Socialist Worker
Socialist Worker

So who would live in a house like this? Only the super-rich



A mansion in London’s posh Knightsbridge has gone on sale for £300 million—making it the most expensive house sale in British history.

The house, which faces Hyde Park, has 45 bedrooms over seven floors and a fingerprint entry system. The interior decor features millions of pounds worth of gold leaf.

The windows are bulletproof, with “security screens” to stop anyone seeing in. And the house has more floor space than a football pitch. Not to mention that it boasts not one swimming pool, but four.

This monster mansion’s asking price is 1,800 times the average house price, and more than double the previous record house sale of £140 million.

It’s yet another reminder that while ordinary people are made to suffer austerity, the super-rich have got more cash than ever.

Prices in the top 5 percent of the housing market have soared by 49 percent over the last three years, because wealthy buyers have so much cash to splash.

Meanwhile the number of homeless people who have been put in B&B accommodation by councils has risen by 44 percent to 50,000. They don’t have 45 bedrooms—in fact, whole families can find themselves sharing one.

Oliver Hooper of posh estate agents Huntly Hooper said, “There will be a number of potential buyers for this despite the price tag.” Roarie Scarisbrick of Property Vision called it “the ultimate trophy house”.

It was previously owned by Saudi Arabian crown prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz—though technically its “owner” was an offshore firm registered in the Dutch Antilles. So at least the buyer won’t have to shell out too much in tax.


Red Leicester

Last week’s Socialist Worker dug out a shameful ad which Leicester council took out in Ugandan newspapers in 1972 to tell expelled Asians not to come to Britain.

Now the council has taken out another ad, this time in East African magazine Awaaz—to celebrate the migration of the Ugandan Asian community to Leicester. How times change.


Crime pays

Midnight. A secret meeting luxury hotel Claridge’s, London. Negotiations are going to the wire over the £50 billion merger of mining firms Glencore and Xstrata.

The Qatari prime minister won’t play ball. The thing could collapse. Who do you call for to mediate? None other than Tony Blair. He was paid £1 million for his trouble.


No party for old men… or so they claim

“What do you think of when you hear the word ‘lord’?” That’s the question posed by a series of educational YouTube videos produced by the House of Lords.

With Lords reform buried for now, they explain that they’re unelected, and that has “pros and cons”. That’s one way of putting it.

Then they ask whether “lord” makes you think of “a member of an elite club for the rich”. Perish the thought.

The chirpy animation insists, “The House of Lords isn’t some giant house party for rich old men.” And right they are—there are a few women too.


Punishment block

In other education news, an academy is planning to build a “prison block” for excluded students. Tudor Grange Academy in Worcester is to use an office block next to a job centre to hold up to 12 pupils. They will be allowed back into the school, but only if they prove they are “rehabilitated”.


Conservative Voice: Fox’s cunning plan?

Remember Liam Fox, the minister forced to quit over a dodgy lobbyist? He’s got some great new ideas for the Tory Party—and he’s set up a group called “Conservative Voice” to promote them.

So what does this Conservative Voice say? He wants to scrap capital gains tax—a tax the rich pay when they sell assets such as stocks.

But that’s a bit pricey, so he’d have to balance the books with some extra cuts. And he’s got pensioners in his sights. After all, who needs the winter fuel allowance, free bus passes or TV licences when they’ve got a sweet tax break on their shares?


Have a break

Jeremy Hunt has been health secretary for two whole weeks—so naturally he’s decided it’s time for a holiday. The Tory multi-millionaire is jetting off to France for a well-deserved break.


Payday loan firm Wonga’s profits triple

Payday loan company Wonga has seen its profits more than triple as it cashes in on the recession. The firm lends out up to £1,000 a time over the web—at 4,214 percent interest. Its profits soared from £12 million to £46 million this year.

And the number of loans it made quadrupled to nearly 2.5 million. Wonga founder Errol Damelin said, “People do run out of cash from time to time.” Bet he doesn’t, though.


No grades until you pay up for your pizza

A teenager was stopped from collecting his GCSE results—because of an unpaid £5.60 lunch bill. Ryan Swinburn from Rugby was told he could not see his grades until he paid a debt owed for a pizza and baguette.

He hadn’t been at school to pay the bill because he had been rushed to hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest during an exam. He finally got the grades after his mother paid.


Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 18 Sep 2012, 16:50 BST
Issue No. 2321
Share this article



Tags



Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.