For evidence that being in power goes straight to politicians' heads, look no further than plans to give the Revenue the right to seize 'unpaid taxes' direct from bank accounts. Oh, they protest, we are only after a minority of people - and There Will Be Safeguards!
Seeveral years ago I sold up from a company of which I was part-owner. It was a complicated transaction, and I found myself in disagreement with the Revenue over the tax I owed - the disputed amount was a six-figure sum. The matter took nearly 2 years to settle, but it was handled professionally enough (though not expeditiously), resulting in my side of the argument prevailing. Even then, I didn't much enjoy the accountant's bill for the effort involved. What, do we suppose, would have been the situation if HMRC had wielded the power to grab first and *discuss* later ?
I think we can guess accurately enough: we know these people of old - the ones who use anti-terrorist legislation to enforce litter laws; the council officials who can say: "We make no apology for using all the powers Parliament has given us".
There is estimated to be between £5-10 billion at stake in disputes with HMRC over just the simpler personal 'tax-avoidance schemes', never mind the more complex and corporate ones. Perhaps there isn't much sympathy with Jimmy Carr et al in such matters: but the additional amounts under the general heading of 'money the Revenue would like to get its hands on' must dwarf this amount. An initial gravy-train for accountant and lawyers, no doubt (compensation for cutting the Legal Aid budget?) - but shortly thereafter it will reduce the UK to a cash economy, and the boom will be in offshore accounts and capacious mattresses. VAT revenues will plummet and the domestic banking sector will implode. No foreigner will go anywhere near a UK-based bank.
Think carefully, Genius George.