Comment, Comics and the Contrary.
This morning on BBC News 24 Sylvia Hardy, the jailed and now released Council Tax protestor, was asked about her time in jail. She says that she was treated well, cites the support of the inmates, but then laments that the prison was under-funded. While Council Tax does not directly support the upkeep of prison, it is part of the collective public revenue. If Council Tax were abolished, as Sylvia Hardy is demanding, where would the extra public money come from? Not a single reporter has asked her this question, or the related question; what public spending would you cut.
No doubt some of my regular readers would be happy to see public spending cut, but they should at least be honest enough to admit that if Sylvia Hardy were campaigning to cut spending, not just tax, she would receive a great deal less public support.
This seems to be a mild case of the Littlejohn pathology. Richard Littlejohn hates speed cameras. He argues that they are a means for the police to gather revenue. He also argues that they allow the police to abdicate their responsibility to police the roads in person, where human judgement could be applied. But, and he never grapples with this problem, his call to do away with speed cameras would reduce the resources available to the police, while, if the roads are to be properly policed and his diagnosis is correct, increasing the cost of policing. Would he raise taxes? Would he cut services? He never argues either way. Why? Well, if we were being generous, we would say that his logical disconnect is a result of his simple-mindedness. This would be a just description, as Littlejohn’s views on speed cameras are not casual observations where inconsistency is acceptable and expectable. But if he is not a simple-mind, a more realistic understanding of the pathology would be that Littlejohn is engaging in the malicious exploitation of his readers, hoping that they will not be bright enough, not skilled in the task of critical reading, to cut through his illusion of argument and see the bad faith at the heart. Littlejohn hates Sun readers, else he would do them a better service.
Council Tax may be unfair. But the person who has been adopted as the figurehead of a movement to abolish a tax is forced to realise and reflect on the under-funding of a tax-funded service and does not address this apparent inconsistency. We must, therefore, conclude that she is either a simple-minded fool or that this logical disconnection is more or less knowing front for an attack on the financial basis for public services. She is no hero. At best she is an exploited stooge.