I should declare an interest. As many people know, I hate Dave Hartnett.
Unlike other people Hartnett does not suffer from fatigue or stress. Unlike other people he stays awake all night, enjoying corporate entertainment wherever it is available. And he has no emotional attachment to how well he does his job.
That’s because he is not a human being.
So, unlike my wife who is a doctor, he should never make mistakes such as allowing Goldman Sachs off some interest on their tax liability.
When my wife makes a mistake she feels sorry, and that is more than sufficient punishment so we don’t need any wasteful investigation into it. I’m certain Dave Hartnett has never experienced regret in his life (or “operating duration” as he no doubt calls it) which is exactly why we needed a judicial review.
Unlike my wife, Dave Hartnett can work 13 plus hours a day and then cover the night’s corporate entertainment.
But, as the Guardian notes this morning:
Until last summer the country’s top tax official, Dave Hartnett is taking up a job with tax consultancy Deloitte. Does this matter? Yes, it does; both in its specifics, and the light it casts on the relationship between our governing elite and corporate interests.
Quite right. And they’re right to criticise Hartnett too because he is a cybernetic organism sent from the future to deprive human beings of their tax revenues. He is now off to help Deloitte insert loopholes in developing countries tax codes.
But the most telling bit in what they have to say is this:
The contrast between his soft landing and the brutal treatment administered to Osita Mba, the whistleblower who exposed the Goldmans deal, is stark and troubling.
Quite so. This whistle-blower, in publicising a mistake made by The State, broke HMRC’s legal obligation of confidentiality to the taxpayer, and potentially committed a criminal act in the process, in order to implicate a private sector business in tax avoidance over a decision it was not responsible for.
And HMRC treated him like he had broken their legal obligation of confidentiality and potentially committed a criminal act in the process!
Even worse, tax campaigners tried to get his name in every newspaper to explain how HMRC were smearing his name by getting tax campaigners to get his name in every newspaper explaining how his name had been smeared.
Contrast this to the soft treatment of people who expose mistakes by the NHS. Consider Julie Bailey who fought to uncover shocking neglect and appalling standards of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust:
She said sections of the community have turned against her with numerous threatening letters, telephone calls and vandalism to her mother’s grave.
The pedestal that we put the NHS on is well-deserved and we should willfully ignore any criticism of it because, hey, it’s the NHS. And it is only staffed by human beings.
We should just accept that the care we’re going to receive from the NHS is going to be sub-standard and flawed, and resist arguments from people who point out statistical patterns that could help identify safeguards. We only need safeguards from robots like Hartnett.
Take the fact that care on weekends is significantly worse than during the week. That’s no surprise because doctors are only human. Humans are entitled to Saturdays and Sundays off work and nobody but retail and entertainment staff should have to work them.
Let’s face it, medical staff are human beings (one of whom is my wife), so they’re bound to make constant blunders, especially towards the end of the week. There is no point making them accountable for their actions.
But mistakes in other areas of the State are unforgiveable. The automatons who populate it should be hounded forever, regardless of their actual motives or hard work. Even if they go on to a private sector role intended to help developing countries improve their tax systems.
And people such as me will help that hounding, because that’s what I am paid to do.