We are very quick to put our celebs and famouses up on pedestals in this society, and then we are equally as quick to smash the pedestal out from under them at the first opportunity. Then we all sit back on the moral high horse and poke them with the judgement stick in the hope they then wander off into the sunset.
This week it has been the turn of David Beckham to have said perch removed, just over a week after he was all over the news after his stint on Desert Island Discs. The luxury he chose, a book on how to cook on an open fire, sold out instantly following the programme and our hearts melted a bit as he chose a song in French to remind him of his days playing in Paris. Fast forward a week and the press are crucifying him for, shock horror
murdering puppies knocking old grannies over in the street cheating on his wife with an 18 year old waitress being honest in some emails to his manager about how he feels on various matters.
Emails that were stolen from a server.
And possibly used as a blackmail tool, being released when the ransom wasn’t paid if we are to believe latest developments.
The story thus far revolves around the fact that David showed his disappointment at not being offered a Knighthood after he helped with the successful Olympic bid, did a lot of charity work and finally retired from football after 20 years. Quite frankly who wouldn’t be disappointed? Who in his position wouldn’t discuss it with a friend over email? If you felt that you were eligible to be nominated then why not?
Some would say, I guess, that the Honours system is out of date. I would disagree. It is recognition for work done, often for little reward. Generally those that make up the bulk of the lists are not global “brands” as the Beckhams are, but are hard working individuals nominated by their peers who want to show how much they appreciate their colleague or friend. My own father in law received a BEM for his services to hockey. It made headlines in his local town, it put hockey on the map, and it recognised his tireless work at grass roots level for a sport that was much overlooked prior to our teams doing so well in the last Olympics.
Olympians are rewarded to recognise the sacrifices they have made possibly for their entire lives as they got up at 5am, trained, ensured they ate the right foods, made themselves available for drugs testing in hotels at 7am. A Knighthood, or a Damehood recognises that. It gives us an opportunity to get behind them and say thank you, and gives the recipient something to then use for the further good. Charities they support will find it easier if they have a noted figure on their letterhead to get funding and all manner of support.
That is what these awards do, and it stands to reason that by not being recognised David Beckham might just want to discuss it over email. Never for one moment thinking those emails may one day be leaked to the press.
Have people nothing better to do than to leak private correspondence? Seriously, how vile do you need to be to blackmail somebody over emails you have stolen? And emails that in the grand scheme of things are not even remotely interesting.
Okay so David has an opinion on Katherine Jenkins. Is that a crime?
He also mentioned he didn’t want to donate £1 million to a charity function. No real mention of the fact he had already donated £5 million of his income to charity that year. No, that doesn’t make headlines does it?
The news further developed yesterday that the possible knighthood nomination was blocked by HMRC who had put a red flag on his application. For something David hadn’t actually done himself. Taking advice from a trained professional who assured him, and others, that an investment scheme was a legitimate way to avoid paying as much tax. Okay, on paper that sounds shady, but at the time it was legal. And it wasn’t avoiding tax on his entire income, it was on a portion of it. He was still paying sizeable chunks in tax, both as personal income tax, and presumably Corporation Tax on Brand Beckham. David took the advisor’s advice, hell he might not have even had much say in the matter, leaving all his financial affairs to somebody else to sort out on his behalf. I know if I was in his position I certainly would. It was later discovered that HMRC frowned on the scheme and shut it down. Those that used it, legally, were caught in the crossfire.
Despite the fact that he is living in England.
Earning money in England
Paying tax in England
He has been refused a Knighthood
Unlike Sir Phillip Green
Who doesn’t live in England
Who transferred a large chunk of assets to his wife
In what might appear to some to be a tax avoidance scheme
None of that relevant though it would seem and even since the demise of BHS and the chaos and despair that their pension scheme is in, Sir Phillip has held on to his Knighthood.
Whilst the press is asking us to focus on what somebody has said in a private email the rest of the world is in freefall as a reality TV star pushes us to the brink of world war three.
Where is the perspective now?
Image of David Beckham, courtesy of Shutterstock