Multimillionaire actor Michael Caine would rather be 'poor with Brexit' than rich in the EU
Let me tell you about Michael Caine
Michael Caine, with a net worth of around £60 million. Michael Caine, having spent the last few years in his luxury apartment in Miami Beach, Florida. Michael Caine, that perennial symbol of Britishness because he speaks in a cockney accent and is a rich, old, white, man.
Michael Caine, with this, one of the most thoughtless sentences ever uttered: "I'm a Brexiteer... I'd rather be a poor master of my fate than someone I don't know making me rich by running it."
Michael Caine, involved in the aggressive tax avoidance scheme Liberty and according to a list of investors released by The Times, trying to shelter at least £600,000.
Which sounds a bit like handing over your own wealth for someone else to manage for you.
Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr. grew up in a tiny council flat in Camberwell and then a prefabricated house in Elephant & Castle. His father worked at the fish market, his mother was a cook and a cleaner. Before he was Michael Caine, he was poor. He was called up to the army, he did his National Service - which he has repeatedly called to be brought back - and eventually became a successful Hollywood actor.
In the 70s he left Britain for Beverly Hills, California, citing high-income tax as the reason. He came back during Thatcher's government when income tax had been lowered. In an interview with the Essex Chronicle whilst promoting Harry Brown he attempted to explain the decision:
"Maggie Thatcher came in and put the taxes back down and in the end, you know, you don't mind paying tax. What am I going to do? Not pay tax and drive around in a Rolls Royce, with cripples begging on the street like you see in some countries?"
"I decided not to become a tax exile, so I stayed in Britain, but they kept putting the tax up..."
So he left, evidently deciding to become a tax exile.
Afterwards, he decided to dodge taxes again through Liberty. But then, what is he going to do? Drive around in a Rolls Royce with beggars on the street like in other countries? There's no homeless problem in the UK, is there Michael? That's for sure. You'd know about it, the view as clear as ever from that penthouse in Miami.
This is the man on the pedestal, bravely standing against the European Union and claiming that he would "rather be a poor master than a rich servant".
This is the man, 85-years-old, living in America, demanding Britain be freed from Europe's grasp.
This is the man who told Sky News "It wasn't about the racism, immigrants or anything, it was about freedom".
A freedom one can only assume works a bit like the free movement of workers and students that the EU provides. But it definitely wasn't about any of those other things he specifically mentioned. No sir.
He is a national treasure. He symbolises Britain.
Because Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr. grew up in a tiny council flat in Camberwell and then a prefabricated house in Elephant & Castle. His father worked at the fish market, his mother was a cook and a cleaner. Before he was Michael Caine, he was poor.
Michael Caine is not poor now. He will not be poor whatever outcome Theresa May's random Brexit generator will churn out.
Michael Caine is not a national treasure. He does not symbolise Britain. He left it behind because he'd rather be rich somewhere else than slightly less rich here.
He doesn't owe us anything because he was born here, or because the taxes he doesn't pay paid for the home he grew up in. He is free to live where he pleases.
He owes us not to wish even more hardship on a country stricken by food banks, homelessness, child poverty and economic uncertainty because of some vague sense of misguided patriotism.
He owes us to remember that the people Brexit will affect most are not people like him, but people like his parents.
People like he was before he became Michael Caine.