THE NEWSDESK: Sue Jenkins was an example of the inspiration around us

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

THOUSANDS of people viewed our tributes to Sue Jenkins, the headteacher at St Joseph's RC School in Newport.

Miss Jenkins, who lost her long battle with cancer, was about as well known as anyone could be in this city.

And for all the right reasons - because her time as a teacher and headteacher meant she touched thousands and thousands of people's lives.

The tributes to her give me hope that in a society which has had its priorities badly screwed by disposable celebrity, we still understand, deep down, the role Miss Jenkins and her colleagues play in our lives.

Extend that out beyond teachers to nurses, doctors, sports coaches. Instead of being obsessed with the romantic entanglements of people who are famous for being famous, or actors, singers and sports stars we will never meet, surely we still understand that within our own communities, there are people who should be rightly "famous" here.

That inspiration need not be bought and paid for with the downloading of Game of Thrones, but is here, on our streets, doing all sorts of things for all sorts of people.

All you need to do is see it.

We should not forget that. And the passing of such people should be marked.

They should not be forgotten by a society saturated with trivia like celebrity gossip.

I have little doubt that Miss Jenkins' funeral will see many, many mourners and her loss will be felt in her school and in this community for many years to come.

Let's ensure her example is felt for many years, too.

TODAY'S Sunday Times Rich List found that despite austerity for most of us, the wealth of the UK's top 1,000 has more than doubled since the economic crash.

It is now standing at £519bn. The 15.4% rise the super elite enjoyed in income last year was described as unparalleled by the man who compiles the list.

"The rich have had a phenomenal year, and while some may criticise them, many of these people are at the heart of the economy and their success brings more jobs and wealth for the country," Philip Beresford said.

But, here's another finding.

The wealthiest 64 names have the same net worth as the poorest 30 per cent of the UK's population.

And scanning that list, there's still a fair few whose wealth is based on owning property, rather than entrepreneurship.

While austerity bites, the super-rich are getting richer and richer.

The economist Thomas Piketty has an interesting theory.

It states that our economic system has reached the point that anyone who is an entrepreneur will now never be able to match the wealth of those who own property and obtain their wealth from that.

A theory which says the aspiration such rich lists are supposed to engender will simply be thwarted.

That equality is increasingly difficult to achieve.

This phrase sounds more and more hollow, now: "We're all in it together."

TAX. Pay it. It funds our services. Those who can pay it and seek to avoid it simply increase the burden on those who have fewer means than them.

I have little sympathy for celebrities who attempt to avoid their fair share of tax. Celebrities who have benefited from our NHS, were educated at state schools, many of whom had grants to go to university.

Celebrities who think that their star status means they get a little wriggle room when it comes to the rules.

In the same way I have little sympathy for corporations who think the same, who think that they can use their large numbers of workers as economic shields to avoid paying their fair whack.

I'd like to see a few more of them on the front pages having to pay back owed tax.

And I'd like to see the loopholes they use closed. For good.

Comments (4)

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1:03pm Sun 18 May 14

mikeyd says...

It's what Thatcher wanted!!!!!
It's what Thatcher wanted!!!!! mikeyd
  • Score: -1

1:07pm Sun 18 May 14

mikeyd says...

Sorry! RIP Miss Jenkins. I was referring to the wealthy avoiding paying their taxes!
Sorry! RIP Miss Jenkins. I was referring to the wealthy avoiding paying their taxes! mikeyd
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Sun 18 May 14

Magor says...

Where do the "super rich" get their money from? Us! Stop giving it to them.
Where do the "super rich" get their money from? Us! Stop giving it to them. Magor
  • Score: -2

1:53pm Sun 18 May 14

Melvyn The Milk says...

We should not let a few bad eggs in the basket at both the higher and lower echelons of the police service prevent us including those in the list of the 'famous amongst us' either.
We should not let a few bad eggs in the basket at both the higher and lower echelons of the police service prevent us including those in the list of the 'famous amongst us' either. Melvyn The Milk
  • Score: -2

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