"I want to stop paying tax, until everyone pays tax,” the actor Greg Wise is saying. His hands are imploring claws, rigid in the space between us.
“I have actively loved paying tax, because I am a profound f****** socialist and I believe we are all in it together. But I am disgusted with HMRC. I am disgusted with HSBC. And I’m not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison.”Well, I'm sure you'll make someone an interesting cellmate, Greg.
He shakes his head then adds of his “missus”, Emma Thompson, the Oscar-winning actress, “Em’s on board. She agrees. We’re going to get a load of us together. A movement. They can’t send everyone to prison. But we’ll go to prison if necessary. I mean it. It’s going to be like 1848 all over again.”
And then he laughs, disarmingly. “I sound like Russell f****** Brand, don’t I?” Yes, I say. But he’s not a bit like Russell f****** Brand. He’s far too tortured, far too self-aware. And, of course, he’s a lot better looking.Steady on, love! It's not even as if 'better looking than Russell Brand'; was much of an achievement, and every word that comes out of this guy's mouth is nonsense.
He's breeding more like him, too:
He’s given up acting “three times” — “I’ve always been slightly arsey”. Recently his life has been “trimmed” because Gaia quit fee-paying Highgate School to be tutored at home. “It was her idea. She’s a product of people who aren’t part of the system — we’re self-employed, very much on the fringes of what is seen as a proper job — and having been brought up in that environment, and questioning things, Gaia just decided that she loves learning but the system per se is not for her.”I...
The family live in West Hampstead, “in the poor bit. Em was born at the bottom of the street and now we live in the middle.” Her mother, Phyllida Law, is “over the road, and my sister Clare is about 10 doors down”.
Their evening meal is “sacrosanct” and they share the cooking. “We have six or seven every night for tea. It’s how everyone used to live. [Society] has designed that out and it’s not healthy. As the Africans say, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’.”Somewhere, a village is clearly missing its idiot...
We return to politics. Wise is card-carrying Labour. “But I’m in absolute despair at all of them,” he says. “I liked Tony before he made his mistakes. I cannot forgive him and the party, and the country. I was one of the two million out there, marching. Made f*** all difference. There is no such thing as democracy.”
Injustice is, he says, “the thing that makes me more angry than anything — whether it’s someone being hassled in the street to HSBC getting away with this. I’m the least violent man you’ve ever met but I will plough into fights in the street to stop someone being set upon. Days afterwards I’m a mess because I hate violence. But I cannot see injustice.”Isn't tax a bit of an injustice in itself?
The issue of tax has him frothing.“Yes, I’ve got my basic north London Left-wing woolly ideas about what’s going on. [Companies like] HSBC haven’t even been slapped on the wrist [because of this] beautiful grey area between avoidance and evasion. It’s iniquitous. We need to do something — COME ON!”YES! LET'S DO SOMETHING!
But...what? After all, that 'grey area' could be removed if politicians wanted, and yet it hasn't been. No matter who is in power.
Why do you think that is, Greg?