Everything should be politics!

The professional bodies with a concern about tax – whether of lawyers or accountants or the dedicated tax profession – all have one thing in common. They supposedly exist to promote high professional standards in the public interest. I emphasise the last point.

It’s possible for the tax profession to engage in policy debate with your doing politics. But right now my allegation is that its silence is profoundly political. In the absence of comment the status quo and the prevailing narrative are maintained. That is what the taxed professions are permitting. And when what is happening is clearly not optimal tax policy that does them no credit.

It’s time the tax profession acted in the public interest – and right now I am not at all convinced that it is.

All must be politics, all the time politics. The professional bodies should be arguing for a specific set of political policies that is. Instead of, you know, paying unto Caesar and otherwise shutting up?

What’s really cute about it is the underlying assumption that if those bodies did do politics then they’d do the politics the P³ approves of. Which isn’t, to put it mildly, what we have seen when people who know what they’re talking about do opine now, is it?

7 thoughts on “Everything should be politics!”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    There was a good article in the Speccie recently about why Lord Sumption was right to resign from the Supreme Court and that at least two others should have done the same. The argument is that there are some professions and roles where participation in politics can’t be allowed and and Supreme Court Justice is one of them.

    Professional bodies and those they employ, as opposed to members, should fall in to that category. Partly because they represent a broad spectrum of members but mostly because they need to hold public trust.

  2. I love the idea that he is somehow the arbiter of what’s in ‘The public interest’ – his lack of self-awareness on full display as ever…

  3. Given a choice of hiring an accountant who would work in what he considers to be “the public interest” or one that works in my interest, the choice is clear. If they want to work for the public interest, that’s fine, but not when I’m paying them to work for me.

  4. “They supposedly exist to promote high professional standards in the public interest.”

    Ah, I see where he’s got confused, he actually believes their PR.

    Professional bodies are guilds, they have two main purposes. Protect the interests of their members, and protect the interests of their clients. In that order. Convincing people that they are looking after the clients is key to protecting the members. Hence the high-falutin public interest bullshit.

  5. Some years ago I had the pleasure of introducing a leading Big 4 tax partner to Murphy’s work. This was the kind of bloke who’d get phone calls from the Treasury asking what they should do about his particular, very specialised area of taxation. After a few weeks I asked him what he thought about Spud. “Oh, thank you so much for pointing me his way. I read his blog in the morning to get my blood pressure up. The man’s a fucking idiot.”

  6. @Flatcap Army

    You had to introduce him?

    Reading Spud’s blog, you’d believe that big 4 partners are constantly asking his opinion. As in..

    “An important big 4 partner asked my view on something and I told him and he said I was right and clever and wise and that I should be king of everything and he thanked me and I had a big cream cake for tea”

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