J.K. Rowling on welfare and patriotism

by Chris Bertram on April 14, 2010

Surfing around, listening to Neil Young, and thinking that, perhaps, someone should buy Bryan Caplan some Edith Wharton novels (or, failing that, Terence Davies’s film of The House of Mirth), when I came across J.K. Rowling’s “magnificent piece in today’s Times”:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article7096786.ece about what it was like as an impoverished single mother under the last Tory government, how her life changed when she became one of the richest women in Britain, her attitudes not so much:

bq. 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.

bq. 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. On the available evidence, I suspect that it is Lord Ashcroft’s idea of being a mug