Hard Times of Old England Retold

No, this isn’t about the rugby, though I’m sure we’re all feeling a little sore about that stunning turn-around by Wales yesterday.

And this isn’t another post about the lack of devolution in England, that is to say, the dire need for an English parliament.

No, it’s The Imagined Village, re-working a classic…

And the original version, in its beautiful simplicity, by The Copper Family

Missing: twenty five billion pounds

One of my favourite blogs is Labour and Capital by the charming Tom P. His post on quotations and social proof prompted me to reproduce another post of his:

I’m sure most people saw the TUC report today on tax avoidance. If not you can download it here and and the first bit from the release is below:

[T]he public purse loses £13 billion a year through tax avoidance by the wealthy and £12 billion a year through tax avoidance by corporations. Altogether this adds up to £25 billion – or around £1,000 a year for everyone at work in the UK.

I noticed an interesting comment about the background to the report in this piece about it in the FT:

The TUC believes it is tapping into a growing mood of resentment about the super-rich. The view, prevalent in the 1990s, that targeting the wealthy would be seen as a politically unpopular attack on people’s aspirations, is fading.

I think this is spot on. Because of the darkening economic picture people are fearful, and don’t like seeing that some groups in society still coining it in whilst they are being told to keep they pay increases below inflation. In addition the disclosure that the richest people in the UK often pay a lower rate of tax than most of us is really starting to seep into the popular consciousness.

It will be interesting to see how this unease plays out politically given that the main parties still don’t seem to think that rich-bashing is a shrewd strategy.

That TUC report was authored by another blogger, Richard Murphy, of Tax Research UK. He is rightly proud of the press coverage it achieved – though I suspect it will not be as big an issue as that of welfare abolition (whoops, sorry, forgot to use the code-word “reform”!).

You can forget about the low taxes paid by the super-rich and the high taxes paid by working people becoming a political hot potato. Don’t expect New Labour and the Tories fighting the next general election over who’s going to make sure big business coughs up…

As Richard says of these issues:

there is only one reason why they aren’t being addressed, and that’s cowardice.

Well, there’s another.

Without the support of the capitalist class – their financial support to run campaigns and their media to get the message across – what hope does mister Gordavenick Browneron-Clegg have in winning the election?

Sorry to end on a sour note, but for fuck’s sake – twenty-five billion pounds in unpaid taxes!