.

But isn’t there a contradiction in Miliband’s exposition of ‘one nation’ and, in the same speech, his need to remind us of his comprehensive schooling? If we are to be ‘one nation’ why drive an educational wedge between us?

And haven’t these people read what I told them last week?! It isn’t where you went to school but how much money you will inherit from mummy and daddy that will drive us apart.

To that end, wasn’t that an extraordinary story about the TV presenter Nick Owen selling the house he had bought for £950,000 in the 1990s for £35million a couple of weeks ago?

I wonder if the implications of this have been fully understood.

I have met people who are going to inherit millions of pounds worth of property when their parents die. An acquaintance of mine has elderly father who owns a house in Notting Hill Gate. He bought it in the 1960s for £20,000 and it is now worth £3million. Recently, the old man was heard to say: ‘I wish I had bought two!’

The life that people who are going to inherit these sums lead is very different to those who are not. They have very different priorities. They don’t, for example, have to worry about a pension pot. They will inherit the pot.

As revealed last week when discussing Andrew Mitchell, they behave very differently when faced with a problem or a difficult issue. They don’t discuss things or think things through. They are used to getting what they want – and, when they don’t, very different people emerge. They throw all manner of childish hissy-fits and tantrums.

Another trait I have observed in these people is they cannot judge other people. They haven’t had to which means that when they do have to, they can’t. I discussed this in my earlier post ‘The Curse of Cameron‘.

I am all for ‘one nation’, from whichever Oxbridge career politician preaches it to me, but is it going to happen?

We live in a society where, potentially, a totally useless person who has achieved nothing at all in their life, not worked hard or succeeded in anything, done not a jot for their fellow man, and may even have lived it on benefits gets £3million because daddy bought a house in the 1960s.

Isn’t this more divisive than 5% tax here or there that a millionaire has gone out and earned?

It certainly doesn’t seem very ‘one nation’ to me.

About Hugh Salmon

Business leader. Adman. Writer.
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