Yesterday, wax-faced hypocrite David "smug mug" Cameron jumped on the latest speedy bandwagon of moral outrage when he berated puerile punster Jimmy Carr for immorality over his use of a tax avoidance scheme. Maybe you agree with our constantly chummy PM, if you'll spare me a few moments of your time, I'll tell you why he, and possibly you, are wrong.
If you were buying a house and paid £249,999 for it rather than £250,000 and you paid that £1 less in order to avoid paying 3% tax instead of 1%, would you be acting immorally or wisely? Be honest now, it's not a tough one, is it? But wait, there's more...
If you were buying a house, and the government announced a stamp duty holiday for three months, and you deliberately altered your purchase date to fall just one day into the stamp duty holiday, thereby avoiding all tax on the purchase would you expect the ire and indignation of the PM that presumably ok'd the stamp duty holiday in the first place? Of course not, don't be so stupid.
If a company director receives shares as well as salary, is he immoral for not receiving as much remuneration as possible through PAYE? Really?? You're joking, right?
Have you ever avoided buying petrol from a petrol station because you knew it was cheaper down the road? Well if you have you are a dirty stinking immoral tax dodger and to hell with you, says Mr. C in his usual mocking tone.
The thing is there is evasion of tax, which is not only immoral but actually a crime, and there's avoidance of tax which is not only sensible, BUT TOTALLY LEGAL. WE ALL DO IT ALL THE TIME. For Cameron to then say "There is nothing wrong with people planning their tax affairs to invest in their pension and plan for their retirement - that sort of tax management is fine" just reveals how arbitrary his "moral line" is.
I'll tell you what is immoral - being the head of a government which has done nothing to clear up the mess and inequality caused by a broken and abused tax system, and then decrying anyone that uses that broken tax system to their advantage. Feisty anonymous blogger fleetstreetfox makes the case for a consumption tax, and while I don't fully agree (what about the pensioners, and how do you allocate allowances etc) she's right in that we should scrap the entire system and start again.
Oh yes, and Gary Barlow uses the same scheme as Jimmy Carr, but Cameron didn't pick on him did he?