They say that there are only two certainties in this world – death and taxes. But that’s only since the government started its crackdown on tax cheats. Before then it was only death that was certain. Because unlike the nation’s plumbers and carpenters, the grim reaper has never been one to accept cash in bony hand.And a good thing too. Imagine the grim reaper was like your local cheerful handyman. Imagine he could also be bribed with a few grubby 20 pound notes, a nudge and a wink and an allowance to cheat death for a little bit longer. Just to let you off for a few more years. Society would be turned on its head, humanity as we know it would grind to a halt.
It’s bad enough that so many plumbers and carpenters do it. By giving these scoundrels their money as cash in return for a ‘good price’, you’re effectively cheating the taxman and it’s costing the government around £2bn a year. It is a foul stain upon the fabric of society. As Treasury minister David Gauke puts it, engaging in this practice is “morally wrong”.
And even though there is an estimated £13 trillion of hidden wealth tucked away in the offshore banks of the rich and super rich, the government quite rightly prefers to turn its beady eyes on the money that changes hands (quite literally) at home.
Presumably that’s because paying tradesmen in cash degrades the moral fibre of society more than anything else. It defiles our everyday transactions and it puts the false but pernicious idea into our heads that it’s ok to cheat just a little bit, especially if the money is going to the cheap and cheerful local tradesman who isn’t really harming anyone.
But the fact of the matter is that he’s harming you, he’s harming me and he’s harming himself. He’s causing the breakdown of society. The outcry against Mr Gauke for pointing this out goes only to show that the country’s moral compass has failed and we can no longer see right from wrong.
Thankfully this glaring gap in the ethical standards of many a Briton is soon to be put right by the government. According to news reports, HMRC have set up teaching modules for primary schools to help kids “understand the obligations of being a good citizen and discuss what should happen to those who are not prepared to work under such obligations”.
The kids will then be asked if they can think of any examples they may have heard of in their local area, including, I would hope, their crooked parents and relatives.

This is a movement from the ground up, teaching the next generation to be truthful and honest informants for the greater good of society. If this generation is past redemption, at least the next one should be given a chance to make up for the sins of their fathers.
So here is a message for all the cash-in-hand paying parents of Britain. Your grubby twenty pound notes are being watched closely. Not only by the taxman but by your children too. Because while you are busy harming society with your sly winks and cash payments, the government is busy putting society back together again through the honest re-education of your children who will ensure that you pay what you owe.
So start paying your taxes now, evil tradesmen and their aiders and abettors. You deserve what is coming to you for destroying our society.
Get into the habit of paying your taxes now before they ratchet up the pressure even further and start summarily sending you lot to the firing squad.
Remember, evil tax dodgers, the grim reaper don’t take cash.