I recently bought a £999 phone, and so did many other socialists, Labour voters and sceptics of capitalism. The launch came shortly before it was revealed that Apple were intentionally moving money overseas to avoid tax. Why should anyone be sharing their excitement about their iPhone in the same breath as they shudder at the queues to our foodbanks?
‘Champagne Socialism’ is spoken as an insult. With your petty cash you walk past a homeless man and into Waitrose, looking down on those leaving Aldi with £14.99 magnums of Prosecco. How dare you?
It shouldn’t be an insult. We should be warmed by rich socialists, those willing to give up some of their wealth for equality, those who understand that their quality of life doesn’t have to change to make a huge difference to those really in need. Those who new tax bands would affect earn enough that they will still be able to afford luxuries and can still give more to the state.
Capitalism works. I am a capitalist and socialist. I believe that we need things to work towards and to desire and every business, provided the playing field is equal, has the right to market their products, up sell, and to strive for more profit. Competition is important to drive innovation. I am also a socialist, because I believe capitalism has no place in services that are human rights such as education, healthcare and transport.
I’m delighted with my new phone. And so are thousands of socialists with some spare cash. Our purchase is compatible with our beliefs because we’re part of a capitalist country that occasionally rewards us. Whilst I will likely spend most—if not all—of my life below Labour’s planned £80,000 tax band, I hope that if I ever were to cross it, my beliefs won’t change. I also hope that nobody would judge me for how I choose to spend my money.