Ween off the spending Dave, don’t lecture

Instead of lecturing about morality, David Cameron should put the state on a diet

Time for the state to go on a diet
Simon Miller
On 4 January 2013 15:33

Here we go again. Despite the poor economy, despite the worsening debt, even despite the fact that investors have jumped into French debt rather than UK debt, Call-me-Dave has declared that foreign companies that avoided paying large corporation tax in the UK, “lack moral scruples”.

How many times do politicians, and for that matter columnists, need to be told that there should never be an issue of morality when it comes to tax?

In the cold light of day, the only issue about tax is whether it works and with the rate of receipts falling and borrowing rising it is clear that it is failing.

The government has made great fun over French plans to raise taxation rates, urging companies and citizens to pop over Le Manche to our “fairer” system, but – as always with Cameron – the message is decidedly mixed. One minute he is displaying a bit of leg in an entente cordiale, the next Dave is getting his knickers in a twist about the dubious issue of morality and tax.

For any politician or civil servant to lecture about morality when it comes to taxation is laughable. For a start, taxation came about to pay for war – some morality there – and like all things in State, as soon as it arrived it would never be removed.

Is it moral for the State to take vast amounts of our monies in ever-ingenious ways to spend in terms of a metropolitan clique’s idea of what is right? We see vast amounts of monies being used with increasing incompetence to prop up a system that propagates the client, corporatist state without cause or concern for the people and companies that pay for the damned thing in the first place.

The lack of accountability is astonishing hence the arrogance behind the “we know best” attitude is unfortunately unsurprising.

For instance, although I fully understand the concept of soft diplomacy in line with foreign aid, is it necessary to guarantee billions to be spent when, eventually, some serious cuts will have to be made over here despite what politicians of all shades claim at this moment? Is it right that we still give aid to Argentina despite its fraud and economic mis-management, let alone its belligerence and refusal to acknowledge the principle of self-determination of the Falkland islanders?

The waste and spend culture of the State continues without abatement to such an extent that it has to find new ways of squeezing the pips.

It is now a requirement, for example, to have a photo-driving licence. OK, not a huge deal perhaps; but you are required by law to have a new photo every ten years and for that privilege you have to pay £20. So over  the lifetime of a licence you will fork out £140 on average and what’s the bet that this, like passports, changes into yet another revenue scam for the agency involved with prices going ever upwards?

You see politicians and civil servants alike quite like being Daddy Warbucks. They like displaying munificence to the people. The problem is, courtesy of Gordon Brown, all that cash splashed about, all that money they threw on pet projects, all that taxpayers’ dough spent to create those officials and executives, has run out.

But they don’t want to think about that. They don’t want to consider that maybe, just maybe, the job of the State could be done by less than half the people involved today. Hell, it was considered that around 4,000 individuals ran the British Empire.

They cannot see that by freeing up the private sector, by creating the economic conditions for the private sector to grow, they would reduce expenditure and eventually increase receipts.

So the likes of Cameron carp on about morality – conveniently forgetting about the tax paid by workers, UK bosses, and UK shareholders – telling business leaders that there were a lot of things that were in the law that “we don’t do because actually we have some moral scruples about them and I think we need this debate about tax too”.

According to our Prime Minister, avoidance is to be unacceptable in the future. By whose measure? Avoidance is legal and I would encourage anyone that can to do so as the bloated State really needs a post-New Year diet.

Engorged on vast spending, the last thing this country needs is it to find yet more ways of wasting money.

If Cameron wants to talk about morality in money, then I suggest he looks closer at the very system that he is meant to supposedly manage.

Simon Miller is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator

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