Ahhh, I love the smell of rank hypocrisy in the mornings. Today’s moron of choice is Treasury Minister David Gauke, who has this to say on the notion of paying for work cash in hand:
"Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the Revenue and means others have to pay more in tax.So there we have it. If you have ever paid for something cash in hand, you are morally wrong. You shit, you.
"I think it is morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber but it is pretty implicit in those circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy.”
Of course, it is perfectly ok to pay someone nothing in return for working for you, as Gauke’s advert for an intern proves. So here we have the warped morality of a Treasury Minister – cash in hand, bad. Not paying people at all, a-ok. Still, I guess there is a certain logic to this. If he is paying his intern the square root of fuck all, then they can’t avoid tax. On the grounds that they can’t pay any because they aren’t earning anything.
For what it is worth, I have no problem with the notion of paying for work cash in hand or with the idea of unpaid interns. When it comes to the latter, well, if you are dumb enough to go work for an MP for free, then good luck to you. As for the former, well, I have no issue with tax avoidance – for me, it is like harm avoidance; it may not always be possible, but that certainly won’t stop me from doing it wherever and whenever I can. After all, if it truly was a problem then Gauke and his odious ilk would surely legislate against it. Just like they do against every other bastard thing that does not entirely float their boat.
But these reflections are tangential to the main point, which is that politicians no longer (if they ever did) have the credibility to tell me how I should live from a moral perspective. They are mired in hypocrisy, cowardly compromise, intellectual vacuity, constant mendacity and stunning ineptitude. The very best a modern day politician can claim for in this country is a certain level of competence; anything more is ambitious to the point of stupid. And until we have a political class that is actually prepared to step out of the long shadow cast by that deceitful, dangerous fool Tony Blair and come to the table with their own sound, well-argued convictions, then you’ll have to forgive me, but I have no time for lectures in morality from those who ultimately serve no-one other than themselves.
UPDATE: Guido has more here. And here. And here. Clearly, this man is a cunt on a cosmic scale and just wading through the myriad hypocrises that surround him has made me want to go and have a wash. With bleach.