‘They are the head of what’s left of the aristocracy and great landowners in their own right.’
I think that this phrase from the reply to a letter can be misleading. Many people are completely confused by the British class system and its history and this statement just feeds into the confusion. It implies that the ‘aristocracy’ are a separate class and that their economic interests might be separate from, or even antithetical, to the interests of the capitalist class. From the 17th century the aristocracy have merged with the capitalist class and their wealth all derives from surplus value whether it be rents, profits or interest on capital. The aristocracy only exists in terms of the historical anachronism of family inheritance and/or titles paid for or given to them by governments (in the Queen’s name) and they do not represent a different economic class (the only meaningful definition of the term ‘class’ to a Marxist).
‘Of course most aristocrats are now capitalists, even though some of them are still great landowners a part of whose income is ground-rent.’
‘Most aristocrats’? Again confusing since we know there are only two classes – working and capitalist. Are you saying that some live entirely off of ground rent and that this makes them a separate economic class called aristocrats?