Monday, 21 August 2017

The extraordinary generosity of our mayor, Sadiq Kahn

The brazen juxtaposition of "I've" and "your" makes it sound... if Kahn has been the generous donor, and it's now up to the rest of us mean blighters to follow his lead, when the truth is that all of the money the Mayor has pledged is ours in the first place: he won't have contributed a penny of his own. What about "I've pledged £400,000 of your money to support projects of which you may very well not approve - and I'm taking all the credit, sucker!"

Obviously, I've no idea which particular pot of gold the Mayor dipped into for these funds - London ratepayers, income tax-payers, the EU - and I can't be bothered to find out. The answer is "the private sector", because that's where all the money ultimately comes from - although you wouldn't know it if you listened to politicians, academics, public sector employees, the BBC, or anyone who studied PPE at Oxford. I foolishly imagined that one of Margaret Thatcher's enduing legacies would be to ensure that, when politicians enthusiastically power-hosed money at voters, we'd all understand that it was voters' money gushing from the end of that hose. But no such luck: 26 years after she was forced out of office, we're pretty much back where we started, with politicians once more routinely presenting themselves as multibillionaire philanthropists "putting something back". As the great Thomas Sowell put it:
"First you take people's money away quietly, and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly."
Some of the schemes on the Mayor's list seem perfectly reasonable, but I'm not sure I fully approve of my taxes or rates being spent on the following items:

Croydon's Anthem for Peace: A peace-themed musical score and a large scale community performance in Croydon.

An Oak Sculpture Trail for Furzedown! (Wandsworth): Create sculptures from a felled local tree, forming a trail.

GLOW: Barking and Dagenham Light Festival:  Local people in Barking and Dagenham will create a light festival, providing learning and employment opportunities.

I'm all for local initiatives and charitable giving - and crowdfunding strikes me as a particularly good idea - and I accept that, for practical reasons, the government/local council can't seek the direct approval of each and every taxpayer/ratepayer for every penny it spends - but I strongly object to politicians taking credit for their generosity when they're being generous with other people's money.


  1. "but I strongly object to politicians taking credit for their generosity when they're being generous with other people's money."

    That is to say you strongly object to the entire edifice of modern leftist politics in the West, which does little else than preen itself on how wonderfully virtuous it is for spending your money on things you wouldn't want if given any opportunity not to buy them.

    Anyone who measures their own virtue by the amount of other people's money they are willing to spend, is on the high-road to moral and financial bankruptcy - hence the present predicament of most western economies.

  2. Mr Unknown is obviously guilty of racism by ignoring that growing segment of London's population who feel very passionately that the tax - paying quasi - serfs who provide "Free Stuff" are not providing nearly enough "Free Stuff."

  3. I agree totally, utterly, completely and absolutely with you both. If I go next door and demand money with menaces from my neighbour, and then take his money and hand it to the first beggar I meet, I fail to understand how this makes me a compassionate humanitarian, rather than a CAUC. As for the whole "free stuff" delusion, I'm convinced people would feel quite differently about politicians piddling their money away if, instead of tax being automatically removed before we're paid, we had to sit down every month, work out how much of our money the government is demanding we hand over, and then have to write out a cheque or arrange an online payment to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day. It was becoming self-employed in the late '70s that made me think "Hang on - that's money you're spending! And I really don't like what you're spending it on!" I can't find an analysis of who the self-employed voted for in June, but I did find a 17th March Telegraph article which began "The Conservatives' majority could be decimated in the next General Election if faced with a backlash from self-employed voters." Which is no doubt why the Tories decided that a manifesto pledge to stab the self-employed in the back would be a real vote-winner!