Saturday, September 29, 2012

J.K. Rowling on Patriotism

Billionaire J.K. Rowling is without a doubt the richest person in the United Kingdom. As the sole author of the mega-hit Harry Potter series, some Republicans in this country would suggest that "she built wrote that" all on her own and should therefore be left to enjoy all the fruits of her labor with no thought to her responsibility to anyone else.

I have no doubt that Ms. Rowling lives a very comfortable lifestyle and is never likely to have to forego any material thing she happens to need or desire. But apparently some people think that's not enough and have wondered why she doesn't give up her British citizenship in favor of some more suitable tax haven. She recently had a few words for Republicans folks who think that way.
I chose to remain a domiciled taxpayer for a couple of reasons. The main one was that I wanted my children to grow up where I grew up, to have proper roots in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain’s; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles.

A second reason, however, was that I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism. 


  1. Excellent! I shared this story on my Facebook page.

  2. Quick point of order: "Billionaire J.K. Rowling is without a doubt the richest person in the United Kingdom."

    Sadly, at about a half billion, she's nowhere near ...

    Still, she's talking the right game.

  3. Good spot. Rowling has, for an author, been fairly overtly political in recent years. She's been vocal about her support for the Welfare State, supported the then-Labour govt _and_ critiqued them for their part in failing to ensure that the system does actually protect people.

    So what she's said here is entirely consistent with her own life, background and earlier opinions. And very refreshing to hear, as well.

  4. Kudos to her. if only the Sean Connerys and Michael Caines felt the same way...