I thought it’d be nice to have a localised “did you know” type article today, during this era where everyday folk die on our streets waiting for an ambulance, nurses cannot afford the petrol to get them to work, pensioners huddle together in community-led halls to keep warm, and a government which blames everything from a pandemic through to gas prices, Russians, and unions rather than its own incompetence that there’s “systems in place to help,” so, on a completely unrelated note, here goes…..
Did you know between the villages of Whitley and Gastard, on the Melksham to Corsham road, there’s what looks like a modest warehouse with a sizable office atop called Cert Octavian?
From ground up it looks like any other small business premises, other than the high security fence and gatehouse, but inside there’s a goods train which decends into a mine, of over a million square feet.
During the war the mine was used to store munitions, today, because of its constant ambient temperature it’s the perfect environment to store wine. Cert Octavian are a logicistics company, storing bonded wine from worldwide collectors and traders. Their collections are recorded, photographed and documents are sent to the clinet. Then it’s stored underground, millions of pallets of it. Anything from twenty to fifty pallets can arrive there daily, from every corner of the globe but mostly, obviously, from the Châteaus of Bourdeaux. Pallets of eight crates a layer, seven high, each crate with twelve bottles inside, ranging an average of £1,000 a bottle and gaining value with every second that passes.
The owners of the wine rarely see any of it, let alone drink it. A tiny fraction of their collection might be called on for a special occasion, but more likely its traded with another collector, so it will be bought to the surface, sent to the clinet, or to Sotherbys, Christie’s in New York, or similar auction and sent back to Cert Octavian to restore by a different customer, or more generally, simply bought to the surface, relabelled with the new clinet’s details, and sent back down again.
Traders usually buy in yen and sell in US dollar to achieve maximum profit, but why you may ask. Why have all this wine, so much wine they or their conceited bum chums couldn’t possibly drink it all in their lifetimes?
Because they are not wine conissours at all, and have no intention of ever taking so much as a sip. If they pose as them it’s a smokescreen. They’re worldwide investors, and as wine is a liquid assest they pay no tax on it; not a stitch, not a single penny. Billions upon billions of untaxable stock, just sitting down there, collecting profit and dust. Dust, sitting atop more money than you or I could possibly imagine.
The only people who will ever see it are the warehouse staff. Ask me how I know; I was, for a short peroid, one of those staff members; even honoured to drive the train once, choo-choo, which wasn’t as much fun as it sounds!
I saw it with my own eyes, saw the millionaire contracts from a single crate, and when I left they asked I return the polo shirt workwear they gave me!
Not that it’s for me to suggest the sickening inequality, a tenacious link between this economic recession and the greed of billionaires, simply because they, quite literally, want the shirt off my back. Neither is it for me to suggest how much revenue taxing this vast stock would procure, or the effects if a government had the balls to demand it’s now taxable, or even weighing it up against the NHS or the £2,436.7 billion national deficit, though I’m sure it’d cover both with enough spare to throw a party or twenty.
Or further still, not that it’s for me to suggest the billionaires could engage in what us peasants are asked of us; to “pull together for the good of the country.”
No, of course not, it’s not for me to suggest at all, anymore than the notion the trillions of untaxed pounds stored under Gastard is but a small player in the global untaxed wealth stashed in offshore accounting, tax loopholes, bogus company money laundering and illegal trades of drugs or weapons, but, you know, just thought it was an interesting bit of local historical information, that’s all. You have a good day now, you hear? Work on, pay your taxes, choose between heating your home or feeding your kids, and be bloody grateful!