Last week was the first St George's Day where I felt there was nothing to be proud of about being English. Instead there was the depressing thought of our deterioration into a mess that would leave both my grandfathers, who passed away during World War II, rolling in their graves. Macro indicators and statistics out every few days recently show that we come up near bottom of the pile whether for financial, social or wellbeing criteria.
There is no exaggeration, or Tory propaganda, in saying that Wednesday was the most disastrous budget in UK history. The plans to borrow almost 348bn debt over the next two years (that's 6m per British citizen!) amount to more borrowing than that of every previous Government in history combined. The long-term ramifications for this are eyepopping - according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies it will take until 2032 for Britain's debt to be under control again.
There's no way that the Tories regaining power next year will alleviate the irreversible economic damage caused by The Labour Party. Therefore, if you don't want your children to suffer the failings of such staggering incompetency, there seems little alternative to leaving the country.
I'm hardly alone in this view, and indeed since Wednesday the only talk amongst my peers from Cambridge and at the bank have been strategies to make a sharp exit, of course exacerbated by the decision to raise income tax to 50% over 150k.
I'm actually a supporter of progressive tax fundamentally, and was in the minority of high earners who favoured initial plans to raise to 45% above 150k. 50%, however, is the straw that breaks the camel's back. My concern is that UK plc could easily lose money through the mass exodus of high earners, increased attempts at tax avoidance, and putting off future job-creating entrepreneurs from reaching our shores. Many experts agree.
Elsewhere in the world, efforts to work hard to make something of yourself - pursue your goals and hopes, and fulfil your aspirations, whether that is to get rich or excel in your main field of interest, are widely applauded and supported. In the UK, ambition is treated with disdain and contempt.
In my last article, I mentioned I'd earned over 1m after tax by age 25 through a range of entreprising initiatives along with my day job. My inbox was subsequently brimful of support, thanks and good wishes mostly from foreigners (including some very well known, successful entrepreneurs), and ugly hate mail from Britons. Add to that the ignorant hatred from the British public to anyone working in finance, as if all "bankers" do the same job and are solely to blame for the mess, and one thing is clear - this country has to be one of the least welcoming on the planet for anyone with an ounce of ambition to succeed.
This country also has to be the worst in the developing world when it comes to the high tax rate vs quality of public services. As a commentator said in response to a recent eFinancialCareers article, "Denmark and Sweden have very high taxes and immense quality of life. You get what you pay for." Indeed, I probably wouldn't be so bothered about paying a tax rate rivaling that of our Nordic neighbours if we got globally enviable healthcare, education and services as a result.
Add in national insurance, council tax, stamp duty, VAT on everything purchased, and endless other taxes and of my hard-earned income ~65% goes to the taxman. Knowing very well the proportion of that which is wasted - from Jacqui Smith expensing a 550 proverbial kitchen in her sister's home to needless six-figure annual pensions for civil service paper-pushers, even the most socialist of high earners is likely to complain.
Given all of the above, I'd be curious to see why anyone would want to stay in this hole. If you have friends/family the world's a small place. With zero tax and next to no crime in Dubai, things almost as good in Singapore, the West Coast of the USA welcoming entrepreneurs with open arms, a job fairly similar to your own in New York and many institutions expanding in Switzerland, now is the time to take action instead of sitting here and moaning.
'Henry' graduated from Cambridge University in 2004, and is now a 26 year old Vice President working as an FX trader at a major investment bank. Some of that is not strictly true as he feebly attempts to retain his anonymity (after 7 friends have now figured out who he is), but he is very, very real. He welcomes your hate mail, date proposals, job offers and requests for career advice at email@example.com