history_monk: (Me)
history_monk ([personal profile] history_monk) wrote2014-04-19 04:35 pm
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Sale of Tax Records

https://www.openrightsgroup.org/campaigns/dont-sell-our-tax-data



Here's the letter I've just written to my MP:

Guardian Article

The government is intending to provide "anonymised" access to tax records. A senior Tory MP has described this as "borderline insane". I'd go considerably further than that. It will mean that people don't reveal their financial affairs to the tax authorities, producing a vast increase in evasion and clogging the courts with pointless cases.

It's a very naked example of what has seemed to be this government's attitude to the population for some time: not as citizens to be safeguarded, but as resources to be strip-mined. If this goes ahead, it will be historically recorded as one of the steps that triggered revolution. The people will not put up with this.

It will, incidentally, make certain of the Scottish Referendum result. All the SNP has to do is undertake that an independent Scottish government will not do such a thing, and they've won. And a lot of the English will be considering emigration.

Up until now, I have still be prepared to support you at the general election. I am not happy with much of the coalition's policy, but I feel that Parliament needs at least one scientist, and Cambridge seems to have the role of supplying them. Were Nick Cleg my MP, voting for him would already be quite impossible. But sale of tax records passes, you would be mere collateral damage.

I'm already reasonably certain that you would vote against this scheme. That is not enough to save your seat: Parliament must reject the idea, if it is brought to a vote.

[identity profile] whswhs.livejournal.com 2014-04-20 06:20 am (UTC)(link)
Granting that this seems like a bad policy, I'm not sure of the incentive effects of such a letter as this. You seem to think that your MP can already be expected to vote No on the proposal. So your message probably won't change their personal vote. But I don't see that it can change the party's vote, either, unless you think that they are in a position either to change the party's policy or to spur a revolt of individual members. It rather seems that you are saying you will hold them accountable for something they don't control.

Were I your MP, I might be thinking that there's little point in voting against the party, if my constituents will vote me out no matter what I do. Why not go along with what the party wants and hope to get the party's support in future elections? If what you want is to have them be steadfast, I wonder if it might not have been better to say you would judge them by their individual stance on this issue, while urging them to use whatever influence they have to defeat the objectionable measure.

But perhaps it wouldn't have that effect. I don't claim to understand how politicians think.

[identity profile] history-monk.livejournal.com 2014-04-20 09:49 am (UTC)(link)
His party, the Liberal Democrats, are already facing the prospect of an electoral catastrophe; many of their previous supporters have already given up on them over coalition policies. I view this as outside the range of acceptable politics, so far so that the party needs to reconsider what it's doing from the beginning.

I've had a considerable amount of mostly-friendly interaction with this MP over the past four years, but if this passes I will be considering emigration, and not very bothered about the politics of the rump UK any more.

Fortunately, I think this was probably a question of sending up a trial balloon to see what the response is.