Monday, 11 April 2022

All following the same rules


If the government were a football team, the strong support given to the Chancellor over the weekend by the club chairman, Boris Johnson, would have been widely interpreted as meaning that Sunak was about to resign, but hadn’t been told yet. In this case, however, the chairman needs to retain someone who’s doing such a good job of diverting attention from his own failings, so an involuntary resignation doesn’t appear to be imminent. This leaves the Chancellor free to pursue his penchant for ignoring the first rule of holes, which is to stop digging. Having been caught out doing something which almost everyone considers to be, at best, a little dodgy, best practice would be to admit it and hope to move on. Setting up a mole hunt to find out who leaked the information is a guaranteed way of giving the story more legs, as is the Chancellor’s formal request for a full investigation into his own financial arrangements. We can write the outcome of that investigation now, in a single sentence: ‘no rules were broken’; but the question of the morality of it all will still hang over him.

According to a report in the Sunday Times yesterday, one of the first things Sunak did on being appointed as a minister in 2018 was to sit down “with … the head of propriety and ethics, and [talk] her through his own finances, reported to amount to £200 million, and that of his wife”. Apparently, he told her that his wife was a non-dom for tax purposes and also that they both held green cards which had been obtained by declaring themselves to be permanent residents of the US. Her response was not reported by the paper, but it is surely unlikely that any ethics adviser – even one appointed by probably the most unethical government in history – would not have raised an eyebrow or three and asked him to consider how it might look if it were to become public. An outcome of that discussion under which Sunak decided to tell as few people as possible, including not even telling his boss, in itself suggests a certain awareness that it might not be an entirely good look.

Still, there is one potential benefit to come out of all of this, given the number of Tories prepared to argue that the finances of a husband and wife are entirely separate and should not be considered together. I’m sure that they’ll be equally sympathetic to any future benefits claimant who refuses to give any financial details of other members of the household on the basis that they aren’t the ones making the claim and that it’s unfair to consider the household income as a whole. After all, they wouldn’t want to argue that different rules apply to themselves, would they?


dafis said...

The silence on a root and branch change of the UK taxation is deafening. No politician has piped up. It's all about Rishi and his Mrs as though the rest of them are lilly white. What a shower.

Anonymous said...

The real question in all of this is why does this country need to raise so much tax. Honest answer, because we have so many claiming benefits.

Time for a re-think. Benefits don't benfit anymone!

John Dixon said...


Are taxes particularly high in UK? Are benefits particularly high in UK? Why is it only benefits (as opposed to other expenditure) which causes taxes to be at current levels? Why are people on benefits? What is the relationship between government expenditure and taxation? What is taxation for? What is the duty of a government to its citizens? Such a short question, with so many assumptions, biases and prejudices behind it. Too many to deal with in detail here, especially when so hopelessly off-topic.

dafis said...

Anon and John - I deplore benefit scroungers especially those who don't really need any extra cash to make end meet. You may well ask who might these well heeled scroungers be ? Well the answer is simple. There is a huge raft of large mostly mature corporate entities who have increasingly topped up their revenues by sucking out grants and other handouts either in the form of money or low cost assets. Some of these are now disinclined to do anything unless there's an "incentive" offered which means there is less in the so called public "kitty" for deployment where there is real need - like poor people, either unemployed or on lower incomes, and small businesses, either early stage embryonic ventures or longer term struggling to trade out of the cataclysm imposed upon them by this and previous idiot governments.

Taxes are high, mainly due to the wasteful nature of UKGov. However despite the pleas of being aiming for low taxes, blah blah, the primary aim of the current regime is to extract as much as it can from the lower income demographic segments and transfer it p.d.q into the coffers of their corporate friends. This is a new form of Corporate State, doing its best to look soft and cuddly on the outside but working for the seriously mean and nasty bastards who really run the show.

Spirit of BME said...

Poor Little ‘Risky’ Sunak feeling the heat, but it`s the stuff that sells newspapers.
When I hire a barber or dentist, I am not interested in his financial or family set up – if they are legal. I hire them and if they can`t do te job, I fire them. I think your relationship with God, Doctor and Taxman should be private and protected in law.
Your reply to Anon 00.43 is the truth, but I am warming to the call-in radical circles to ‘Defund’ government departments (at least shot term), as hosing down departments with millions/billions of pounds with no change to behaviour or outcomes is not sustainable.
Anon 00.43 mentioned wasteful Benefits, but there is a settled view here, based on our Christian background, not to allow people to die on the streets, as I have seen in some so-called socialist counties in Africa and South Asia.
HMG in London and Caerdydd are far too centralised, they pass laws to create wealth and then pass other laws to suppress business through taxes and regulations. Local government should have a veto on the wealth creating laws to ensure no harm is done to their economy and community