While I don’t pretend to be an economist, I do have this nagging doubt that the economic policy being pursued by the current UK government is not, shall we say, the wisest course.
I doubt there was a single person who woke up on Wednesday morning, looked out across Britain, and thought: “I know what’s wrong with this country. Vodafone pays too much tax.” But George Osborne has acted on this belief all the same – in part because he genuinely seems to have no idea what life in Britain is like. He said recently that his school, St. Paul’s (annual fees: £30,000 a year) was “incredibly liberal. It didn’t matter who your parents were. Your mother could be the head of a giant corporation – or a solicitor in Kew.” That’s his internal vision of the social spectrum in Britain, with those pauper solicitors in Kew begging at the bottom. No wonder he doesn’t understand that (say) slashing Housing Benefit will turn 200,000 poor people out of their homes in London alone. He thinks they can take it: the rich need more.