25 May 2009

A priesthood of politicians

I'm sure the irony won't be lost on many. The British Minister of Finance, the man who draws up the UK's taxation policy, claims for, and receives, £1400 of taxpayers' money so that he can pay somebody else to ensure that "the correct amount of tax was paid in respect of my office costs". It's not his personal fault, of course, that our politicians are now seen as a distinct caste. The rules they devise for the rest of us are too complex and too grubby for them to engage with fully. But being of the priesthood they have no need to. Frankly, I dread to see what form the public reaction to this expenses scandal and our parlous economic state will take. I hope it will re-orientate policy so that it is expressed in terms of meaningful outcomes for ordinary individuals, and that such a transition will take place without too much pain. I doubt it though.

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