Like him or loath him, one has to admire Richard Branson for the way he has used his entrepreneurial and self promotional skills to amass a personal fortune that the rest of us can only dream about.
From an inauspicious start with Virgin Records, he has created one of the world's most recognisable brands along with Microsoft, Coca Cola, McDonald's and Disney. In the process he has directly created hundreds of thousands of jobs and indirectly possibly millions.
I am sure it wasn't easy, and I for one don't begrudge him a single penny. What I do envy is a billionaire's independence from government. After paying all the taxes he his legally required to pay, he can do what he likes with his money and the politicians can go jump in the nearest lake.
Having such enormous wealth allows an immediate relief from the usual day to day tribulations of life in the west, such as mortgages, household bills, raising children, etc. but it also allows a person to get in touch with their philanthropic side.
Richard Branson has joined his fellow billionaires Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ted Turner and many others by signing the 'Giving Pledge' whereby they promise to donate a proportion of their wealth to charity.
I have taken Bill Gates to task in a previous post over his breathtaking hypocrisy concerning his attitude to capitalism, the system that allowed him to get rich, and his support for socialist Barack Obama.
This is the President who continually demonises the 'rich' and who, if he had his way, would happily tax Bill Gates and his mates out of existence.
It is my contention that if Gates and the rest of the billionaires openly campaign for a socialist then they should put their money where their mouths are and give their fortunes to the government, after all the government know best how to spend everyone else's money.
Having made that point it has to be accepted that, unlike the rest of us little people, they are not going to hand their money over to the socialists so they should be commended at least for their pledge to give it away to the good causes that they deem most appropriate.
Although he is not a billionaire I would have thought that multi-millionaire Tony Blair, a man of deep conviction and concern for the poor and downtrodden, would do the same with his millions and sign the pledge to give it away.
One would think that a man who has spent his entire life advocating social justice, equality and fairness by the redistribution of wealth would be only too happy to set an example and start the ball rolling by redistributing his own.
Tony Blair could at least make a gesture by returning the $134,000 he is given to finance his private office, on top of his $108,800 pension, back to the hard pressed taxpayer.
There is the possibility that Tony Blair was not sincere when he made is maiden speech in the House of Commons on first becoming an MP:
"I am a socialist, not through reading a text book that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is most rational and moral. It stands for co-operation, not confrontation, for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality".
It is in the public domain that Richard Branson, Bill Gates and the rest of them made their fortunes by using their talents and skills to innovate and build businesses often from nothing.
It is less clear however, how a career politician like Tony Blair, who's only talent was dissembling, lying and media manipulation could end up such a wealthy individual.
Blair who began his political career by writing a letter to that other socialist icon and reprobate Michael Foot, claiming that he "came to socialism through Marx" now owns 8 houses and has amassed a fortune reputed to be anywhere between $16 and $96 million.
Reports indicate that Blair and his venal wife Cherie have been cashing in on the contacts that he made while in office but surely this would go against their deeply held religious beliefs. They have met the Pope, after all.
Tony Blair refuses to abide by the openness and transparency in his business dealings that his government expected of us, the little people.
The web of companies he utilises to cloak his dealings would put Bernie Madoff to shame but, I suppose, when all is said and done he is a politician so sadly, different rules apply.
The truth is that socialist politicians are venal hypocrites of the very highest order when it comes to practicing themselves what they preach to others.
The list of talentless wealthy individuals that have infested Parliament, and still do for that matter, who preached socialism, equality and the redistribution of wealth but practice something different is a wonder to behold:
Socialist/Marxist Phony Tony Blair
ex Communist Peter, now Lord, Mandelson
Son of the Manse Gordon Brown, of moral compass fame
Red Ed Miliband and brother David of the infamous North London Marxist 'intellectual' circle.
Patricia Hodge, tax finder general who hides her own taxes through her company Stemcor.
Geoffrey Robinson, money lender to the dodgy Mandelson.
Nick Clegg and Senora Gonzales, loaded with Euro millions.
Anthony Wedgewood Benn and son Hillary, prolitarianised aristocrat.
David Laws, multi millionaire expense cheat who also cheated the law.
Chris Huhne, property magnate who advocates a mansion tax and windmills.
etc, etc. etc.
Eastleigh Byelection Update:
There is still a week to go for the voters of Eastleigh to wake up and come to their senses.
It remains a mystery why they are still supporting the Lib Dems despite the information that shows them up to be the a party of liars, disseminaters and criminals who will sell them out to their European Union masters in a heartbeat.
It now transpires that their policy guru and one time fund raiser Lord Rennard is standing down to fight charges of being a sexual predator.
I don't want to pre-judge the issue but his party has serious form in the area of sexual shenanigans.
The latest odds are truly depressing:
Lib Dems - 1/4 on
Conservatives - 9/2 from 4/1
UKIP - 10/1 from 12/1
Labour 50/1 from 40/1
It would appear that UKIP are taking support from Labour. Good!