It’s one law for King Charles the billionaire and another for his struggling subjects | Aditya Chakrabortty

- Advertisement -

DOn that sultry afternoon when the Queen was said to be only sick, the BBC’s Clive Myrie was spending time. Only hours earlier, he noted, Liz Truss was making a “rather important statement” on how she would pay her heating bills this winter. Now everything was “insignificant”. It was, the usually excellent presenter later admitted, “a poor choice of word”.

- Advertisement -

Except it wasn’t. If anything, the nose was hurting. The televised person inadvertently but precisely predicted how the financial crisis that has beset millions of Britons in the coming days would be treated: without consequences. In Tuesday’s Daily Mail, it took up to page 28 to crop up. In the Sun of that Day, p. 20. The Times and The Telegraph totally yawned it.

The condition of our MPs is worse. Last Thursday, the new prime minister laid out a plan to limit energy costs. Tagged at £150bn, this is easily the largest financial intervention by any government since World War II – a huge sum that Tory tailenders are determined to spend as badly and unfairly as possible. To take an example: 4.5 million people on the pre-pay meter will get zero additional assistance from the truss. And second: Churches and community centers hosting food banks that will be lifelines for millions this winter will only help a few months.


Instead of scrutinizing these measures, lawmakers spent two long days paying tribute to the monarchy, such as from a former minister. Tracy Crouch: “Our six-year-old took my hand in his hand and said, ‘Don’t worry, Mother: the king will take care of us now.’ He is right. God save the king.” Thus you were served by your representatives – and now Parliament is closed for 10 days, and next month will be dominated by party conventions.

as youth, both Prime Minister And Keer starrer He was in favor of abolishing the monarchy. He not only has a direct knowledge of the spirit of the republic, but also of the wider ambivalence that often welcomes the royal family. Yet they have not even tried to represent this pluralism, which is one of the defining characteristics of any democracy. What we get instead is a grand display of state power with the Army, Navy and the BBC’s Nick Witchell.

- Advertisement -

During this period of enforced mourning everyone is told what to think, while millions worry about how to eat. The official mood is an ersatz mawkishness. Shut off all the clocks, cut off the telephone, instructed Auden. The Norwich City Council equivalent of today is shutting down bike racks, and Morrisons is turning off the beeping at their checkout—while the Center Parcs prepared to head out for the holidays on the day of the funeral. Would Her Majesty really mind if the kids went on a waterslide or, come on, Poundland closed this Monday? I guess she was not regular.

Away from such demonstrations, the island is full of noise – a sense of chaos is suspended. For an idea of ​​the catastrophe to come, talk to Paul Morrison. A policy consultant at the Methodist Church, he has been analyzing financial diaries recently filled out by visitors to food banks, loan clinics, and other church-based projects.

Right now, he finds, a little over half of the respondents — 56% — can move on without falling into debt. This may mean walking an hour to the job center instead of taking the bus; It can be thrown by even the smallest accident, but it can be done by luck.

Scroll ahead two weeks, though, and add in the high energy prices, and everything changes. Even with the new truss measures, only 2% of their group can survive financially. The remaining 98 per cent have been wiped out. Years of reporting have shown me that the very poor are the best budgeters in the country – better than any auditor. They can account for every pound in and every pound out. Come October 1, there will be no margin to cushion them.

And so they will sink deeper under any safety net. Meanwhile, others will float above the law of the country. It’s not widely reported, but King Charles wouldn’t have to pay a penny of inheritance tax on the vast wealth given to him by one of the world’s richest women. nor is he under any legal obligation to pay income-tax; He does so voluntarily. This has been the system since 1993. Decades ago the monarchy did not pay any tax.

When this came to light, public outcry, combined with the anger of ordinary taxpayers, prompted a halt to repairs to Windsor Castle, forcing the Queen and her eldest son to reconsider their affairs. When John Major announced the deal In the Commons, he defended the lack of an inheritance tax as being in service of “the overwhelming will of the people in this country”. Of course, the people of this country were never asked.

When Dennis Skinner asked about what part of his wealth—which, in today’s figures—includes The £16bn Crown Estate, the £650m Duchy of Lancaster, and estates in Balmoral and Sandringham – will be taxed, Major saw red. The mere fact that it was Skinner’s birthday, she replied, deterred him from “answering the cruel way in which I would have otherwise answered the strange question he had asked me”. The self-styled boy from Brixton has, inevitably, put himself at the forefront of this week’s National Growl.

Yet the former Bolsovar MP asked the right question of how accountable the constitutional monarchy was to his democracy – and the real answer is that despite what textbooks say, our parliamentary democracy is answerable to the royal family. As my colleagues Rob Evans and David Pegg have revealed over the years, more than 1,000 laws have been reviewed by the Queen or Charles before being put before Parliament.

Under the process of consent of the queen or king, ministers alert the monarch of any draft bill that may affect their personal wealth. Since his wealth spans everything from the nation’s wealth to housing, which the public is not even aware of, that confers an enormous amount of power over the process of drafting laws governing the rest of us. Is.

Prefer not to sell your homes, Charles? Then your tenants will just have to bear this feudalism of the 21st century. Madam, don’t want to run those pipelines through your land in Scotland? Then you’ll be exempt from the law covering everyone else – and won’t be told to anyone in Holyrood, unless they read it in the Guardian.

“Did you know that there is a duke in Scotland who can ride ninety miles without leaving his possessions?” A character in Victor Hugo’s 1869 novel asks laughing man, “Do you know that in addition to castle, forest, domain, manor, tenancy, freehold, prebendary, tithe, rent, confiscation and fine, Her Majesty has £700,000 sterling from the civil list, bringing in over a million sterling? “

“Yes,” comes the answer. “The heaven of the rich is made of the hell of the poor.”

One law for billionaire King Charles, another for you. Bail for the poorest in society, privileged exemption for the richest. A society with all the latest technology and sophistication, yet in the shadow of medieval feudalism. Except John of Gaunt could not count on the overwhelming support of the Daily Mail.

Aditya Chakraborty is a Guardian columnist

  • Do you have any opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a letter of up to 300 words to be considered for publication, email it to us at Gua[email protected]


- Advertisement -

Recent Articles

Related Stories