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TV Review - Winner Takes It All

Panorama on 7 November dealt with the UK super-rich, under the label of a ‘winner-take-all’ culture. The wealthiest one percent of the population receive 13 percent of the national income (compared to 6 percent in the days before Thatcher) and own almost a quarter of the total personal wealth. They can easily afford to spend upwards of £500 on a haircut, and £2 million on a ‘starter home’. The gap between these millionaires and the rest of the population is getting ever greater:  most workers earn less than £19,000 a year, and personal debt for ordinary people has shown a big rise.
   
The programme had a few dissenting voices, who thought that such vast fortunes were objectionable on various grounds. Not Tony Blair, though, who was seen in an interview saying that there was nothing wrong with people receiving such sums and that he was opposed to a cap on anyone’s income. Mostly, though, it was a celebration of this top one percent, who supposedly create wealth and advance the state of technology. “Everyone has benefited,” said one property millionaire. One individual was said to be ‘building a boat’ – actually a luxury yacht to be rented out to other parasites for £200,000 a week – but of course he was paying workers to do the actual building, and he was just going to rake in the profits.
   
Much was also made of the fact that many of the millionaires had started out as ordinary workers and had made their own way into the elite, originally through their own efforts. But there was no mention of the fact that the vast majority of workers toil throughout their lives for little reward. And it really does not matter if a capitalist came from humble circumstances, for they live off surplus value created by exploited workers. But it’s hardly surprising that Panorama failed to point this out.

PB