Let’s be clear: I am not saying people who have money are bad. I am not saying going to a private school is bad. I am not saying owning a second home is bad. I am not saying having aspirations to become rich, and becoming rich, is bad. What I am saying is that all of us benefit from a fairer society, where the least well off are given opportunity, where infectious diseases are controlled, where the elderly and the disabled are looked after, not merely out of altruism, but because any one of us could find ourselves in need at some time in our lives.
A society that kicks those who are down on their luck is not the type of society I would care to live in. Once you go down that road anything can be justified in the name of getting a reward for being ‘clever’ and for letting greed rather than humanitarian principles guide both your personal and the nation’s public morality.
When that happens vast inequality can quickly break down all you stand for, and all you love, in a nation. Slave-type economies build up very quickly. Fascist thinking builds up very quickly. Is this what we want in Britain? If the answer is no, then we have to make sure that our leaders are not building just that type of cruel, unjust and socially divided society, where workers have few rights and authority is increasingly repressive. We have to make sure the government doesn’t do things behind our backs to promote its own private agenda rather than what the electorate believed it had voted for.
The government says it is in favour of cracking down on aggressive tax avoidance, but such practices have ballooned in recent decades. The government says it wants to increase home ownership. Home ownership is declining. The government says it wants to increase opportunity for all. Social mobility is declining. The government says we are all in it together. The recent budget helps the rich much more than the poor. All this has little if anything to do with Cameron’s tax return. This is not a witch hunt, it is deciding what kind of nation we want this country to be.