Saturday, 14 February 2015

Taxing times - the rattled right

Whilst the pseudo-mayor of London was swanning his way around the United States, clearly demonstrating that he is no longer even remotely interested in a post for which he receives quite a lot of taxpayer subsidy, his mouthpiece, the oligarch toilet roll that is the Evening Standard, ran a headline from an aggrieved Tory grandee, called out on tax avoidance.  Apparently it is normal to avoid tax.

For most people, such ruses are neither available nor necessary.  Escaping tax liability through legitimate means is legal, and indeed can be beneficial - for example if it encourages household saving.  However, the moral blindness that the rich are perpetuating is hardly equivalent to providential planning - and the latest news of a property developer who fell through the HMRC net for 24 years, while spending £15,000 a month, does not exactly encourage the feeling of "we're all in this together".

The centre and left of politics is beginning to wake up to the vile chasm between the conduct of a small minority of the wealthy, and the assault on the welfare and security of the majority of the population.  We have been told that pensions are unaffordable, that education and health are expensive and that workplace protection is an obstacle to the perfect functioning of the market.  The Tories and UKIP are the prisoners of the plutocrats.  Instead of parroting the lies about being united in austerity, the right would be better placed examining its own conscience.

Equity of treatment is not too much to ask.  Whatever the outcome of the General Election, rule by consent remains fundamental.  The more the amorality and bare-faced hypocrisy of the international right is institutionalised, the harder sustaining any form of social and economic order becomes.  Wealth confers both privilege and responsibility - what is clear now is that accountability and scrutiny are hardly welcome additions.

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