Monday 23 January 2023

Doing the right thing


The Chair of the Tory Party told us over the weekend that he had settled the HMRC claim against him for unpaid taxes because it “…was the right thing to do”. It’s one of the few things that he’s ever said with which it’s hard to disagree – paying the taxes which are due under the law is, of course, the right thing to do. The wording of his statement – that he paid up “so that I could focus on my life as a public servant” – might reasonably be interpreted, however, as implying that it only became the ‘right thing to do’, in his eyes, when he was appointed as Chancellor. Prior to that, the impression he gives is clearly that he felt justified in arguing the toss. I suppose that starting to be honest about his finances once appointed Chancellor still makes him a tad more honourable than the man who appointed him to the role, who has never felt constrained to behave ethically whether in or out of office.

His statement, however, raises more questions that it answers (the Guardian has a handy list of those things which we still don’t know here). He clearly believes at this stage that he can bluff and brazen his way through the controversy by declining to provide any more information – that is, after all, the approach taken repeatedly by the man who appointed him Chancellor, and it worked well enough for him – until it didn’t. He has made it very clear that he will not be resigning, a statement which puts the ball back very firmly in the PM’s court. A quick resignation now might, just about, let Sunak off this particular hook, although it’s not the only one from which he is currently trying to escape. A refusal forces Sunak either to sack him or else to continue to defend the indefensible, and mire himself deeper in the sleaze pit which his party has become. It is a source of never-ending surprise to me that, despite all the past experience of PM after PM, the first instinct of all of them is to try and cling on to those they have appointed. It drags out the story and makes the ultimate resignation/ sacking look like weakness instead of strength. Do they really have no-one close to the PM telling him to act quickly and decisively to get rid of an embarrassment? That would be the core of any message from any serious PR professional, yet still Sunak dithers. He has two days before he faces Starmer at PMQs – does he really want to do so with all those questions still unanswered?


dafis said...

Makes one wonder how much crap is yet to be discovered about the P.M. All the dithering about dumping a third rate chancer ( not an abbreviation of Chancellor!)reminds me of a slow peeling of an onion. Off comes one layer, then another ......

Spirit of BME said...

My chums in low- places advise that when he was proposed for the post, the Treasury raised a red flag that he was under investigation. However, the assumption of innocence is a powerful argument plus they were running out of Canadases to fill such a high office and the appointment was confirmed.
For my part those in public office their personal affairs should be protected. I am not interested in their relationship with the tax man, but I am concerned at the quality of those asking the questions. I believe medical records are for the individual and their medical practitioner , but again I believe that a test of competence should operate such as when you take to the wheel. Lastly, I believe your conversation with your religious confessor, be it Minister or Priest should not be in the public domain.