Sunday 25 January 2009

Who'd Want to be a Millionaire?

The dispute at the Morning Star is getting increasingly unseemly. The NUJ chapel have threatened a strike ballot over wages, claiming the paper's management has reneged on promises made in previous years. What sticks in its craw is the £500 grand that is likely to be invested in the 'Star. It seems the money is to be ring-fenced to improve content, hire more staff, and increase circulation. None of it will be set aside to raise journalist salaries, which needless to say, is well below the industry standard.

The consortium behind the £500,000 is anonymous, but it doesn't take a seasoned left-watcher to realise the bulk of the monies will be coming from
Anita Halpin, the NUJ and CPB stalwart. Readers will recall that sister Halpin was in receipt of £20.5 million after auctioning a painting her family were forced to give up by the Nazis. CPB comrades and 'Star supporters have had to wait until now before seeing a slice of her fortune (though the CPB did get a nine grand crumb last year).

Some comrades have been on their high horses, arguing that if she was any sort of communist she would make the monies available to the party she is a leading member of. This got me thinking. If any of us stumbled on £20 million cash in the attic, what would we do? Then I thought this might be a nice idea for a meme. So, what would you do if you came into a similarly-sized lump of dosh? I would

1) Make sure the
Socialist Party and CWI get a hefty sum, no strings attached (well, maybe with the proviso that Stoke gets a full-timer :P).

2) Give my family a nice slice too.

3) Finish my PhD, but would probably pursue a career as an activist and blogger. Or maybe a bookshop owner - I've always fancied the idea of opening a radical bookshop in the centre of Hanley.

4) Draft in a professional web designer to make this blog really sparkle.

5) Set up a fund that would help finance strikes and other progressive causes.

6) Put aside a bit of cash to help cover
Morning Star journalists' wage demands.

7) Buy a new house, new wardrobe, more bookcases, get a car - nothing too bourgeois!

Is this the correct way for a socialist to behave, or do my millionaire aspirations verge on betraying the class? What would you as a principled class fighter do? Let's hear it from
Madam Miaow, Jim Jay, Harpy Marx, Through the Scary Door, Splinty and The Nation of Duncan.

If you do have bourgeois hankerings you want to get off your chest, take advantage of anonymity and let them run free in the comments box.


Anonymous said...

I'd buy a small flat in London, large enough for myself, my missus and in case we had one or two kids. I've always wanted to work in a good secondhand bookshop too, so I might do that.

First I'd go back to university and get my own PhD - a part time course, nothing too strenuous so I could keep with the activism. Then, after setting aside enough for the small luxuries - say 1mil for the rest of my life and 1mil for the kids, I'd give it up to the Party.

Not the Labour Party; I'd quit that Party and pick one of the smaller groups. I think giving to the Morning Star would be a wonderful idea; we could do with a leftie rag of some investigative reach.

I don't know if I'd want strings attached; I think that would feel too much like buying the sort of influence activists like us spend a lifetime building up. I'd certainly want whatever monies I gave away to be used for a big blogging endeavour, pulling in as many of the British Left bloggers as possible - from Lib Con to blogspot.

Madam Miaow said...

I'd build a swimming pool in my swanky new residence and fill it with Creme de la Mer.

Being a classy sort of gal I'd have Baileys served with every meal including breakfast.

I'd take out a loan for £30 million and buy Damien Hirst's diamond skull and have it as my door-knocker.

Every day would be Disney World day, the happiest place on the planet. Suck on that, Michael Jackson and your feeble Never Never Land.

I'd buy a wardrobe of frocks that made me look 20 years younger (17) and five stone lighter (none of your biz). Or die in the attempt.

I'd give whatever was left to The Party ... that I plan to throw every night until the revolution cometh.

And that, my lovely comrades, would do a sight more good than handing over a single penny of it to some of the spivs, star-fuckers and rip-off merchants we know and love currently clogging up the left.

Anonymous said...

I would buy Iceland, and sack Kerry Katona, who seems to have badly fucked up their economy.

D.B. said...

Here's what I'd do.

1. re-locate myself to a half-decent pad in the centre of Middlesbrough Rock City not far from where I work. (It doesn't get more decadent than that.)

2. Start following Boro home AND away.

3. Buy the entire Sopranos/Buffy DVD collection.

4. Give a big chunk of it to my family.

5. Donate a big chunk of it to local charities.

6. Try to set up a half-decent local socialist newspaper.

7. Attend every date on every British Sea Power tour without fail.

8. Attempt to bribe each of the far-left "major players" into some kind of socialist alliance that they don't fuck up.

Beyond these largely shallow hankerings, I can't think of anything. What a piece of work.

Frank Partisan said...

Locally a Maoist has a big $$ lawsuit against the police, for beating him up at the Republican Convention. If the money would make them disappear, that would be great.

Andy said...

I'd buy myself a handful of Lords to do my bidding in the House and to occasionally humiliate. The rest I'd probably just waste.

Robert said...

Funny I'd leave the UK for a warmer place or in fact a place far away from New labour.

Adam Marks said...

"Let's hear it from... Through the Scary Door"

Oh dear...


"Or maybe a bookshop owner..."

If you want to blow all your money, maybe ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hookers and blow.

Anonymous said...

Boy do I feel silly. Drop the Kerry Katona thing with Iceland, she didn't bring the economy down, just failed to sell enough 'scampi rings' - which when you think about it is something of a challenge given the name (scampi ring, that is).

No, I would (attempt to) buy a Kibbutz for the AWL. Obviously they would have to sort out their own visas, which may be the fly in this particular ointment.

Ms Chief said...

I was day dreaming about this yesterday. I would buy a big house in the countryside maybe a bit run down with attached workers cottages then start a workers co-op that would grow veggies and fruit, make cakes, and pickles and I would be the head beekeeper.

I really want to have bees.

There would also be a part where women who need a couple of days or weeks respite for men's violence could come before they decide to give up their house, go into refuge, take out an order, report them to the police, give their partner a fright etc etc and they could join in with the digging, planting, baking, pickling and bee charming.

I would call the Workers Co-op the Independent Republic!

I would buy the SSP a building and new computers but put them in trust so no evil people could get them or any money.

And fund a campaign and research into Common Good.

I would then give the rest to my mum, who hopefully would come and live on the farm to boss us all about and make cakes.

Anonymous said...

"There would also be a part where women who need a couple of days or weeks respite for men's violence could come before they decide to give up their house, go into refuge, take out an order, report them to the police, give their partner a fright etc"

Why stop there? With 20 million it would be easy enough to have their violent spouses elminated entirely. You'd save money in the long run by investing in vigilante justice.

Dave Semple said...

Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. Let's really never ever put any of us in power.

ModernityBlog said...

but back to politics, the Star dispute was foreseeable and reading the exchanges on SU blog are depressing, not only for:

1. the political silliness (the Daily Worker's support of the Stalinist regimes in 1956 is a matter of public record, and misinformation given out at SU blog is ridiculous )

2. the heated nature of the arguments over basic details, etc

I mean, if Star journalists can't expect decent treatment from socialists, who can?

[I assume that Ms. Halpin invested that 20 million in high(ish) yield income bonds or similar, long before the credit crunch, which at a minimum would generate about 1 million pounds income every year. She'd hardly need to touch the capital! More than enough money for a few bonuses and decent wages at the Star.]

Anonymous said...

First, I'd finish the teaching I'm committed to doing this semester, obviously. (OK, I might bribe somebody to do my seminars.) Then I'd spend a week or two just enjoying not having to worry about money ever again. Then I'd buy up the hardback run of my book, thus cleverly forcing the publishers to print a paperback. A chunk to Red Pepper (on condition they never bother me again) and a chunk to RESPECT (ditto, and also on condition they get party democracy sorted out sharpish). Put by enough to live on for the rest of my life, just in case, and sink the rest into a research centre, hosted by my current employer, where I could do exactly the research I want to, for as long as I want to, with as much teaching as I want, on a lecturer's salary. Maybe even a *senior* lecturer's salary (think big!).

In short, I'd do exactly what I'm doing now, but with more control over what I do and without any worrying about money.

Anonymous said...

Ooo, decisions, decisions....

I'd buy a nice three bedroom flat, the two bedrooms for my bk collection/study (always wanted a study!!)

Erm, buy lots of swanky photographic stuff.

Give loadsa money to campaigning and grass roots actvism. Sod the trot groups as i may as well drop the money down a drain for all the good it does.

Erm...... do a course and educate myself....

Give up work (hurrah....rat race no more) and spend my time writing and taking nice pix, and sitting at my study looking outside at my nice garden.

Oh, I would have a conversatory and like Madam Miaow a swanky swimming pool (tho' filled with Russian Vodka!) and a gym...

Cripes, aren't we all consumerists... conditioning of capitialism