An unpublished letter to the Guardian on where all the money has gone:
Each time I turn on the BBC I hear that difficult decisions have to be made, by whoever is elected. This comes down to: Do we want to give all our money to pay for the bankers this year or would we rather wait a bit? In all this debate no one has asked the obvious questions of how much wealth there is in the country, and who is best able to pay.
The focus groups which we conduct, light up when such issues are raised, but heaven forbid that politicians should be asked about such indelicate topics. The total UK wealth is £ 9 thousand billion, the top 20% own between 5 and 6 thousand billion of this, nearly all in property and pensions.*
Remember in a single year the denizens of the city paid themselves £21 billion in bonus payments and now we know where these went. The deficit is a mere £150 billion or thereabouts. But instead of discussing who could pay without missing it too much, public debate is constrained to issues like vat rises, which would hurt the poorest, who have no wealth, only debts.
Or alternatively we can choose if we want less schools and hospitals or more potholes. The class who caused all this will not be bothered in the least by the consequences of their actions, let alone be told on the BBC that they should pay for them.
Professor Greg Philo
Glasgow University Media Group
Adam Smith Building
* Office for National Statistics ‘Household wealth in GB £9 trillion in 2006/8‘, News Release, 10 December 2009.