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Finance Friday: Streets paved with gold

The story of Dick Whittington going to London to make his fortune is based on the real Richard Wittington, the three times Lord Mayor of London and wealthy merchant.

In the story he comes from a poor background and goes to London because he hears the ‘streets are paved with gold’. In reality, Richard Whittington wasn’t from a poor background and probably didn’t even have a cat…

A myth was created to reinforce London as the centre of society in the minds of British people. The so called aspirational classes and people have flocked there ever since in search of their share of London’s wealth.

Does the wealth really exist? We hear of people paying a small fortune for one bedroom apartments in London. Anyone who owns a three bedroom family home is a millionaire. Are those houses worth any more than the ones in wet and windy Manchester and why do they command such high prices. Why are people paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for parking spaces in London. Are they paved with gold too?

The truth is it’s all a myth based on the government favouring London over a long period. They give tax breaks to the rich financiers, encourage more and more people to go there to create a housing shortage and a price bubble and then claim it’s a success. Parts of London have become so exclusive that poor people are not welcome and prices are so high you can’t even afford a cup of tea. Not that they sell tea, it’s more buy coffee made from Arabica beans or go thirsty.


My local university, the University of Wolverhampton has a nursing school that has a good reputation. They train lots of nurses. So why is the hospital in Wolverhampton bringing in nurses from overseas. Is this some weird myth too? Are they telling them that the streets of Wolverhampton are paved with gold? It seems there are some nurses here that are unemployed, so why not offer them the jobs? Many hospital services are being transferred from Stafford after a scandal in care there.  Hospital departments there have been closed down, what are their nurses doing? Local people suspect that it’s all about getting cheap labour. Is this all another scandal waiting to happen?

Aspirational classes

The government talks a lot about aspiring to do better; to be like them. That would be upper middle class, would it? Who exactly is aspiring to be upper middle class? The lower middle classes? Those people who own million pound homes in the suburbs of London and aspire to own million pound apartments in the more luxurious inner circle? Dick Whittington didn’t really have a cat that cleared a plague of rats and if he did he couldn’t swing it in one of those apartments. It’s all a myth, perpetuated by Fleet Street. Boris Johnson is the mayor of London; not the Lord mayor of course. He gets paid a quarter of a million a year to perpetuate the myths by writing a newspaper column for the deluded aspirational classes, whoever they are…

Are you taken in? Do you really think we have streets paved with gold in the United Kingdom? Please share you fantasies in the comments box! You can also follow me on Twitter.

One Response

  1. Pingback: The review: honesty | Mike10613's Blog

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