Moral pronouncements by ministers of the crown carry little or no credibility these days, particularly so when the minister in question, David Gauke, is married to a tax-avoidance lawyer and has claimed back £11k in stamp duty on his second home (HT Guido) while also clocking up £120k a year in expenses including travel to his constituency from Westminster. I'll also make a fair guess that Gauke's tax return is a model of maxing-out every single allowable expense, for which he needs large wads of VAT receipts. No wonder he's so in favour of them. Why be restricted, like the little man, to getting back 20% by paying in cash when you can claim 100% with a bit of nous?
Government ministers have destroyed their own moral authority. You can't shove gay weddings and bloody pointless windmills down the public's retching throat and then lecture them about morality; you can't waste their wealth and that of their children and grandchildren on saving your chums in the banks and then lecture them on fiscal responsibility, you can't give the BBC a monopoly of £4bn a year in TV Tax and then condone their arrangements for their richest fat-cats to not pay tax but condemn the poor widow for the tenner paid to her window cleaner, and you can't sell the nation's sovereignty to a faceless supernational power for a mess of pottage and expect people to heed your words. While Blair, Hoon, Irvine and Straw are allowed to walk free in England, while Brown and Balls continue to profit by their malfeasance and while the entire political class is more remote, more separated from the people than ever before you have no firm ground on which to stand and deliver moral pronouncements. Ministers are mired in the ordure of corruption, peculation, patronage and placement, besmirched by deception and mendacity and fouled with the filth of their mutual self-protection at our expense. They have all the moral authority of sewer-rats.