Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Angelina Jolie and the Mansion Tax

Oh noes, whatever are we to do? Angelina Jolie might be put off from moving Brad and the kids to London. Why? Because of the mansion tax. I'm sure some Tories are happy that Jolie has, as we used to say in Trot circles, objectively lined up with their opposition to the tax. I don't know how closely she follows British politics. I'm almost certain she's never cast her beadies across this here blog. And I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt too. She's reportedly eyed up a £25m pad, so stretching to £250/month or whatever it will be for ludicrously overpriced celebrity cribs will hardly break the bank.

Like Ed Miliband's set to with Myleene Klass, I doubt many people will feel a pang of sympathy for well-heeled celebs moaning about taxes. Especially when Klass herself blows a cool £80k a month on rent. If the Tories want to recruit celebs to their cause, they're more than welcome to do so.

But there is another assumption underpinning all this. London is now the global city par excellence. Remembering the grimy, down at heel capital I visited in the 1980s I still have a hard time believing how it's outstripping everywhere else in terms of diversity, glamour, and wealth. Arguably New York was nudged into second place a few years ago. London's play to be the capital of the world doesn't come without costs.

You don't need me to tell you about London house prices. While in Stoke you can get a home for a quid, the average cost in the big smoke is 514,000 times larger. The key driver is international finance looking for a safe port in stormy fiscal seas, but the numbers of super rich - whether celebrities or not - flocking to London are playing their part driving prices up as well. Working and middle class Londoners, the millions of unsung heroes that make the city the cultural dynamo it is are increasingly priced out of their homes (come to Stoke, we'll have you!). When the likes of Jolie are willing to splash out mega money on a Central London pad so she can be close to the action, they are gentrifying London, blandifying it. If you want a glimpse at London's future, look no further than Dubai: a glittering temple to neoliberalism filled with gaudy trinkets.

Supposedly, ordinary Londoners benefit from being the favoured haunt of the global elite. Trickle down innit. Except all that is cascading off these people is London's future doom. So if Jolie is put off by a paltry mansion tax, I hope her family settle elsewhere and take a few of her spivvy mates too.


Speedy said...

"I don't know how closely she follows British politics. I'm almost certain she's never cast her beadies across this here blog."

How little you know!

Chris said...

This certainly puts a whole different light on her 'humanitarian' work. Never trust a tax avoider who claims to be a philanthropist.

Are kids tax deductible? Is there a more sinister reason for her charitable work I am now beginning to wonder out loud?