Peter Hitchens thinks it’s okay that Gary Barlow has avoided paying tax because it’s a shame that tax exists at all. What?
Yeah, I suppose it would be easier if we all just pretended we were the only person alive and behaved accordingly.
He says that we’re not morally obliged to pay tax, that we only do it because it’s the law. So long as whatever you do is within the law, it’s okay.
He doesn’t like how taxes are spent. It would be impossible to spend our taxes in a way that everyone was happy with, but on a general level, exceptional failures aside, our taxes provide us with an utterly incredible health service, an amazing world-class education, military sorts, rozzers, support for if we’re unable to work AND a pair of houses full of meat-faced-men and other Romulans that we’ve picked, paid to run things. It’s how a civilised society works. A society full of humans which we acknowledge are gregarious and codependent and have some inkling of self-awareness and compassion. So of course we have a moral, as well as legal imperative to pay our taxes.
I’d love to see Peter survive in the completely dog-eat-dog, wholly-individualistic horror show of a world that he wishes for us all (like if UKIP ever got in) where we’re all just roaming, indifferent to the needs of others and unconfined by shitty formalities like ‘any responsibility’ or ‘compromise’ or ‘sharing’. Imagine watching him try, it would be like when Joey Essex was on The Cube all over again.
Avoidance, evasion. Who cares? If something isn’t illegal that doesn’t make it okay. Most omissions aren’t criminal in English law so in theory you could pass a child drowning in a pond and it wouldn’t be illegal not to try and help it. I can just imagine Peter’s offaly wet smile as he walked on by. Probably humming Dione Warwick, singing ‘walk on by’. It’s not against the law, so it’s fine. It’s not against the law to cheat on your partner, it’s not against the law to lie, it’s not against the law to self-harm, IT’S NOT AGAINST THE LAW TO TRY AND GET OFF WITH A WASP, PETER. Are those things fine? Are they what Gary Barlow’s fans would have wanted?
The law tries to make sure we all pay a fair amount of tax according to what we earn, it’s just that people are sometimes selfish and greedy, so it’s always having to catch up. The word ‘loophole’ doesn’t suggest a glaringly benevolent choice does it? The very fact that it’s called a loophole hardly makes it stink of legitimacy.
Imagine that all together we live on a mountain. Say one path is covered in fragile houses, so there’s a giant, clear sign that says ‘Do Not Cross’. A loophole doesn’t make you think of a lovely bridge that’s appeared, made of rainbows, it makes you think of a tunnel. And you don’t, Peter, proudly bound through a tunnel – let alone defend anyone else who does. You scuttle through a tunnel, like a rat or maybe a small pig, because you know you’re doing something wrong. And the more people who tunnel through the mountain the more it will lose its structural integrity and eventually it’ll collapse.
Personally, I couldn’t give a shit whether Gary gives his OBE back, I’m just glad he’s having to cough up. I do think, as a person of influence, he should probably set a better example. I think he should apologise especially for using a fake scheme that purported to be doing something particularly worthy, that’s pretty low. But I’m not gutted that a ‘treasure’ has had his character smeared, nor will anyone else be who already knew he was a Tory party donor. What a surprise David Ham-Cheeks hasn’t seemed to care as much about this one. Nor is it surprising that Gary hasn’t seen fit to say anything valuable about it himself. Will he ever offer a meaningful or convincing apology or explanation? Probably not – but then that’s fine. As long as he’s just avoiding it. If he actually evades explaining himself, or aggressively avoids it – well then he’s bang out of order. Yeah?
And in the absence of any defense he’s left with Peter Hitchens to champion his corner. One of our nation’s proudest bigots. If YOU are ever in a position to help Mr Hitchens, remember, only do it, even if it’s open a door for him, please, only do it, if it would be illegal not to.