LAST YEAR there were five people in Britain who thought that their taxes were too low. No, this isn’t the number of people who have called for higher taxes. Rather, it is those who were so convinced of the righteousness of state spending that they voluntarily sent extra money to the Treasury.
Economists have a handy term called “revealed preferences”. In colloquial English it means “look at what people do, not what they say, and certainly never take notice of what they say others should do”.
Now, you can’t help but notice that there is a disparity between those who say that taxes should be higher and those who act as if they should be. Clearly, an individual who really believes that the Government is more effective at spending his money would voluntarily offer up more than the legal minimum of taxation.
Of course, it goes without saying that a certain Ms Toynbee must, without doubt, be one of those five people...? Of course, we have proven "revealed preferences" for Polly, don't we kiddies? You will remember that dearest Polly said that we should "throw open the books so that we can see what everyone earns"*; despite repeated requests in the comments of every article that she then wrote, Polly (when she finally answered) utterly refused to reveal what she earned: why she argued, should she do so when no one else was?
I've been thinking about 'hypocrite'. You keep accusing me of not revealing what I'm paid. Well, I'm not going to, not until there is general Guardian policy of transparency, which I have always advocated. It seems mildly unfair to pick on the person who is in favour of it.
So, one can assume, I think, that Polly was not one of the five: why should she pay more to the Treasury, when no one else is, eh?
* This was the first article on CiF that I commented on and what I wrote was this:
As others have pointed out, public sector salaries should be revealed to the public, for it is the public that is forced to pay for them. In other words, we are the employers, and most employers know on what terms they have hired their employees. However, what my employer pays me (I am my employer, and I say that I can't pay myself nearly enough because Polly's one-eyed Chancellor boyfriend takes so much off me) is absolutely no one else's business.
One would imagine that poor old Polly has not replied because she is dumbstruck by realisation of the contempt in which she is held throughout the blogosphere. Even now she is probably in the toilets, sobbing wretchedly into her hanky.
Personally, I am glad that Polly is writing: if she were not, I would have far fewer articles to rip apart line by line, far fewer opportunities to use gratuitously repulsive insults and far less call to use the word "hypocrite".
This was positively polite compared to some that I made and, since I (and others) have left a number of links there back to my fiskings of the great woman, I wonder is I may have contributed, in some small way, to her breakdown?** I do hope so.
** On this crie de coeur, I left the following comment (by the way, I'm kind of archiving these as much for me as anyone else):
You may not be conversant with my blog: how could you be? You and your Grauniad friends are just dipping your toes into the waters of blogging. What is slightly distressing is that seem to be unaware of the fury that you and your ilk manifest in people.
This is not because you are particularly hypocritical -- although you and all of your colleagues are -- but because you refuse to learn from your mistakes. Your refusal to learn from empirical evidence, and your continued advocation of certain measures (increased government spending, etc.) make the rest of us poorer. What the hell do you care if another �1,000 vanishes from your pay-packet but to some of us it means that we have lost 2 1/2 stone over the last 6 months.
Your poisonous style, your bitchy writing and your propensity for either not checking your figures (which in the minds of those writing online -- all of whom are educated and, as it happens, more than capable of tracking down the reports that you claim to represent -- renders you an idiot) or deliberately twisting them to suit your own argument (a dishonesty that we are used to after 9 years of ZanuLabour) leads us to believe that you are either a moron or a liar.
I have addressed your concerns in my usual abrasive but flippant way: now you can come back to me or you can retire. I would rather you did the latter; I know people who would otherwise consider themselves intelligent who read your column and believe it, and for this alone you deserve to be excoriated.
You can find my reply here.
Now, if you want a face-to-face debate, you can have it; I am not afraid of you. Because, and I know this because the evidence backs me on it, you are wrong.
By the way, she still hasn't taken me up on that...