Thursday, November 16, 2006

Income Redistribution

Let's see you challenge Shameless Mick's masculinity then

Taking from the rich and giving to the poor used to depend on Robin Hood. And you could avoid paying simply by avoiding Sherwood Forest. But that was before the whole gig got nationalised, and you were forced to pay up wherever you were or whatever you thought about it.

Two current stories show how it works:

Item 1: Mick Philpott (49) lives entirely on benefits with his wife (27), mistress (22), and his 15 children. He's known as "shameless Mick" and, having refused the snip, has just managed to get both women pregnant at the same time (well, strictly, we don't know it was at exactly the same time). Now he's demanding a bigger council house. As he says:

"What man wouldn't want two women? Some people call me a scrounger, but I'm not. I'm just a good father."

You can say that again Mick - I reckon you'll soon be in the Guinness Book of Records.

Mick and his family are costing us £500 pw in cash benefits (equals £25 grand pa), plus the subsidised house (say £10 grand pa), plus free education for 15 kids (say £75 grand pa), plus Gawd knows what free healthcare (say £10 grand pa). The burden on the rest of us is well north of £100 grand pa.

Item 2: Richard Fitzmaurice, the 75 year-old ex-soldier jailed for refusing to pay his Council Tax, was released after yet another "mysterious benefactor" (presumably another Labour cashpoint peer) paid his £1300 debt. And that was despite his statement that he'd gone to jail fully equipped for a long stay, with his shaving kit and a spare pair of underpants.

Mr F's wife was reportedly not best pleased by his stand, but he had a point. Average Council Tax in England has doubled since Labour came to power (up 96.3% since 1996-97), whereas the basic state pension has increased by just 38% (yes, that's right- see here). It's an enormous gap that has hit all but the very poorest pensioners hard.

Wonder how Robin would have dealt with such outrages?

PS The state broadcaster's ludicrous pc Robin Hood series has rightly drawn derision from all sides (see Paulinus' take). I particularly like the sound of Muslim gang member Djaq (pic above), of whom the BBC puff says "Djaq's presence sometimes proves a threat to the gang's masculinity, as the outlaws frequently try to prove that they have skills she cannot match - usually without success. The fact is, Djaq is an incredible woman, and an even more incredible man."

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