Friday, 31 August 2012

The News Headlines

The BBC should really tighten up on its news headlines. Yesterday I saw; "Police investigating phone hacking arrest 60-year-old man in south-west London." That immediately put every 60 year-old man in south-west London on the Daily Mail's prime suspect list.

This 'rich tax' debate is clouding the issue. A few very rich people avoid paying taxes by using loopholes created by successive governments' attempts at social engineering through the tax system. The vast majority of tax initiatives geared toward engineering some desired outcome have the unfortunate and unintended consequence of creating a loophole, which the astute can then use to avoid paying tax. Sure, the loopholes can be closed, but only at the cost of either trashing the original desired outcome, or developing a Byzantine set of tax rules which require a degree in pure mathematics to interpret. Perhaps we need less social engineering on the part of government and a simple tax system.

It seems to me that as a society we need to accept that a few - both at the very top and the very bottom - will screw the system; however, they are very few in number, yet convenient scapegoats when things go tits up and people want someone else to blame.

I was astonished  to hear a woman who lost her entire family in a road accident say her faith has sustained her. Well, it must the faith that, if there is a God, he’s got a bit of a downer on her. If my family had been totalled through the fault of a boy racer, then I’d lose any shred of faith in a just God. Ah – it must be a 'test of her faith', as that's how pious people usually delude themselves when something bad happens.

In America the race has started to proclaim the next emperor. In later ancient Rome the emperor was he who gave the highest bribe to the army. Seems America is following in Rome's footsteps by the Republican candidate bribing the electorate with a donative comprised of tax dollars. Mind you, it's not too dissimilar here, although it's not so much the politicians who are morally bankrupt (and they are), but the electorate. Or they are at the very least naiive to believe politicians have the answer to all life's ills and that it's as black and white as they portray - it's actually 50 shades of grey.

The greatest danger to liberty comes from those who claim to have God on their side and profess with certainty to know what's best for us in the pursuit of liberty; without fail they end up as tyrants.

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