War of the Wonks

Propeller-Head Wonk Watch: Guido hears that it is civil war in Westminster’s wonk land. The Flat Tax idea has flown from the pages of pamphlets, to the front pages of the papers and on to the agenda of the Tories, LibDems and Germany’s Christian Democrats as well as the Greek finance minister’s desk.

Now Guido would expect the wonks at the left-wing IPPR to be against it, Nick Pearce rages against the injustice of completely removing the burden of taxation on millions of low paid workers. Guido is not surprised that the doyen of wonks, bow-tied and famous-for-Westminster Madsen Pirie has a hand in it. His Adam Smith Institute is promoting it with his usual gusto on Newsnight and the comment pages. Reform, the Chris Gent backed think-tank and former nest of newly elected Tory MP Nick Herbert, is also unsurprisingly fighting the fight for simpler and fairer taxes. The Tax Payers Alliance pressure group is obviously going to be manning the barricades for fairer taxes.

But word reaches Guido that the Centre for Policy Studies is going to come out against flatter taxes. Alas, I can only think they’ve been affected by the summer heat. It’s hard to think what else could lead a think-tank founded by Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph, in the dark days of seventies socialism, to give succour to the tax-man. Thatcher will be spinning in her whisky.

Perhaps the gossip is true that when the CPS’ Ruth Lea was previously sacked from the IOD, the ASI turned her down for a job… Now a woman scorned…




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