No, of Course I didn’t. Rather, it was Elizabeth Proctor that Abigail Williams saw with the Devil (along with a host of the other inhabitants of Salem) in Arthur Miller’s 1953 classic The Crucible, about the New England witch craze seen through the perspective of McCarthyism. I have found this powerful drama resonating in my mind all week with the media coverage since the Panama leaks.
It has been a gruesome and unedifying spectacle. I am glad that the Prime Minister has said that he ought to have handled it a lot better, but there is nevertheless something deeply distasteful about the interest in private matters, the assumption of guilt by association, and the attribution of the basest of motives to any action. I was appalled to see Mrs Cameron’s gift to her son described in The Times as a ‘tax dodge’. No it isn’t, it’s a gift. If his mother survives for 7 years after making it, then it is still a gift, even though it will not attract any tax. That is our law, if we don’t like it, then we can change it, but we shouldn’t criticize people for acting lawfully.
I really dislike the precedent that has now been set. Is there to be no privacy? Are we going to go the way of those Nordic countries that require everyone’s tax returns to be published and available to every nosy parker? Should all our gifts and private arrangements be made public? What on earth are we becoming?