Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A tax by any other name...

Tell me, fellow subjects, what is the difference between a tax, a "duty", a "charge" or a "licence fee" when the cash ends up being spent by the same bloke on the same things..?

Just as squirrels are rats with PR and a sense of theatre, some politician somewhere must have felt that it was worth the effort to try and masquerade house purchase tax as "stamp duty" - in a quaint allusion to a bygone age. It is nowt but a tax in pantaloons and tricorn hat in an age when President Blair and his closet republican henchmen (and women) are desperately trying to edge us towards becoming citizens, and no longer subjects.

This game of "when is a tax not a tax" doesn't always work out. One tax that was proposed in a coiffured wig, thigh length boots and leather hot pants ended up doing for a certain Margaret Thatcher. The "Community Charge" was instantly dubbed the "poll tax" by her opponents, and the rest is history.

Ironically, Red Ken Livingstone's infamous "Congestion Charge" seems to have raised £trillions, but even that's not enough to clear his irritating sinuses. What's that? Oh? I see! He actually meant to call it the "London Travel Tax", it has nothing to do with clearing congestion, nasal or streetwise. Every political address should carry the warning: Too much honesty may seriously endanger your re-electability.

Blair's very own combination of Brutus and Robespierre, Gordon Brown, has achieved a new benchmark in political fiscal chicanery with his complex system of retrospective taxes and emascualtion of the once thriving and essential pensions industry in order to fund Labour's traditional wasteful spending, most of which has been directed towards propping up regions - both geographic and demographic - that traditionally support the party.

Remind me, what happened to the Westminster councillors who attempted a spot gerrymandering on a relatively modest scale? It all goes to show that the bigger and more outrageous you are, the more likely it is that you will get away with it.

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