July 3, 2017 by Paul Goldsmith
In a very interesting article in the Sunday Times, Dominic Lawson opens with a tweet from Marcus Chown, who has written books that have helped to popularise Physics. Chown tweeted that “My wife says 2 separate strangers helped her carry heavy bags. Feels like change in people. Rejection of selfish mean-spiritedness of Tories.”
Lawson then quotes from a poem by Tom Lehrer fifty years ago: “We are the folk song army/Every one of us cares/ We all hate poverty, war and injustice/Unlike the rest of you squares.”
He moves onto a speech in Parliament from Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray. She told the Commons: “Over the past month I’ve had swastikas carved into [election] posters, social media posts like ‘burn the witch’ and ‘stab the c***’, people putting Labour party posters on my home, photographing them and pushing them through my letterbox. Someone even urinated on my office door.” This behaviour is apparently justified by the belief that Tories are not just political opponents but actually a conspiracy of selfish monsters.
Finally, Lawson quotes Sebastian Vella, the financial controller of a multinational group — who voted for Labour under Corbyn, having cast his ballot for the Liberal Democrats in the two previous general elections. He explained: “I was happy to vote for a party whose leader . . . wants to make the country a better place for those who live in it.” That is, in sharp distinction to the party he used to support and — of course — the Tories, whose leaders don’t want to make the country a better place for those who live in it. Which must be why 42% of the electorate votes for them, and why they won the most seats, because they are so selfish they actively ŵant to make the country a worse place.
There is then some discussion of some in socialist circles claiming that the Tories murdered those who died in Grenfell Tower. Also the vote against lifting the cap on public sector pay rises, which was characterised as taking money from the pockets of the nurses who treated the victims of Grenfell Tower and the firefighters who saved their lives which instead it is more complicated than that because the tax rises needed would come straight from the pockets of those working in the private sector, who don’t get the same pension entitlements, have less job security and whose average pay is 4% lower than in the public sector.
Which bring us onto tax. Lawson mentions a woman on Question Time who says she would be happy to pay more tax to give more money to public sector employees. In which case, Lawson asks, why doesn’t that lady personally donate to her nearest hospital or state school. There is nothing to stop her doing either.
Which leads Lawson onto a book called “Who Really Cares”, by Arthur C. Brooks, which found that in the USA, Conservative households give 30% more to charity than households headed by Liberals. The survey was done by comparing charitable giving, adjusted for average income, in states that voted for the Republican Presidential candidate to those that voted for the Democrat Presidential candidate. It also found that if everyone gave blood as often as Conservatives the US medical system’s supply of blood would increase by 45%. Therefore, calling Conservatives selfish, according to Lawson, is simply wrong.
No similar study has been done in the UK. But this does raise an interesting philosophical question. If you have a high income, should you pay more tax, trusting the Government to spend it on public services or other priorities depending on the information they have of who is most in need? Or do you pay less tax and give more to charity, allowing you to choose who is more deserving? Which is more selfless? Who is less wicked? Who is more wrong?
I know what I think. But I’d be interested to know what you think.