It IS good news that more British people are more prosperous and that the richest people in the world regard Britain as a safe haven and politically stable. The bad news is that growing inequality is approaching pre first world war levels. The richest 10% in Britain own 44% of total national wealth, five times more than the poorest 50% of the population who collectively own 9%.
The biggest tragedy of all is, if we're lucky enough to survive until we're old, grey and wrinkled, and our grandchildren ask us what we gave to the world we lived in, we are only able to say that we took more than we gave. For the man who dies without giving more than he has taken can take no triumph from his life.
You don't have to be a Marxist to feel a sense of outrage at these statistics. I trust that most of us with an ounce of sympathy for the suffering of fellow human beings would sense that the global economic system that engineers such disparity in the way people live is dysfunctional and requires serious reforms.
One percent of the world's population own half of the world's wealth. Meanwhile, the poorest people on earth, who constitute two thirds of the world's population, own just 3% of the world's wealth. This is clearly nuts. This hasn't happened overnight. The global disparity between incomes has been spiralling out of control over the last few decades.
Inequality has been rising rapidly in Britain for the past 30 years. The gap between rich and poor has widened and the share of income going to the top 1% has doubled, from 6% to 14%. If the growth in inequality continues at its current rate, we are heading towards Victorian extremes in the next 20 years.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations are thankfully behind us, but in their wake they have left a mark of shame at the sheer amount of public money involved not only in paying for this event, but in propping up the Monarchy year after year, an institution as ludicrous as it is pernicious in the 21st century.