Mitchell 'pleb' saga: revenge or diversion from police reform?
OPINION DIGEST: Mitchell's police drama, wealth taxes, and money-induced memory loss
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POLICE V MITCHELL: THIS LOOKS LIKE REVENGE
HUGO RIFKIND ON THE 'PLEB' AFFAIR
Regardless of whether Andrew Mitchell did or didn't call the police 'plebs', they will be thrilled, says Hugo Rifkind in The Times. They haven't had a nice time lately. They've had the Hillsborough report, in which "failure and intrigue were splayed out for all to see". Then tales of grooming and sex trafficking in Rotherham, which paint a picture of a force that values young lives less than "covering its own backside". And there are lingering questions over Scotland Yard's handling of phone hacking. At the same time, the Government is desperate to bring in elected police commissioners to change the power structure of the police force. In this context, police calls for Mitchell's resignation, "feel a lot like revenge". We should be worried about the police flexing their political muscles. Police reform was a serious issue before the Mitchell saga, and "it's still one now".
ROMNEY'S MYTH OF SELF-MADE MILLIONAIRES
GEORGE MONBIOT ON WEALTH CREATION
"We could call it Romnesia: the ability of the very rich to forget the context in which they made their money," says George Monbiot in The Guardian. The likes of Romney forget their education, inheritance, family networks, contacts and the workers whose labour enriched them. They also forget the infrastructure and security, educated workforce, subsidies and bailouts the government provided. Every political system requires a justifying myth. Predatory capitalism owes its political survival to the myths of equal opportunity, self-creation, heroic individualism. "Romnesia permits the ultra-rich both to deny the role of other people in the creation of their own wealth and to deny help to those less fortunate than themselves."
THE RICH ARE PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE
DOMINIC LAWSON ON WEALTH TAX
With each party conference the Liberal Democrats have held since joining the coalition, they seek to differentiate themselves from the Conservatives, with increasing desperation, by attacking "the rich", says Dominic Lawson in The Independent. It's not a bad idea because the Tories do suffer electorally from being identified by many as the party of the toff class. But a look at the numbers prove boosting taxes on the rich would not address the real problem. According to HMRC, in 2011/12, the top one per cent of income earners paid 24.8 per cent of all income tax collected, despite earning 11.2 per cent of the total. The real issue is that, for years, governments have tried to maximize votes by "increasing the number of those eligible for benefits while reducing the number called upon to fund them". The result? Misery, in the form of a colossal national debt. ·