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Call Me Dave – a prize git on Carr, Morality and Tax

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 21 June 2012

David Cameron says that Jimmy Carr’s tax avoidance scheme is morally wrong. But he admits that it is not illegal. And so he says that he is looking at new legislation (general tax avoidance rules) to make it illegal. David Cameron is a prize git and with this attention seeking outburst he shows it once again.

As Tim Worstall points out here – it is morally wrong to shag your wife’s sister but it is not illegal. I am told that my late godfather (not married at the time) attempted to seduce the babysitter despite a 35 year age gap. Arguably that was morally wrong. But should it be made illegal to shag the sister in law/a babysitter 35 years your junior simply because the rulers of the day find it “morally wrong?”

What next? Perhaps a different PM and House of Commons decides that homosexuality is morally wrong and makes it illegal again? Or that divorce is morally wrong and should be made so hard that we go back to the days when you had to set up pictures to show your own infidelity to escape a doomed marriage? Maybe a hardline aethist will ban Christmas. Okay I joke about that point but it is not up to our leaders (who showed a fine sense of personal morality on the matter of expenses) to impose their moral code on us by law. And if CMD is still tempted, need I mention “back to basics?”

And anyhow imposing new laws to make Jimmy Carr pay more tax will not work. You make laws more complex and lawyers/accountants devise ever more complex ways around them. The super rich can always afford such advice and will always use it. If Cameron had half a brain cell he would look back to the last time his party had a proper leader (the blessed Margaret) and cut tax for high earners. At once they would stop trying to avoid it and just pay. Tax receipts would go up. But of course that would play badly with the masses and, like Blair, all that Cameron cares about is grabbing vote winning headlines, rather than actually making Britain a better place.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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