The millions who voted for Brexit didn’t profit from the boost to the stock market.
“The pinnacle of creation-
A creature who can laugh at a joke
And one who can tell a lie.”
From Paapey Thoo Pope Hein by Bachchoo
I don’t suppose the Indian press publishes, as do the UK newspapers, what they call rich lists. Each year they list the names of billionaires and specify the official value of their booty. The figures include the assets held by these individuals or families abroad and in tax havens.
Such lists wouldn’t be possible or truthful in India, or if they were wouldn’t be welcomed by the people who appear on them. After all, if the list says that Shri and Shrimati Bigbuckspati own xxxxxx crores and are 67th on the rich list, some Inland Revenue apparatchik is bound to ask where they got their moola. And when the Indian taxmen say “show me the colour of your money”, they don’t mean hand it over, they mean black or white.
This year’s UK rich list is topped by the brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja. Their bundle is evaluated at £16.2 billion, which marks an increase from 2016 of £3.2 billion.
The world knows that the Hinduja brothers are of Indian origin. Some years ago the media reported that they had donated a million pounds to a millennial project to build a government-owned dome in Greenwich, London. At the same time they had applied to become British citizens. The Labour minister of the time who was pushing their application for UK passports was one Peter Mandelson. He was then accused by the press of selling UK citizenship and felt it prudent to resign, temporarily, his Labour ministership. The Hindujas subsequently acquired Swiss citizenship and I expect have been living happily ever after.
Of course the £3.2 billion increase in their wealth over this last year was not all gained through the sweat of Hinduja brows. I just calculated that for the average British worker it would mean earning £64 million a week, which is more than 10,000 times what the average worker in Britain earns. Now, dear reader, this is not a vain mathematical waste of space, there is a motive to this calculative madness.
Last June 52 per cent of British voters elected to take the UK (if Scotland is still part of it) out of the European Union. The vote for Brexit, which will happen in a few years after negotiations progress or are abandoned, resulted in an immediate fall in the value of the pound. This, I am reliably informed, was good for British exports as foreign currencies which buy them would pay less, but disastrous for British imports.
The other huge impact brought about by the fall in the value of the pound was to send the value of shares in the stock market showing a marked increase for the non-Brits who own the registered companies.
This is known as the “Brexit bonanza” and accounts for the increase in wealth of those on the rich list who own and trade in property, in oil and gas and in running homes for the old and dying — all of which are part of the Hinduja’s businesses.
The second richest person on the UK list is Lakshmi Mittal, the steel company owner who added more than £6 billion to his £13.23 billion fortune.
The top 1,000 rich list has very many new entrants, the lowest threshold for entry is the ownership of £110 million, which is seven million more than it was a year ago.
The Hindujas and Mr Mittal are first and second on the list which contains several Russians, some Arabs and a considerable number of non-British people. Of the Brits who are on the list several pay little or no tax in this country claiming that they are citizens of some dodgy enterprise calling itself a state and issuing citizenships.
The irony of the rise of the stock market oligarchs through the Brexit-Bonus is that the British population who voted for Brexit were deluded into believing that a vote to leave the European Union was a vote against “international elites”.
The millions who voted for Brexit didn’t profit from the boost to the stock market. Instead, even though Brexit has been voted for but is not effective yet, the price of foodstuffs, a great deal of which are imports, has risen, the fall in the pound has fuelled inflation and has slowed down the growth in the economy, all of which hits the mass of the population while making billionaires of this global elite that exploits Britain’s shares.
One of the people who didn’t make it to the list, being short by £10 million of the entry qualification, is Aaron Banks. Mr Banks owns 37 companies in different names and his principal interests are diamond and other mines in the countries of southern Africa.
Mr Banks co-founded the “Leave EU” campaign and even though his total assets haven’t got him a rich-list place, he has profited from the self-sacrificing vote of the Brexiteers whom he paid vast sums to delude.
Another valiant Brexiteer was American hedge-fund-walla Robert Mercer who acted as the data manipulation wizard for the campaign to quit. No estimates to the boost to his personal fortune from the proceeds are available.
Then there is Peter Hargreaves, a financial services billionaire who supported the Brexit campaign by propagandising 15 million households. His personal shares took a dip in the first few months after the referendum but he told the media that he was confident that his shares would rally soon as the pound falls steadily.
The property market in Britain has had a boost from the falling pound as foreigners can, with the increasingly favourable exchange rate, buy property here, leave it empty to increase in price or rent it out to the British population which is hit by the boom.
Advice to Indians with black money abroad: buy now, even outside London, as Brexit when it happens will put you on the rich list!