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Et tu, England?
I guess we Americans could take some comfort from the fact that our own plutocrats on Wall Street and in Washington are not the only clueless, out-of-touch, bunch of narcissistic leaders in the world. But, I don’t – it doesn't make me feel any better to see Britain under the same yoke of elitism that's weighing down our economy, democracy, and sense of national unity.
Welcome to "Pasty-gate." A pasty is a culinary icon to the British masses – a hot, savory pastry that is rich in flavor, yet inexpensive. So, facing a sizeable budget deficit, the ruling Conservative Party of corporate-hugging Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a cold plate of right-wing austerity that would make our own Republican leaders proud: cut taxes on mega-rich elites, while imposing a new 20-percent tax on pasties, the food of the commoners.
I say – whot rot, eh?
To add insult to injury, Cameron chose his close friend and Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to push the pasty tax through Parliament. Osborne, who'll inherit both a fortune and the title of "baronet" from his father, hails from the stuffiest echelon of England's social elites.
Trying to explain the need to tax the simple grub of the working class – people who're already battered by high gasoline prices and a jobless job market – Osborne stiffly attempted a populist pose: "We are all in this together," he stammered. Unfortunately, for him, he was asked at a parliamentary hearing to say when he last sampled a pasty at a bakery chain specializing in the tasty edible. He was flummoxed, finally admitting he never goes there.
Such punishing of the majority on behalf of the precious few is why Cameron would lose by at least 10 points if the election were held today. After all, even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked. Ordinary Brits are getting kicked right in their pasties.
"A Tax on Snacks Aggravate Austerity Tensions in Britain," www.nytimes.com, March 29, 2012.