You would have thought the unfolding HSBC scandal made the point brutally enough: that in tax, as everything else, there is one law for the rich and another for the poor; that those at the top of the pile will cover for one another, while those at the bottom are screwed.
It’s not as if we could miss the contradiction inherent in wealthy individuals hiding millions of pounds of untaxed income in Swiss accounts, while tradespeople face the full force of the law for doing the odd homer. Or that we’d failed to notice the Black and White ball, which saw Tory donors paying £1,500 a ticket, took place the day after the story broke as, elsewhere, food banks struggled to deal with demand and local authorities considered what cuts they’d need to make to meet their austerity budgets.
Still perhaps David Cameron felt our faces weren’t being rubbed in it enough. Because shortly after it emerged HMRC had failed to prosecute Paul Bloomfield – a property tycoon who hadn’t paid tax for 24 years – the government announced it was planning to penalise those who are obese or in the grip of an addiction if they were found to be contributing to their own worklessness by refusing treatment. The proposed cuts to their sickness benefits will yield a tiny amount when set against the millions people like Bloomfield made, but will be enough, no doubt, to tip more families into poverty.