A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: the new tax rise

Boris Johnson has recently announced a 1.25% tax increase on national insurance in order to ‘help provide greater funding for health and social care.’ This specific increase is advertised as being ‘legally ring fenced’ and will only be allocated to health and social care. This tax is nothing short of an attack on the lowest paid workers in this country, an insult to what the NHS actually needs and further demonstrates the sheer incompetence and tyranny of the British State under its current premiership.

It should be noted that this is another broken promise by the ruling Conservative party. It appears that lies and deceit are becoming an even more common occurrence for them. Considering only recently we were discussing the Greensill scandal and the awarding of COVID-19 NHS contracts to friends of the Conservative party, as well as the more subtle lie of them building ‘40 new hospitals’ when they are in fact just upgrading them slightly. The list goes on, and so do their lies, and as such I doubt anyone can be surprised that the Conservative party have become comfortable with openly stating that they have gone back on previous promises.

However, the introduction of this tax rise is not shocking because of the lie it was built upon, it’s the way this rise is being presented. The excuse of COVID-19 has been raised once again regarding the need for this promise to be broken. I find it particularly hypocritical that the COVID-19 excuse is only ever used when the British State has made a catastrophic error that has cost thousands of lives, but the blame game is always rife in Parliament.

Furthermore, this excuse has been used as a way to attempt to ‘downplay’ the fact that this tax rise will only harm those who are paid the least. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that we as a society have massive capabilities to help one another outside of the State apparatus. This has been demonstrated in no better place than within anarchist circles, with mutual aid groups and community support groups often being led by anarchists. However, it’s unfortunate that the Conservatives are attempting to capitalise on these sentiments of mutual support by framing this tax rise as ‘us all chipping in to help the NHS’, at least this is heavily implied.

If the British State believes that taxation is the way to solve the NHS’s problems, we all know who they should be taxing. It isn’t the lowest earners and the workers, especially considering that Universal Credit Benefit is expected to be cut, it’s those who earn the most. I find it insulting that this burden is being placed on those who earn the least, when those who are earning the highest in society are paying almost no tax, yet appear to get off without any sort of punishment. Whilst it should be noted that the new tax rise does also target those who own dividends with a similar percentage tax rise, this is laughably low compared to how much capital they accumulate year on year.

It is not surprising that this is the case. With the Conservatives donor list filled with hedge fund managers, millionaire corporation owners and property tycoons it is clear that the interests of the British State are firmly with those who only seek to oppress us. This is ever more apparent amid recent claims that the Conservative party have an exclusive ‘donor club’ in which those who donate vast sums of money to the Conservatives have inside access to the cabinet, and consequently to policy decision making. In Parliamentary politics, money talks, and it bites at those who are oppressed by the capitalist system, which is almost all of us.

We all know that capitalist reforms will never fix the capitalist system, but this weak attempt to help the NHS by taxing more heavily those who are already under a vast amount of stress under the current capitalist paradigm will do nothing but put more pressure on the NHS. With benefits being cut and taxes on workers rising, it will be no surprise to me when health issues in this demographic rise as a direct result of economic hardship, especially with the winter coming. Whilst those who benefit from the tyrannical actions of the State sleep warm in their beds at night, the people continue to suffer.

In the coming months, it is more important than ever that we as anarchists continue to criticise the capitalists State’s actions. Our mutual aid efforts will most likely be stretched considering the cut in benefits and raising of taxes, but we can help those who are struggling when the State does not, like we always have. It is well known to anarchists that political victories are won on the streets, so it is important that we channel the same passion we have for the Black Lives Matter and Kill the Bill protests into these attempts to inflict even more misery on societies most vulnerable, especially when it is disguised as an attempt at help. Whilst it is obvious that any increase in funds will help the NHS, this half-hearted attempt does not provide enough, and causes far more problems than it solves in trying to help the NHS. Consequently, like we always do, we must support one another outside of the capitalist State’s apparatus, and fight them constantly for the World we deserve to be able to live a life worth living in.

~Don


Image: Steven Feather, published under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.