I had what I consider to be quite a lot of fun talking to a packed audience in Edinburgh yesterday on the subject of tax justice and Creating a Just Scotland. My thanks to all who came, who chatted afterwards and who bought books. I appreciated a number of generous and warm comments.
One of the questions that came up, which often does, was what a non technical person could do to support tax justice.
I mentioned supporting the Fair Tax Mark and the companies that have that award.
But what I most strongly suggested was simply saying that you believe in paying tax. Most especially, I said that people should grab a public platform to do this. These are available, especially in things like radio phone-in programmes.
I have done this, most recently to Nick Ferrari on LBC, where he was shocked when I said I was happy to pay tax. He asked me, in bemusement, why that was the case.
My answer was simple. I said some of the most important things in my life have been paid for by taxes. My own safe birth (despite complications) was in an NHS hospital. So too were my sons born in NHS hospitals, and neither were easy. So I also have the NHS to thank for the life of my wife, in all probability.
My education, even at university, was largely state funded. My children are at a state school.
And every day the state makes my life better, from providing the open spaces where I walk my dog these days, onwards. The list I could create is very long.
Anyone could do the same. You don't need to be an expert.
And nor do you need to be an expert to say that tax cheats also want and use these things but don't want to pay for them, which is why you want tax cheating to be beaten, because they're abusing us all and denying us the even better things the state could and should do.
The more this is said the better. If the political will to prevent tax cheating is to be created the voice of people who think tax is a good thing needs to be heard.
And you can say that.
No special training is needed.