You -- and Mr Carlin, of course -- do well to bring attention to Polly Toynbee's seminal article The tax and finances of every citizen must be open to public scrutiny
. "Secrecy encourages inequality", she says, and "taxes are the price we pay for civilisation". Who could doubt that? Was it not Gombrich
himself who first pointed out that the Renaissance was entirely funded by Council Tax receipts? And in your own dear Scotland, could the Enlightenment ever have taken place without David Hume
's tireless campaign to charge VAT on warm neeps?
Polly Toynbee's bid to make us all more Scandinavian is part of a long secular cycle, not unlike the Industrial Revolution, started in this case by Woody Allen. In his 1971 film Bananas
, what is the first decree of President Esposito following his successful revolution? "In future", the president says, "the national language of San Marcos", previously a South American country, "will be Swedish".
And when did Burns
become an exciseman? 1789. I rest Ms Toynbee's case.