Economics. The word sends shudders through me. I just can't get up an interest in money management at all. I earn it, I spend it. That's it. The only things I need to remember are 1) put some aside for when Mr. Capone the Taxman comes for his protection money and 2) don't spend it faster than you earn it. I learned my lesson on point 2 a long time ago and I learned it well.
That is the entirety of my knowledge of economics. I have read those who know and understand far more and have come away baffled. The subject only comes up for me at tax-return time and I keep my accounts very simple indeed. When my turn come for the Taxman Audit, it should take about ten minutes. There is no convoluted tax-avoidance accounting in my books, there is only 'in' and 'out'. Nothing for an accountant to do.
So I would be every party's last choice for Chancer of the Exchequer because I really couldn't do it. I would not allow the accounts to go into the red at all, and I don't think a country can work like that these days. Every country has a national debt. I have often wondered who they owe it to. Some chap in an attic room in Birmingham, surrounded by IOUs, I suppose.
Even with simple accounts, no source to claim expenses from, and just the one house, I hate the tax form. I put it off to the last minute every year. I can do it, but having to round up and organise all the receipts in my 'misc' pile (which is where everything goes) and list them is a chore I could do without. Knowing what happens to the money after I pay it does not fill me with enthusiasm for the task.
It was with a brief twinge of sympathy then that I read that several of the Gorgon's Cabinet of Fools have been getting help from accountants at tax form time. It must be awfully complex to hide all those scams and fiddles. A professional would indeed be needed. You would think, though, that having used a professional to mask your dodgy dealings, you'd pay him in cash and send him quietly on his way. You wouldn't be so stupid as to charge such things to the public purse. Well, you wouldn't. I wouldn't. They are. They really are unbelievably dim.
What was most scary in these latest revelations was that the man in charge of the country's finances has to get an accountant to do his tax return. As Fraser Nelson remarked:
I'm especially shocked at Darling - if he can't handle a tax return on his own, how on earth does he cope with the nation's finances?
Well, have you seen the nation's finances? They do give the impression that the country's cash is in the hands of someone who can't fill out their own tax return, don't they?
Why didn't Darling do his own tax return and let the professional accountants set the Budget? That would make much more sense. In fact, why are there no qualifications or experience requirements for any of the jobs in government? How come I'd need a degree in accounting to be the finance officer in a small business but need no qualifications whatever to run the country's coffers? There should be minumum requirements for those jobs. Ministers in charge of finance should have qualifications in finance. Those in charge of justice should have some idea of what the word means. The Home Office should be run by someone whose sanity is checked weekly and nobody with an IQ of less than 140 and a steady temperament should be able to be Prime Monster.
The cost of an accountant to help with your tax return is not reclaimable. By any of us. We can't buy iPhones and digital camcorders and claim them against tax. No decent person would dream of claiming for a remembrance wreath. No decent people are in the Gorgon's cabinet, of course.
This government has made a lot of noise about tax avoidance while all the time getting rich through tax evasion. I bet not one of them will be prosecuted. I bet the Gorgon won't sack any of them. He won't even tell them off - other than Bleary Hazel who has been unwise enough to mention that perhaps he's not God after all.
So we have to sack them. At the next election. Every single one.
Well, those that are left after Old Holborn has arrested a few, anyway.
They worry about suicides and bleat about complaints. They really have no idea what it's like for the rest of us who have to live under a bizarre legal system they have exempted themselves from. The next government must be composed entirely of those who have had to live under these laws and who are immediately made subject to the same laws. None of the current lot must be allowed to stay. Suicides? They'd be advised to worry about hearing their doors staved in in the middle of the night. Remember what an angry public did to a certain banker's house, not long ago? What these MPs have done is worse.
I can't believe the Chancellor of the Exchequer gets an accountant to help with his tax form. I can't believe he tried to justify it. If he survives this, the Gorgon's last tenuous shred of authority is gone. Worldwide. The peals of laughter will follow the sunrise around the planet tomorrow and we'll be the only ones not laughing.
Because our alternative is the Cameroids and they don't look any better.