When I was a lad, and my dad was out of work for a bit, I got free school meals.
Later, I got a full student grant. I even got housing benefit one year when I was studying.
For a while after my studies, I struggled to find a job and had to sign on.
Now I’m older and am lucky enough to have a well-paid job.
And – even after 20 odd years in the workforce – whenever I look at my payslip and see how much tax I’m paying, I feel proud.
I feel proud that I can help – along with the other people who pay tax – to keep the schools and hospitals going. To pay for our roads and museums and police. And all the other things the state does to make our lives so safe and wonderful in this county.
I don’t want to avoid that basic duty. Why should I? I benefit from living in a civilised society – so I should pay my share.
And I wonder if the rich people who avoid paying tax just don’t understand why it’s important and enjoyable to contribute.
Maybe because they go to private schools, have private healthcare and private yachts where they have private parties and talk about privatisation.
But they still use the public roads when they drive their Bentleys. They still need air traffic controllers when they fly their private jets.
And they need prison warders to keep them safe when they’re locked up for tax evasion.