How else can you describe the following?
@OwenJones84 Have you ever avoided tax Owen? Before answering, remember it includes shopping in duty free stores—
Toby Young (@toadmeister) June 20, 2012
Who is the greater force for social justice? The 'tax dodger' who creates 100 jobs or the compliant employer who creates 10?—
Tim Montgomerie (@TimMontgomerie) June 20, 2012
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg:"We have a moral duty to obey the law - we do not have a moral duty to pay more tax than the law requires"#newsnight—
BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) June 20, 2012
Yes, these are all meant sincerely. Neither conservative MPs nor the conservative media are apparently capable of understanding what’s so abhorrent about flouting one’s social duty and not bothering to pay your share. As long as you can craftily carve out a path which protects you from prosecution, no moral objections may be made. It doesn’t matter if you’re obviously acting contrary to the spirit of the law, directly contradicting the purposes and intentions of the taxation system. If Montgomerie has it his way, you may even be praised for performing such a dodge.
Here’s Toby Young elaborating on his farcical tweet to Jones, trying his very best:
The moral case for forcing the rich to pay more tax isn’t as clear-cut as Shaxson seems to think. One of the more amusing chapters in Treasure Islands concerns the Vesteys, for many years Britain’s wealthiest family, who Shaxson treats as a case study in financial chicanery. But as Edmund Vestey says: “Let’s face it, nobody pays more tax than they have to.”
When you think about it that’s true. And far from being immoral, it’s perfectly rational.
Because if you can prove that a certain act pays financially and thus makes individual economic sense, that means it cannot be wrong. Seriously.
I know Cameron has come out with a condemnation of Carr, but the consensus seems to be that he’ll live to regret it. The Times hasn’t finished its exposures yet, after all. Who’s to say it won’t be Tory MPs or donors on the front page tomorrow? It already feels awkward and opportunistic when he followed it up with silence on Gary Barlow (no doubt his Jubilee involvement exempts him from the public’s anger). And, of course, he was happy to take in (Sir) Philip Green for policy advice and refused to comment on his tax avoidance. Maybe Rees Mogg had this in mind and attempted some damage limitation.
Carr has apologised, by the way. If he’s sincere, he’ll be following it up with a cheque for the Treasury. We can dream.