Paxman scares Brown and Cameron – but not our Nick Clegg!

Just read the Guardian piece on how both Gordon Brown and David Cameron have failed to respond to a Newsnight invitation to be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman. The deadline was today apparently.

Nick Clegg accepted straight off!

So – two of the three men who would be Prime Minister are obviously cowardy cowardy custards! Guess that leaves only one option then!

Would you leave this country?

Firstly, obviously, Happy New Year to everyone.

I went to my hairdresser to have a hair cut (too short – hate it) and we were having a conversation about the new tax rate. Or rather, he was telling me of a client who is moving to Switzerland because of the 50% tax rate and the change to bankers’ bonuses etc. He said other clients were thinking of leaving the country (this is a little hairdressers in Finchley Central by the way – not a swish West End jobby)  because of this stuff.

I said (and please remember this is a hairdresser/client conversation and not a political debate) that going to live in Switzerland was a high price to pay to save a bit of tax (sorry Switzerland) as it was boring, made clocks and had nice mountains – but living in London – the most exciting, brilliant city in the world – had to be worth a slightly higher rate of tax particularly as it the new rate doesn’t kick in until you are already earning £150,000.

I then put the case that there comes a point in terms of earnings where the amount earned is enough for a really decent and even luxurious life – and that thereafter it is not such a terrible thing to pay 50% tax. (It was, after all, LibDem policy until we moved to a more progressive form of a tax switch – from income to pollution and taking low and middle income earners out of paying any tax up to the first £10,000 of earnings). Of course, business and profit are to be lauded and encouraged – that is how business works – and I come from a family who all had small businesses and know how tough it is to make a profit.

And we, my hairdresser and I, agree that it is great to want a decent life and be able to afford what you want – but that that there is a need for the common good and the narrowing of the ever-widening gap between rich and poor. We collectively shake our heads sagely in comfortable agreement about the greed that drives people to move their estates off-shore, to become non doms to avoid tax – and all such devious moves to deny the Treasury its tax take.

OK – so I read this morning in the Guardian that Angela Knight, Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association has issued a ‘stinging attack’ on the 50% supertax and bankers’ bonuses.  Well – that’s her job – so no surprise there.

But the point is that, even if there had been no economic crisis and no credit crunch – it seems to me to earn £36.8 million before bonus as the top earning Director of a FTSE 100 company did either last year or the year before – is obscenely more than you need to lead a decent or even an uber-luxurious life-style and a bit of extra tax is not only fair but also will make that Director feel better about his humongous earnings – having paid his dues.

Or am I wrong?