My old school St. Paul’s may not have produced 18 Prime Ministers like Eton, in fact just the one – Spencer Compton who succeeded Robert Walpole – but we have two finance ministers amongst our alumni dominating the news: George Osborne and Euclid Skalatos.
The latter gave an interview in the old Pauline magazine respecting my and his old tutor Keith Perry, with whom I lunch every 3 months, even though they do not share the same political views: the Greek is hard left.
I wonder what would happen if the two met at an Old Pauline reunion.
The Telegraph yesterday revealed that this country raises over £761 billion in tax revenues. I suspect if you could get the figures Greece collects rather less.
From the super rich shipowners to the minor public official it seems to me that a Greek intuitively believes he should not have to pay tax and that, if to repay debt means austerity you should renege and the world should still feel sorrow for you. The previous incumbent at the finance ministry, the open necked motor cycle driving fellow, dubbed the creditors “criminals and terrorists” for the dastardly crime of seeking repayment of a loan.
As for George Osborne, he delivered the classic take with the left and give with the right hand budget. In the same Telegraph a pensioner with 3 buy-to-lets complained that, with the removal of tax breaks for deductions, she is looking around for investments with a better return. With banks paying less than 1% and volatile stock exchanges and bond markets it’s not that easy to see where. She might spend the lot on a Lamborghini and, for her later care needs, throw herself on the state.
A Greek would.