Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The longer term damage of the Ken v Boris tax row

The latest polling shows London's Tory mayor Boris Johnson is drawing ahead of Labour's Ken Livingstone in the capital's mayoral race, which will be decided early next month.
Perhaps unfairly Livingstone got the worst of the row between the candidates over the clarity of their tax returns.
I hope they can get back to arguing the issues that really concern Londoners like transport and crime.
I fear, however, we are destined to follow the Americans in the disclosure of politicians' tax affairs. Chancellor George Osborne has already said he sees no objection in principle.
It is a slippery slope; only a short step before the publication of medical records is seen as a necessary part of a politician's suitability for high office.
I'm all for transparency but you can have too much of a good thing. The degree of disclosure could dissuade able people from entering politics.
The damage would be more grave to the Left than the Right. We expect Tories to be fat-cats. No one seems bothered Johnson earns £250,000 from writing a weekly newspaper column he can probably knock out before breakfast.
The Miliband brothers are regularly the target of jibes about their expensive homes; Gordon Brown his lucrative speaking engagements; and Tony Blair his many millions.
(Note to diary: make sure you don't miss George Galloway's assessment of Blair's role in the Iraq War when the Commons discusses the Chilcot Inquiry's findings later this year.)

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