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Rooneys, Clooneys and sniping Sturgeons


KENNY Dalglish was a successful footballer in the 70s, and he made a nice living. He now has a net worth of £5million. Had he been born later, he could have expected more than just a nice living.  Professional footballers can now pocket staggering sums of money.  Wayne Rooney has made more than £110million (or around 22 Kennys).  

George Clooney’s personal net worth is $600million or so. That’s around five Wayne Rooneys. No wonder he’s smug. Harry and Meghan are trailing way behind, with only around a tenth of a Wayne. No wonder they’re bitter. Their pal Oprah Winfrey has 30 Waynes. Elon Musk has over $200billion or about 2,000 Waynes.   

A quick listen to the BBC, or Nicola Sturgeon, or Labour and you will find the ‘rich’ being talked about without any mention of whether they are Kennys, Waynes or Elons. In fact this homogeneous group may extend to include your GP, small business-owner or estate agent.  

Calling people ‘rich’ is an easy way to invite some booing. The SNP, always generous with other people’s money, like to rouse the rabble with talk of being quite against the ‘rich’. It’s only fair, isn’t it? In Scotland, earning over £44k will land you in the higher tax bracket and at £150k you’ll join the lofty ranks of the very rich where the top tax bracket is 46 per cent.  

In England, the second top tax rate is 40 per cent for £50k and the top is 45 per cent for £150k plus. When Liz Truss suggested reducing the 45 per cent rate to 42 per cent she learned what happens when you poke the national bear. Her idea was panned because it meant that the ‘rich’ were getting it easy and not paying their way. Liz Truss wisely stuck her head back in before the peasants arrived with their pitchforks.  

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that this move would have the ‘super-wealthy laughing all the way to the actual bank’. Her deputy John Swinney was less poetic but was clear that it was ‘tax cuts for the rich’.  He also described it, with SNP nuance, as meaning ‘nothing’ for those who need it most. 

Placing the working person in the same category as the real super-wealthy does some damage. In Scotland, the UK party in government are described as ‘detestable Tories’ by the devolved administration.   Working Scottish people find themselves stuck with the ‘nasty rich’ label. In a country that still looks back in anger at the Thatcher government, at least some of that anti-rich sentiment is redirected at the new ‘wealthy’. Some working Scots are being newly packaged as the new enemy of the government. ‘Rich’ is carelessly flung as an insult, and has a clear message that you are shameful and the SNP are coming for you.

And yes, that’s the same SNP who chucked three Waynes at their  buddies for a couple of boats that could have cost half a Wayne.   

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Gail MacDonald
Gail MacDonald
Gail MacDonald is a professional psychologist and writer. Views expressed here are her own.

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