Civilisation is being dismantled in order to pay off debts that were run up by those who have somehow remained out of the reach of suffering. The bankers, who caused this global recession, are not suffering; the giant corporations (those “wealth creators” who have amassed billions through tax avoidance) are not suffering; it is only the ordinary people who are suffering and it is our heritage which is being robbed: schools, hospitals, museums, libraries, the arts, public amenities, the welfare state, fire stations, police stations… all are being closed or stripped back at an alarming rate.
Here’s a reality check: we are often told of health tourists who come to this country and take advantage of our NHS, to which they have contributed nothing, before slipping away without paying. This should not be allowed, we are told. Quite right too.
Having said which, by the same token it strikes me that companies who deliberately avoid contribution to our infrastructure costs and public services – by employing intricate arrangements to escape the payment of corporation tax – should not expect to be entitled to protection by, for example, our police or fire services.
Have you seen Amazon’s new office block at Smithfield Market? It’s a gigantic, gleaming structure of glass and steel. Here’s how it appeared in the Evening Standard:
That’s not the head office, of course – that’s situated in Luxembourg, apparently…