An interesting problem I think a lot of rich people face these days is how to show-off their wealth whilst still appearing ethical and environmentally sound.
Take cars. Rich people around town tend drive those extremely unethical luxury SUVs. At least some of them must know that makes them look dim, but what can they do? What is there on the market that say’s ‘I’m very rich, but not stupid; I care about the planet but more about my appearance‘?
If they buy a small, economical car, and take their one child to school in it, other rich parents will look down from their four-tonne Range Rovers and assume some hardship, some stock price collapse is to blame.
What car manufacturers need to do is wake up to this obvious new market: very expensive small cars.
Small cars, perhaps plated with gold leaf, that are economical on fuel, low on emissions, but out of the price range of most people.
You could have diamond-studded bumpers but then you have to ask would they be fair-trade diamonds? This is no joke, most of our diamonds come from extremely unethical companies.
You could, for example, have a Citroen Xsara Picasso with a real Picasso stuck on bonnet. You could have a simple Toyota Yaris but with a luxury yacht being towed behind – all the time.
Or you could even just leave a box of Ferrero rochers on the dashboard.
The important thing is not that the car is any good (if that was important why would so many rich people buy Range Rovers?) No, the important thing is it needs to be obvious it cost a lot. And that’s all.
Peace Tax Seven
A small ad in the back of Private Eye, for an outfit called The Peace Tax Seven, caught my attention the other day. I looked them up on the web.
Apparently they are trying to raise money to mount a legal challenge against the government for using their taxes to pay for war. They reckon they can set a legal precedent using the new European Convention on Human Rights.
They are happy to pay tax, they claim, they just don’t want it used to build bombs and make bullets. UK law, apparently, recognises ‘freedom of conscience’ as a human right, meaning they could refuse to part with the money simply because they feel it is wrong to buy weapons.
UK tax law, however, does not recognise ‘freedom of conscience’. What a surprise.
So these guys want to put it to the test… is tax law a higher law than laws to do with human rights.
I do hope they get their day in court but my guess is tax law trumps all other laws in the world. Even Boyles law (pV=k).
This week Nigel Kneale, the guy who created the Quatermass TV serials, died aged of 84. I was just thinking Children of Men, a rather good, eerie British Sci-fi flick, felt like something he might have written.