MANY sound reasons exist for Badger to throw his paws up in the air and walk away from the human race as a bad job.
For example, the irony is not lost on Badger that the Canadian-born daughter of a Chinese mother and Romanian father, economic migrants in the proper sense of the phrase, is a British heroine while the British-born sons and daughters of those who fled their homes in terror and who do the things that make everyday life a little more bearable are not.
It might almost be enough to make one conclude that immigration is a good thing only if it allows life’s losers to bask in the heat of others’ reflected glory.
However, immigration is a mixed blessing.
Take the example of someone born in New York.
An American citizen who comes from a Germano-Turkish background. When they’re aged five, their peripatetic family finally settles in the UK.
Despite the burden of being a stranger in a strange land, they became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Wealth and privilege are such burdens, readers. It sounds like the sort of struggle to the top that Boris Johnson is unwilling to inflict on other potential migrants who are unencumbered by money.
In turn, that leads to the question of how many future Conservative Prime Ministers Boris Johnson is prepared to let drown in the English Channel to ensure they avoid the sort of desperate life he has led.
You could conclude (correctly) that Badger is using bad taste to exaggerate for effect.
However, please remember that it’s tough to extract much more urine in good humour when the government takes all the p*ss.
To avoid doubt, this is what levelling up looks like:
You take £20 a week from people earning the minimum wage and simultaneously clobber them with a tax hike, leaving them about £1,200 worse off each year.
£100 a worse off each month.
Peanuts, if you’re an MP who even has their bog roll subsidised, but a massive cut in income otherwise.
But that’s okay; the Prime Minister is committed to ‘levelling up’.
And while Boris Johnson has substituted policy for windy rhetoric on many occasions, we can be confident he is as sincere about levelling up as he is about anything else.
Boris Johnson’s reputation for fidelity, trustworthiness, probity, and integrity goes without further remark from Badger.
Let’s look at levelling up in practice.
Under the current system, you pay 12% on your earnings between £9,568 and £50,270, and a further 2% (rising to 3.25% under the new plan) on any income above £50,270.
The more you earn, the less of a percentage of your wage you will spend on National Insurance.
On top of this, people who earn their incomes through other ways (like dividends or rent) do not pay National Insurance.
Therefore, we do not have to worry about the 115 MPs who own properties and earn more than £10,000 a year from renting them out.
They won’t have to dip into their pockets from that income to pay towards the cost of social care for those less fortunate than themselves.
7 out of the 25 MPs who attend Cabinet earn more than £10,000 each year from renting out properties. And that’s on top of the meagre crumbs of income they make from external business interests and Cabinet members’ salaries.
No National Insurance for Housing Minister Robert Jenrick on his rental income. And None for the PM on the £4250 a month he gets from renting out his Oxfordshire cottage, the poor, impoverished dab.
That’s what levelling up looks like.
Wealth, like poverty, is relative, but consider this, readers: in England, nobody will pay more than £86,000 towards the cost of the care over the whole of their lives.
In Christchurch in Dorset, widely regarded as God’s Waiting Room because of the high proportion of older people retired there, the average property price is £434,628.
In Tyne and Wear, the average property price is £189,242.
Let’s do some basic arithmetic. £86k is about a fifth of a property’s value in Christchurch and about 45% in Tyne and Wear.
That’s what levelling up looks like.
Depending on your luck in having had a job that paid well enough to buy a house in the 1970s, or getting your mitts on a cut-price Council House in the 1980s, how much you end up paying is as much an accident of geography and luck as wise investments and personal industry.
Badger will also give you an example from personal experience.
Many years ago, Badger moved to Exeter, a city of which it is fair to say what the Luftwaffe didn’t ruin, town planners did.
Urban hideousness apart, Badger was lucky enough to rent a former local authority property from the friend of an acquaintance.
They had bought the property under the Right to Buy scheme. Not that they’d ever lived in it. Their grandmother had. With money from Badger’s landlord, the old girl managed to buy her house for a song.
And, when dear old Gran carked it, grandson made out like gangbusters.
Grandson scooped the pool not through the sweat of his brow or anyone else’s but by playing the system for his own advantage.
In its day, the Right to Buy was levelling up.
It became no more than a way for the greedy to game the system for their own gain.
The more things change, the more things remain the same.
Look at the way this Government puts the windy phrasemaking of ‘levelling up’ into practice.
Money ends up in the same hands as it did before as the Government doles out sweeties to its friends, donors, supporters, and assorted grifters and spivs.
Everything that goes wrong will be the fault of shirkers, parasites, foreigners, and assorted leeches on the body politic.
Levelling up will keep the poorest poor, distracting them with little trinkets like drowning asylum seekers, casual racism, and coded bigotry, while those able to play the system stay well ahead of the game.
The lazy will say this is just like Nazism.
It’s more like the last days of the Weimar Republic.