Representation or Representing?

The recent controversy over the PM’s historical income streams has got me thinking about what we expect from our politicians. The basic question appears to be whether he (or his wife) took advantage of off shore tax havens in a bid to reduce taxation on income. Tax avoidance, in other words, but not tax evasion (which is illegal). I have a view on tax avoidance (aggressively close these possibilities), but I don’t think engaging in it is immoral. On the other hand, I have a big problem with secondments of big six accountancy firm employees helping out the HMRC in drafting tax legislation, so that aforementioned employees are better placed to help their clients avoid taxation. (This might be immoral). Our current systems are chockablock full of conflicts of interest, and I think we should seek to change that (I’ve just finished reading Owen Jones’ book about the Establishment). But what about the PM?
The fact that he has numerous income streams, opportunity to avoid tax if he so wishes, and many future income streams sets him somewhat apart from me. (I have strong views on paying taxes…..I think that this is a good thing, and want my paid tax to help to maintain the Liberal, welfare state, Democracy in which I live). It also, I suspect, sets him apart from most of the population – as does his education and experiences as a politician. He isn’t like me, and could never be a Representation of me whilst acting as a politician or a government official. But, then, I don’t need him to look out for me whilst in Government. I need him to be thinking outside of his narrow upbringing and experience, and to decide what he thinks is best for the country at this point in time. I need a Government (and a Body Political) that is not seeking to advance any single segment of society (whether I happen to inhabit that segment or not). I’m guessing this isn’t easy, and an ongoing political debate is necessary to continually ask if what we are currently doing is what we should be doing at this point in time.
There is a general problem within the Body Political with respect to conflicts of interest; whether past, current or future. And we do need to redefine our expectations with respect to politicians, and with respect to public service. Both of these are a privilege and a heavy responsibility. But the PM isn’t a Representation of me – he is Representing me, and must do what he thinks is best for the whole country at this point in time. (If I think he is wrong about that, then I need to help vote him out of office).


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