Earlier this year Mike Truman, the editor of Taxation magazine, wrote a neoliberal and evil article in which he claimed Margaret Hodge MP was the ‘tax prat of the year‘. Mike proved himself the rightful recipient of the aware he had created in the process of doing so, as the President and Glorious Leader of Researches for Taxes UK said so at the time
But he did something more significant than that. What he drew attention to was the arrogance of the tax profession in the face of rightful criticism of its conduct.
You see, Mike is a tax adviser. Therefore, all tax advisers are Mike. Therefore Mike’s actions are the actions of the entire tax profession.
And he drew attention to the courage of Margaret Hodge who has relied on her Parliamentary privilege to say things that nobody could say otherwise without being sued for slander, defamation or damages for loss of earnings.
She has bravely ignored the lack of remit for dealing with tax policy, boldly disregarded the intention and wording of tax legislation and international agreements, valiantly refused to listen to facts or reason, gallantly made her unsubstantiated accusations and heroically interrupted people trying to answer her questions.
Yes, she is a true heroine. As opposed to the opportunistic vainglorious hypocritical politician that she is accused of being.
The UK is rightly shocked by what she has found. Mike Trumans everywhere may not be. But in making his comments, one Mike Truman said the following:
As was mentioned in the PAC, David Gauke [MP, Exchequer Secretary] was tax personality of the year at the 2011 Taxation Awards. (For reasons inexplicable to me, that got a laugh from the committee.) The citation on the night highlighted the policy of cooperation and engagement with the profession as one of the reasons for his success.
On precisely equal but opposite grounds, I have no hesitation in awarding Margaret Hodge the title of Tax Prat of the Year, for her attempts to destroy that cooperation and engagement.
And in those two comments we get to the nub of why Mike Trumans hate Margaret Hodge: She is an obstacle to their takeover of tax policy at HMRC.
And Mike Trumans really don’t like that. After all, what has democracy got to do with Mike Trumans’ rights to set tax policy, make cosy deals and have their tax burden reduced? Nothing at all in their view.
But, that is Margaret Hodge’s right as chair of the PAC to question the individual actions of businesses that she has read about in the paper that day. Of course, she has discretion as to which newspaper reports she believes, so she was able to disbelieve those concerned with Stemcor and the holdings of specific shareholders, in the interests of pursuing her aims objectively.
And let us not forget that she was democratically elected. There were elections for the position of the PAC chair, so this is some sort of democratic issue too, I imagine. I know I voted for her. Most people did.
Mike Trumans everywhere are attacking the very bedrock of our democratic choice of Margaret Hodge to ignore the stated remit of her committee and do whatever she likes.
Being a moral person, I know I couldn’t support her if she was abusing her position on an important committee to simply gain notoriety. And since I do support her, she can’t be doing that.
So, once again, I have shown the tax profession to be indulging in ad hominem attacks by making my own arguments in a logical and reasoned fashion.