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Michael Caine and the government


Image: The IPCRESS File / Will Kane

Cat had an epiphany when she watched The IPCRESS File but it was not due to the labyrinthine plot twists as Michael Caine investigated the kidnapping and brainwashing of British scientists.

It was Caine coming home after a hard day's work, cooking himself an omelette and washing up. That simple sight - suds, water, a man's hands, his intentness on the task - struck her as so beautiful that she suddenly acquired a new appreciation for all life's simple tasks.

Since then Michael Caine has shot many scenes in many films. Iain Martin in the Telegraph describes some of Caine's achievements and how he is now "the embodiment of a very British kind of social mobility".

The star of Get Carter was born in Rotherhithe, south-east London, the son of a charlady and a fish market porter. He passed his 11-plus, winning a scholarship to a grammar school, left school at 16 and saw action in the Royal Fusiliers in the Korean War. From a job as a messenger, he worked his way into acting and became one of the sharpest stars of his generation – a crisply tailored contemporary of other working-class boys who smashed a social glass ceiling in the 1960s.

Martin is incorrect to think that this mobility only really began in Britain after the 1930s. Even if we set aside the fact that those who had left for America, Australia, New Zealand and the East had displayed dramatic social mobility, a brief look in Oxford's Dictionary of National Biography shows us that Brits have been on the rise (and fall) for centuries. Their rise was often assisted by fellow Brits, who made education a priority.

The Telegraph writer's cheerleading for the Conservatives leaves me cold, but Michael Caine's feelings about the government's latest tax hikes are worth examining -

"The Government has taken tax up to 50 per cent, and if it goes to 51, I will be back in America," he said at the weekend. "We've got 3.5 million layabouts on benefits, and I'm 76, getting up at 6am to go to work to keep them. Let's get everybody back to work so we can save a couple of billion and cut tax, not keep sticking it up."

Perhaps more to the point, let's get out of the EU so we can save ourselves hundreds of billions of pounds.

Those earning less than Michael

Those earning less than Michael and those wishing they earned more for what they do may be happy that the government is sticking up the rich. But suppose a higher tax kills the geese laying the golden eggs or sends them flying. Suppose it supports people on the dole who could be working. Suppose it makes government even more powerful and profilgate and even more inclined to tell us what to do and to make us less interested and capable of helping ourselves and each other. Why on earth would we want it?

The government plan

The growing indebtedness of the government means that either we are all going to have to pay more tax, our pensions will be attacked or our money will be worth less as the government prints money and inflation increases.

The government has failed to properly regulate the banks or competently run the NHS and state schools or equip our men and women whom they have sent to war. How have the government's failings given it a claim to a higher tax rate?

The government's actions appear labyrinthine, but the plot is clear.

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