Richard Caring is not far from the archetypal Tory donor. The seventy-three year old can be easily spotted in the exclusive neighbourhood of Mayfair, London. Known for his penchant for crisp, collared and immaculately-tailored white shirts and dazzling, velvet suit jackets, the Annabel’s Mayfair owner is rarely photographed without his signature teeth-baring grin. It’s not difficult to imagine the source of his unadulterated happiness: he could be smiling about his £820m net worth, his Versailles-like Hampstead home, or maybe he just washed down a premium black cod at one of his new Mayfair establishments accompanied by the likes of Sir Phillip Green (although on second thought, unlikely to be the latter).
In Britain, it is true that nothing is as certain as death and taxes; but most of its worst ailments can, at some point, be traced back to a common denominator: the Oxford PPE degree. Annabel’s Mayfair was the brainchild of an Eton-educated, Oxfordian PPE drop-out and was the first private-members nightclub of its kind in London, 1973. Early members included Frank Sinatra and early visitors included an eclectic mix of Kate Moss, Diana Ross and Ivana Trump. In 2003, the club even graced the visit of the Queen – the only nightclub she has ever reportedly visited. To this day, Annabel’s Mayfair operates as a day-night club of hedonism perched on a 26,000 square-foot Grade-I Georgian house. It represents the bastion of privilege, inequality, and brainless exclusivity for the sake of it; everything wrong with British society today.
Naturally, the above could not be more attractive to the Tories. Annabel’s Mayfair has proven to be a natural fit for the ruling party, who opted to spend the first hours of being democratically-elected to government partying in the most democratic of institutions. The celebrations, hosted by Russian tycoon and owner of democratic press, were also joined by the likes of former Prime Minister David Cameron and Princess Beatrice in an unsettling cocktail of business, politics, celebrity and royalty stirred into one. Controversially, the billionaire Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is a long-standing and loyal member of the equally-if-not-more-exclusive sworn rival private-members establishment, 5 Hertford Street. From the outset of this government, Annabel’s Mayfair has sowed the seeds for internal strife and national division.
The case for its nationalisation has never been so strong. Forget rail providers, Royal Mail or Eon energy, Annabel’s Mayfair clearly does not serve the public interest. According to several leading economists, it provides a negative social value to society. Rather than encouraging people to queue up for over-crowded, ordinary but still overpriced ventures only a couple of streets away in Mayfair, it trades on membership that is most definitely not for the many but for the few. At £3250 for the year (without the £1750 joining fee, of course), membership at Annabel’s does not come with any discounts on dining or drinking. That’s right, there are up to twenty different menus across six different rooms, and a meal at any would easily exceed a NHS worker’s weekly wage.
If that wasn’t a sign of its rampant economic inefficiency, then what is? Clearly the hyper-inflated prices betray either astronomical costs or abnormal profits — a clear indicator of an operating monopoly. Membership prices should be going to local councils or political parties for the betterment of our communities. Or, at the very least, it should contribute towards paying the minimum wage of the very workers who have to tolerantly serve pretentious crowds for their pay-checks. But then again, maybe not: Annabel’s Mayfair didn’t seem to believe in the minimum wage until around 2009, when its hand was forced by the English courts. It seemed to live by the outlandish philosophy that one rule applied to them, and another to the rest of the business-world in the UK.
The time has come for this country to muster the collective will to rally against the elitist and unequal institution that is Annabel’s Mayfair. Labour’s nationalisation policies are dreadfully out of step with the real challenges of our time. Nationalisation of private-member Mayfair clubs is the only nationalisation policy our country needs — and the only way to deliver the next Labour government. It is not a remote possibility, the tools exist for this type of levelling-up and it is about time the Left side with the “woke” to prepare its blueprint.