It has long since past the time [sic] when aggressive redistribution of wealth were [sic] government policy.
So writes Guardian reader StevenMD, fuming on cue to a tale of sin and woe told by the paper’s Michele Hanson. Ms Hanson is upset because,
Manchester’s stunningly beautiful Victoria Baths… built in 1906 for thousands of ordinary people… [has been] closed since 1993. Manchester couldn’t afford to keep it open.
Oh cruel, unfeeling world. Where will all those ordinary Mancunians swim? Oh wait. It turns out that Manchester is hardly short of public swimming pools, having over twenty in fact, half of which offer free sessions for children and OAPs. Among them, the world-class Manchester Aquatics Centre, built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Ah yes, but - but - Ms Hanson is also upset - and more upset - that someone who lives 200 miles away from Manchester has nicer things than she does:
On the edge of Hampstead Heath, north London, is one new, almost completed steel and glass house, costing squillions. Enormous silver chutes twirl down its outside, into this one family’s very own private basement pool.
Of all the things one might conceivably find scandalous and indecent, a house with an indoor pool is, I think it’s fair to say, not the most obvious. Ms Hanson is, however, determined to be outraged anyway:
Shove your ostentatious wealth up our noses, why don’t you? The owners could probably save the Victoria Baths with their pocket money. Were I Empress of England, I would order them, and their show-off neighbours, to do so. Sadly, it won’t happen.
Despite the fact that confiscating other people’s earnings is the highest possible goal of all good-hearted people.
We aren’t told anything at all about the homeowners whose wealth so offends Ms Hanson and so animates her rage, though one doesn’t have to reach far to find the implication. Being no less pious than Ms Hanson herself, Guardian readers should assume that these ungodly types with their big house and heathen indoor swimming pool can’t have done anything, anything at all, to earn, deserve or justify their personal comforts, and they can’t have employed dozens of people, perhaps less wealthy people, to build the home that so infuriates our columnist. Indeed, there must be something wrong with the owners even to want such things. Unlike the loftier, more moral beings who seethe indignantly in the pages of the Guardian:
Last week, in a foaming temper, I was moaning on about it to another dog-walker, hoping, at least, that the super-rich were stuck at Freud’s anal stage and secretly miserable as sin. “Wrong,” says she. “I have a very wealthy friend. She lives in another world, which you can barely imagine. And she’s very happy indeed.”
Yes, Ms Hanson is hoping that all those awful people who earn more than she does are at least miserable. Piety, you see. The taste is a little bitter, I grant you, but you’ll soon get used to it. Judging by her closing comment, Ms Hanson certainly has:
You surely can’t trample people into the dirt forever. Eventually, they blow. Then the very wealthy friend will be not so happy. Can’t wait.
Ms Hanson is a socialist and therefore, like all socialists, is possessed of a big benevolent heart. That’s why she’s looking forward to misery being inflicted on people she knows nothing about, beyond the amenities of their home.