Stepping outside for a quick smoke at work yesterday (physically in the City of London) I saw a parked car with a personalised number plate reading I8TAX5 (I hate taxes). I wondered what kind of truly wretched individual, given the opportunity to offer to the world one thought close to his heart, would choose to advertise the fact that he begrudged giving up a small part of his – no doubt overly generous – income for the general good.
Given recent events in the public sphere, there is a possibility that we might soon find ourselves in a situation where the party with the largest number of seats in Parliament might have to convince the representatives of that larger part of the country who have chosen to vote otherwise to agree to the measures they are proposing before they are able to implement them. To my mind this seems like an excellent opportunity for Parliament to act as an embodiment of the popular will, rather than a rubber stamp (that persistent metaphorical rubber stamp!) on the dictates of a self-interested faction.
But I realise this is a naive and impractical way of seeing things. Not the only reason, of course, but the main reason, I suspect, is that it would make the markets nervous. And who are the markets? Not the covered market in Market Harborough, of course, nor the Portobello Market, but the financial markets in the City of London. And who – in actual physical, flesh and blood reality – are these markets? The appalling excuse for a human being I introduced in the first paragraph, and his ilk.
How on earth did we get into this state?