Friday, 27 April 2012

Britons' got talent

With the impending publication of the Sunday Times annual "Rich List", it will be interesting to see the mix of people who achieve a listing.

No doubt it will be all the usual suspects - the retailers "gone large", the entertainers, the inheritors, the lottery winners, the surviving dot com entrepreneurs and those who gain their millions at tax-payers expense while attracting the interest of the researchers at Private Eye!

It is fair to say that most deserve the accolade. Yes, there may have been an element of some being in the right place at the right time, but most have maintained their position through hard work, with the added bonus of employing hundreds of thousands of British workers between them.

People like Sir James Dyson with his wonderful, great British inventions, Sir Philip Green, maybe not at times the most popular guy in the UK, but nevertheless one of those whose empire employs thousands, Emma Watson the Harry Potter actress who has brought joy to millions of filmgoers, Sir Paul McCartney whose musical legacy is virtually unique in modern-day popular music, Sir Elton John who gives away millions to charity, and so on.

Some, however, are not white as white as they would like us to believe. The "Britain's Got Talent" and "X-Factor" franchises, for example, have raked in millions and millions of pounds at the expense of the hapless faux-starstruck, who are more than happy to waste their money on puerile advertisement-break, premium-rate phone competitions and premium-rate phone voting. Only to produce a bunch of tax-dodgers who register their financial interests abroad.

Another group who are set to appear in the Rich List are the directors of outsourcing companies - services, employment, security etc - who continue to bleed the Government coffers dry, offering more often than not sub-standard, and much more expensive, alternatives to full-time staffing - again, reported with alarming regularity in Private Eye. Yet no one in Government has the gumption to tell them to, as Shakespeare wrote in Richard II, "Go, bind thou up yond dangling apricocks".

They, along with the privatised rail company chiefs, bankers, water companies (with their incalculable water leak record while at the same time declaring hosepipe bans) and many more besides, pay themselves fat bonuses while crying poverty to their paymasters, us, the suffering tax payer.

The old-fashioned 15 minutes of fame is now much harder to come by. Generally achieved through a lucky break, some maintain it by actually having talent - for example the now legendary Freddie Starr appearance of the Royal Variety all those years ago. Others, so intrinsically untalented, have to be maintained in the tabloid gossip columns where the public are continually reminded that it's Tracey Slapper "The Big Brother Contestant" in order for us to gain a foggy clue as to who Tracey Slapper actually is. They don't add any value to the fabric of society, bar easily-writable column inches for the gutter-press journalists and other hapless celebrity magazines.

That all having bee said, it will be interesting to see who is and who isn't included in this year's Rich List!

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