For me, the first really interesting moment in the election came last week when Ed Miliband announced that if Labour got into power he would abolish the ludicrous loophole which allows 110,000 fabulously wealthy people to live in Britain full time while pretending to be domiciled elsewhere, thereby paying tax only on whatever income they funnel to themselves in the UK.
Even more interesting — and depressing — was the resulting ‘controversy’ about the pledge, which seemed to revolve entirely around whether Miliband’s policy would result in more or less tax being gathered by the Inland Revenue. This is another illustration of the extent to which neoliberalist iron has entered the souls of the political elite. At base, the non-dom issue isn’t about the pragmatics of taxation; it’s about whether something is morally right or wrong — whether there should be one law for the rich and another for the rest of us. Even if there were a net loss to the Exchequer, the loophole should be closed for the simple reason that it is iniquitous.
And then, in a real you-couldn’t-make-it-up development, we find that (a) the Governor of the Bank of England and (b) Lord Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail, have non-dom status. Even more bizarrely, Rothermere inherited the status from his father.