Dr Abdul Wahid, chairman of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, says the embattled Chancellor of the Exchequer could learn a lot from the Islamic economic system which prioritizes wealth for the many and not the few.
“Ninety percent of politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.” — Henry Kissinger
For 18 months it felt like the UK Chancellor could do no wrong. Armed with historically low interest rates, an unlimited checkbook and a free key to the Bank of England vault, he could spend like an entire fleet of drunken sailors – and he did.
Now the party is really over. First he was caught off guard, seeming to have no idea how to pay for gas with a debit card – and now his family’s tax affairs are in the headlines. It seems that “dishy Rishi” has become more of a “fishy Rishi”.
Not only had his ‘Non-Dom’ wife paid no UK tax on her £50m overseas dividends in previous years – despite living in Downing Street at taxpayers’ expense – there are new revelations that until recently the chancellor held an American Green Card – something you would expect if he lived in Richmond, Virginia, rather than his constituency of Richmond-upon-Thames.
Now, if Rishi Sunak was a pharmacist or owned a corner store, we might be able to overlook where he and his family live and pay their taxes. But given that he sets taxes for everyone, there are obvious accusations of hypocrisy and conflict of interest.
A rabid reader of the Daily Telegraph wrote:
“Self-interest manifested itself in his tax policies: a) With the country desperate for funds due to his largesse, he did not tax the assets of the non-domiciled, he taxed the assets of the private retiree. b) It did not tax the income of non-residents, it taxed the income of the middle classes and private sector employees. c) He did not tax the benefits of those who have grace and houses of favor, he taxed those who must heat and finance theirs.
Government of the elite, by the elite, for the elite
This chancellor clearly has no idea what the average voter faces: if you’re a relatively higher income taxed at marginal rates of around 70% when all taxes are taken into account; or a lower income struggling to finance daily inflationary life.
Indeed, the Chancellor is not a bad apple, but part of the value of an apple orchard, which has led to the MP spending scandal, Panama papers and tax havens, encouraging investment and the residence of Russian oligarchs, the EPP donor fiasco and “Partygate” where Number 10 staff engaged in booze-fueled karaoke parties while forcing tens of millions of others into lockdown.
The British political class – the political heirs and descendants of the British colonial elite – have once again demonstrated that democracy is government of the elite, by the elite, for the elite. It is the barrel itself that makes the apples rot because liberal democracy is singularly exposed to the manipulation of the owners of capital. As the American columnist and writer PJ O’Rourke said, “When buying and selling is controlled by legislation, the first things to buy and sell are the legislators.
The Islamic economic system sees the human being as a human being – not as a machine, nor as a commodity or mere resources to be used by others. We believe that the fundamental problem is how to make wealth flow faster for the many, rather than how we should create wealth for the few, which should trickle down to the humble citizen.
Our belief is that a society where the rich retain their wealth is a society where society stagnates. That’s why we believe the system shouldn’t be rigged for the elite, capital shouldn’t be hoarded, and legitimate commerce should thrive. Islam would abolish taxes on income and expenditure and replace them with levies based on wealth and land. It would break up cartels, monopolies and vast tracts of land that remain unused.
It would also abolish excessive risk taking in finance and encourage true innovation in science, engineering and manufacturing; getting rid of limited liability and flawed corporate governance and making partners responsible and accountable for the decisions they make, not hiding behind non-national tax laws, offshore havens or state bailouts as they did so in 2008. The Islamic system would stop lobbying – a sanitized word that encompasses a mixture of bribes and intimidation – which contaminates the regulatory framework and allows those with the most money to write the rules to profit from it.
Sayiduna Abu Bakr al Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, the first Caliph, set a standard for Islamic governance in his first inaugural speech, when he said: “The weak among you is considered strong by me, until I come back to them which is rightfully theirs, insha Allah. And the strong among you are considered weak by me, until I take away what is rightful from them (someone else), insha’Allah.
What Rishi, Boris and the others don’t understand is that ordinary people are now seeing in high resolution that the Western political system is not Abraham Lincoln’s system, but a “Jimmy Savile system” – all flashy and shiny on the outside, but completely rotten on the inside.