Friday, 19 March 2010

Non-doms, ditty dom dom ... DOM...

Such is the state of the world at the moment that I feel compelled to release myself from my self-imposed blog ban (or 'blan' -- I am sooo back), lest I damage my internal organs holding in all this shit that presses mercilessly upon my sphincters, desperate to be unleashed into a world so obviously in need of having violent poo flung at it. (And glad to see that my time off has tempered my penchant for dramatic metaphor.) Yes, those mysterious 'other projects' whirl away rather nicely, thanks, but needs must and like Superman, or Spiderman... whichever went away and then came back because they learned how responsibility weighs heavy on the shoulders of the hero... oh dear. That metaphor appears to have run it's course.

No matter! Because there are things that must be talked about, things that a 140-character tweet simply cannot contain. But where to begin? I want to talk about University funding. I want to talk about the ongoing war between the zombies and the vampires as they choose sides in the inevitable UK general election. I want to talk about those Dementors that lurk at the cross-walk outside my sons' school. But first up, the boring boring boring topic of Ashcroft and the non-dom political party donor. Because it's essential, because it is about the world we are making for ourselves, because it has massive ramifications for the election, but mainly, because it's quick and easy.

Look. It's simple. Does the average UK voter, as Nick Robinson repeatedly asks (happily unaware how this undermines his own existence), really care if Michael Ashcroft (fuck 'Lord') is a non-dom for UK tax purposes? Did William Hague know about blah blah and when did he know or not know blah or did he do a secret deal with so-and-so? When did Cameron become aware of whatever? Does Lord Such-and-Such of Somewhere pay lots or little or no tax? Because he once lent a fiver to Alistair Darling...

No. None of this matters. What does matter is that, once again, the British electorate, British politics and, in particular, the Conservative Party, are in the clutches of a mega-wealthy elite that are uniquely damaging to Britain's national interest. I say 'uniquely damaging' in that their role in British (right-wing) politics is directly -- and I suppose unsurprisingly -- related to an area in which they should be specifically and explicitly barred from participating. Like letting the grandson of a warmongering ex-prime minister complain about defence spending. Or like an Australian-American setting British policy on Europe. (And, once, a Canadian, too, but in a move that guaranteed Jean Chr├ętien a place on Canada's Mount Rushmore, if we can ever be bothered to make one, Conrad Black was stripped of his Canadian citizenship.) Or like, in this case, a Belizean man who does not pay UK tax (potentially worth tens of millions of pounds a year), demanding in this country a regressive tax policy that favours the wealthy, and funding potential MPs that will when elected argue for smaller government on the basis that we cannot afford such lavish public services. THAT is the real problem here.

There. A stupid, obvious point that shouldn't have needed making, I think you'll agree. Why we're not hearing this more vociferously from people who are much more intelligent, and much better informed than I, I do not know.

But this is only a symptom of what we face in the wider context of the election. As Polly Toynbee said in a recent (and always excellent) Guardian politics podcast: There is a difference between a party that knows they have to trim the budget and cut public services and a party that really wants to cut those services, that are salivating at the prospect like Dracula poised at a throbbing virgin's jugular. [edit: it's not really the innocent young virgin the Tories are after, but the saggy, wrinkled old carcass of its usual victim, already drained of most of its lifeforce who, despite a recent transfusion, nevertheless seems to be ready to offer herself up one last time to the evil that promises to finish her off. Yes. That's better.]

Spread the word before May 6th. Please.

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