Bailing out Richard Branson comes with a big price

Richard Branson is asking British taxpayers – a club he resigned from when he moved his affairs to the lax tax regime of the Virgin Islands – to bail him out. With an estimated fortune of £4.7 billion, he is richer than any man needs to be. Yet he still wants a country – whose health and emergency services his taxes are not supporting in their moment of greatest need – to lend the Virgin Atlantic airline £500 million. The government has rejected Virgin Atlantic’s advances to date, but not for reasons you and I would cite. The Financial Times reports that officials turned down the airline’s initial bid because