Wednesday 24 March 2004

The Freedom Ride

This year Tax Freedom Day for the UK falls on 30th May. The Scotsman seems to think that the same date applies north of the border. Maybe, maybe not. But the paper tells us of an interesting way to celebrate the event, whenever it occurs:
One way the institute suggests commemorating the day that we start to work for ourselves is to find a glamorous woman willing to ride down Princes Street that morning, naked on a white stallion, as a devolved Lady Godiva. "We all remember her lack of clothes, but few remember she was protesting against high taxes," Dr Eamonn Butler of the ASI reminds us.
I have a better plan. The rider on the white stallion should be none other than the Chancellor himself.

Some authorities claim that no society can withstand a tax level of greater than 25% of national wealth. That seems a bit wimpish to me: I'd prefer something like 2.5%, if not less. But for the sake of argument let's accept that 25% limit. That means that Tax Freedom Day should fall no later than 31st March.

If TFD falls before the end of January the Chancellor should be allowed to ride down Princes Street fully clothed. A February date would mean a journey without coat or hat on one of those days when the cold east wind blows in from Siberia. Should TFD fall in March, Mr Brown would be required to parade in his underpants - just when the tourist season gets going.

But what if the Chancellor exceeds the 25% limit and is still taxing us on April Fool's Day? Then, I'm afraid, Mr Brown would have to perform the full Monty, or rather, Godiva. In all likelihood Tax Freedom Day will soon be some time in August and the Freedom Ride can become a much-loved feature of the Edinburgh Festival.