I feel a deep, burning sympathy for those living in mansions - or, as a certain Hearsay member is fond of calling them, garages. Before you go to bed tonight, spare a moment for folks like Myleene Klass who might have to endure the unerring suffering of a 2% tax on their properties. If the Labour Party succeed in their quest to castrate the rich, Klass might have to pay upwards of a whopping £250 a month to sustain her luxury home. How will she cope? This austerity malarkey has clearly gone too far.
I kid, of course. The whole mansion tax debate is admittedly tiresome. It is, however, necessary. In an age where the major political parties in Britain seem so centralised, we have to appreciate a clear line of demarcation. The mansion tax is emblematic of the wider cultural differences between the two major parties. The Labour Party - representing the mansion tax in one corner - insist on cutting the deficit with a degree of fairness. The Conservatives - against the mansion tax in the other - insist on cutting the deficit with an unapologetic ruthlessness, yet won't extend such ruthlessness to the richest.
This debate is interesting not only because it represents the prevailing cultures of the two main parties. It's also interesting because of the stark parallels between the mansion tax and the bedroom tax - a particularly tendentious Tory policy.
The fervent Tory support for the bedroom tax seems to undermine their criticisms of the mansion tax. They argue that the mansion tax is inherently unfair because it has the potential to force people from their homes. Yet they created the bedroom tax that has inexorably left people packing their bags. Most of the folks suffering from the bedroom tax have family members with disabilities and are invariably poorer than those who would supposedly suffer due to the mansion tax. Yet asking those who suffer from the bedroom tax to call the removal men is, apparently, okay.
The Tories also criticise the mansion tax because it ostensibly punishes those who work hard. Are they seriously suggesting that those who suffer from the bedroom tax aren't working hard? The majority of folks hit by the bedroom tax, as mentioned, care for their disabled family members and most of them retain a full-time job. These people, to me, are working harder than most and I find it difficult to argue otherwise. And yet the Tory party, in their apparently infinite wisdom, have no problem punishing them.
I support the mansion tax unabashedly. And I sure as hell want to scrap the bedroom tax. My position is simple: tax the rich, help the poor, support the disabled, and be happy with your lot. It has nothing to do with envy, yet it has everything to do with compassion. I know it's an apparently crazy argument and I know that asking the rich to pay a little more makes me a belligerent 'sneering socialist' intent on destroying Britain. If that's the case, so be it. The Tories might be surprised, however, to find that, according to recent polls, more than half of Britons support the mansion tax and can therefore be aptly characterised as belligerent sneering socialists.