Monday, 29 August 2011

The French disconnection

Having decided to emulate a more sensible mode of existence, by maintaining silence for most of August and attempting not to fulminate about every single idiocy that has emanated from our beloved government since the riots provided the perfect shield for authoritarian posturing, my attention has wandered away from the cankerous UK domestic debacle.

Instead I found myself wondering whether anybody here would dare to suggest, as leading French business people have done, that the state of public finances is so dire that the rich ought to pay a bit more in order to accelerate deficit reduction.  The more mature nature of political discourse allowed this to be given a serious hearing, even in a country where public life has been diluted by the Thatcher/Blair worshipping that Sarkozy has adopted (albeit intermittently).

The English attitude to tax seems to be that it is something to avoid, evade and for other people to pay in order to provide the societal underpinnings that the pettifogging readers of mid-market tabloids seem to regard as their birthright.  I honestly can't imagine the parasitical and greedy being prepared to sacrifice some of their excess income to benefit the society that has allowed them to become bloated pustules on the face of social cohesion.  Would the City and their cronies in consultancy and politics go down the same route?  They'd rather cut services and entitlements for those below them in the income scale, kicking away the ladder and simultaneously bemoaning others' lack of entrepreneurial spirit.

That prime buffoon, Boris the Philanderer, has called for a reduction in the 50% tax band to keep these people sweet - and voting for him - while any economist would argue that the marginal benefit of keeping any of these selfish cretins (whose record in commercial and financial judgement would probably be equalled by a couple of monkeys pushing at a keyboard) in the UK is in fact a cost that we can ill afford.

Indeed the "mansion tax" idea, which the Liberals put forward at the election, is extremely attractive.  This would catch non-doms and bonus fraudsters equally as you can't hide land.  Add this to a suitable 50% threshold (say £100,000) and you have the basis of a plausible claim that "we're all in this together", especially as taxing those who have gained wealth without effort or who are managing their affairs to avoid any tax that repays the states that have given them opportunity is a clear signal that you can't evade your obligations.

Nothing changes - we continue to be misruled in the name of others' greed and expected to tug our forelocks to these people.  I remain convinced we need to be more European in outlook, and much less deferential to people whose vested interests are designed to maintain subjugation and destroy the quality of life for those whose moral scruples or misfortune mean that they are not acolytes of the selfish and venal.

Will we hear anything more about higher taxes?  I doubt it.  Turkeys don't vex their clients, especially when they're carrying a cleaver.

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