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living apart together

Herald Scotland:

Tom Shields, Columnist / / Opinion

Published / Opinion

The Buffer Institute for the Study of Public Policy and Other Stuff has been analysing the Westminster Government's decision to freeze public sector pay in poorer parts of Britain.

It is not just a one-off move to make people work for lower wages. It is the start of a process of dismissing any pretence that Britain is a single nation when it comes to money.

The next stage is to split Britain into homelands where regions with lower pay will pursue "separate development". Like devolution, but entirely based on wealth.

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In the interests of economic stability, there will be restrictions on movement from the northern homelands to London and the south-east. It makes sense. What would a poor person be doing in, for instance, Bond Street?

Under new Pass Laws, identity cards will be issued based on disposable income. There will be four classes of citizenship: a) benefits claimants; b) the low-paid; c) those with very little cash left after tax; d) those who are so rich they hardly pay any tax at all.

Northern people such as Jocks, Geordies, and Scousers who moved south and are now well-off will not be removed back to their ethnic homelands, or Banterstans as they will be called with cheeky local humour.

Under a new Areas Act, poor people will require to live some distance from expensive neighbourhoods to minimise social friction. Planning rules will be relaxed to allow the construction of simple but affordable houses in townships on the outskirts.

A new Ministry for the Poor will look after those at the low end of the socio-economic scale. The ministry will have a team of inspectors on hand to check ID cards and advise those who have strayed to get back to their townships before curfew.

Poor folk will have rights. They can stay in their employer's garden shed. They will have their own cafes and restaurants. They will have specially reserved seats on buses. An equality act will forbid rich folk at the front singing: "The back of the bus they never wash."

A Treasury spokesperson says: "It's obvious what you're up to here, Mr Shields, suggesting the Government is promoting some kind of apartheid. The analogy is erroneous. People can't change ethnic origins but they can move into a higher tax bracket and legally avoid paying it."

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