Four cases of hoarding so serious they deserve a Channel 4 reality series.
For years Channel 4 has runs series such as
Britain’s Biggest Hoarders, or The Hoarder Next Door. We gawk at vulnerable and isolated people who obsessively gather things for no apparent purpose.
For even longer, the Sunday Times Rich List has been published annually – a showcase of humans with magpie-like tendencies to hoard and hide more cash than could ever be spent. It’s easy to laugh at these guys, until you realise they wield great power and wealth in a way that corrupts the political process and forces us to listen to their dodgy opinions – and look at their dodgy suits.
It goes without saying that our lives are immeasurably enriched by the work of many innovators (think how dusty our skirting boards would be without Sir James Dyson). But as billions sit idle and wasted in private bank accounts, innovative ideas for the world's problems go unfunded and people go hungry. While that might say more about our political system than the individuals themselves, we can still have a bit of fun. Because, you know, if you don’t laugh…
All wealth data based on the Sunday Times Rich List 2019.
Time it would take a Bristolian on the average salary of £28,855 to earn that?: 436,666 years
How long ago was that? Our ancestors didn’t even have stone tools
In 2000, James Dyson argued that it was ‘suicidal’ for the UK to not join the Euro, because of the difficulties that poor, struggling firms like his were having exporting their goods due to the strong pound. In the Brexit referendum and since, Dyson – who is richer than all other members of our South West Rich List combined – has vigorously campaigned for Brexit on the basis of the golden age of opportunity it will usher in.
But whichever way the hot air is blowing on Europe, 72-year-old Dyson remains a caricature oligarch when it comes to working people.
he argued that workers’ rights should be reduced and that corporation tax, a tax on a company’s profits, should be scrapped, adding that it is a “very odd thing because there are ways of getting around paying it”.
Having moved production of vacuums to Malaysia in 2003 as trialed during his Euro tantrum – saying that “wages in the Far East are less than half those expected in Britain” – the famous Brexiteer and national hero who said Britain needed to go it alone
moved Dyson HQ to Singapore earlier in 2019. Of course, this mystifying decision had nothing to do with turning his back on the country – Dyson was simply “future proofing” the company.
Time it would it average Bristolian to earn that? 110,899 years
How long ago was that? Humans had begun to leave North Africa for the Middle East.
This West Country billionaire, 72, enjoys a pub lunch with his local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. Apparently,
Hargreaves goes for a steak pie, while it’s rumoured that Victorian vampire Rees-Mogg prefers to devour the life-force of local peasants.
Speaking of pastry products, Hargreaves, who donated £3.2 million to fellow financier Nigel Farage’s Brexit effort, admitted the campaign told “porky pies” and was a “little bit racist” in its demonisation of migrants. A committed no-deal advocate, he has claimed that Brexit will be good for the country, saying that things “will be like Dunkirk again”, referring to the WW2 retreat from France. (In the midst of the fervour surrounding Dunkirk, Churchill cautioned that it was not a victory and that “wars are not won by evacuations”.)
After building Bristol-based financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown into a £6 billion behemoth, Hargreaves retired in 2010 to focus on pulling up his bootstraps by cannibalising public assets. The privatisation of Royal Mail in 2013 saw Hargreaves pocket £45.7 million.
This self-described, self-made billionaire has said of his wealth, “I don’t really do very much with it” (aside from the odd £15 million private jet). While he does pay all UK taxes, the fact that he can have more than £3 billion in personal wealth that “isn’t doing much” says more about our tax system and the distribution of wealth than Hargreaves himself.
Time it would it average Bristolian to earn that? 17,328 years
How long ago was that? Homosapiens emerge as the sole survivors in the once diverse human family .
Terrance Mordaunt, 70, took over the Bristol Port as co-owner after its privatisation in 1991.
Mordaunt is a relative pauper in comparison with the Scrooge McDuck opulence of others on this list. He does however have as strong a commitment to putting his vast wealth where his mouth is and standing up for what he believes in.
Mordaunt personally gave £100,000 to the official Vote Leave campaign and is a long-time major donor to the Conservative Party. In 2014, Charlotte Leslie, former Bristol North West Conservative MP was forced to apologise for not declaring £17,000 in donations from a Bristol Port company boss while asking a series of Parliamentary questions related to the Port’s business and lobbying efforts to prevent the Severn Tidal Barrage from being built. In May 2019, he made donations of £25,000 each to two renowned charity cases, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.
A member of local rich man’s gang the Merchant Venturers, Mordaunt also sits on the board of the Global Warming Policy Forum – professional climate change deniers who in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence are committed to muddying the waters over climate science and lobbying against investments in renewables and green economic policy. This is of course wholly unconnected to Mordaunt’s interests in Bristol Oil and Gas Company, or in the huge quantities of fossil fuel that enters the UK through his ports.
Time it would it average Bristolian* to earn that? 58,915 years
How long ago was that? Our ancestors are breeding with Neanderthals.
Steve Lansdown is currently bankrolling Bristol City FC from the tax haven of Guernsey, having made his fortune as co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown. Unlike his partner Peter Hargreaves, above, Lansdown said he had “no qualms” about moving his excessive treasure out of the taxman’s reach.
Lansdown, 66, has been pumping money into the club. On the one hand, this is par for the course for teams trying to make it big, but – as
the Cable has pointed out elsewhere – it’s a worry for the clubs in question. All the hypercomplex accounting needed to pull it off means that clubs can have little or no warning of problems faced by their super-rich backers. Especially if, like City, you have taken out the biggest loan (£40 million) in the Championship in the last decade.
Lansdown has spent a long time in the shadow of his much wealthier partner Hargreaves, but in many ways seems to be much more the cartoonish billionaire, buying up local sports clubs from his island hideaway. On the one hand the childlike fantasy fulfilment is kind of endearing and until you think: “Imagine the problems we could solve with this money.”