George Walford: Vesteyed Interests

It was recently reported in the public prints that the Vestey family had succeeded in avoiding, by legal means, the payment of some improbable amount of tax. Katharine Whitehorn, in the Observer of 26 October, 1980 (I think, but I omitted to date the cutting), makes her resentment plain:

Every time the Government announces further cuts and they close an old folks’ home, every time the local authority explains it’ll have to shut one of our few remaining nurseries, every time a hospital casualty shuts down for lack of funds, we can think: a few thousands from the Vesteys could have prevented that.

Yes, we can think that. But what would we have been able to think if the Vesteys had paid these taxes?

Every time the Government announces that stocks of Napalm, for burning the flesh off children, have been increased, every time another atomic warhead is added to the stocks, every time CS gas is used to disperse people demonstrating against government policy, every time a new tower block is built, driving its occupants insane, we could think: the taxes the Vesteys paid provided the funds for that.

Governments spend money on things Katharine Whitehorn would regard as bad, as well as on those she regards as good. Why does she take it for granted that the Vesteys’ non-payment has deprived us only of good things and not of bad? The answer can be put in several different ways, but they all amount to the same thing. Her articles in the Observer exhibit a moderate eidodynamism, therefore an identification with economic collectivism. The Vestey family, in this instance have exhibited strong economic individualism, and for the eidodynamics this can only have undesirable results.

from Ideological Commentary 8, November 1980.