Fishy Rishi could learn a thing or two about economics from Islam

Rishi Sunak. Editorial credit: Cubankite / Shutterstock.com

Dr Abdul Wahid, chairman of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, says the embattled Chancellor of the Exchequer could learn much from the Islamic economic system which prioritises wealth for the many and not for the few.

“Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.” —  Henry Kissinger

For 18 months, it was as if the British Chancellor could do no wrong. Armed with historic low interest rates, an unlimited cheque book, and a free key to the Bank of England’s money vault, he could spend like an entire fleet’s worth of drunken sailors – and he did.

Now the party is truly over. First, he was caught out not seeming to know how to pay for petrol with a debit card – and now his family’s tax affairs have become front page news. It seems “dishy Rishi” has become more of a “fishy Rishi.”

Not only had his “Non-Dom” wife paid no UK tax on her overseas dividends of £50m in prior years – despite living in Downing Street at the taxpayers’ expense – there are new revelations that until recently the Chancellor was holding an American Green Card – something you’d expect if he was living in Richmond, Virginia, rather than his constituency of Richmond-upon-Thames.

Now if Rishi Sunak were a pharmacist or owned a corner shop, maybe we could turn a blind eye where he and his family domicile and pay their taxes. But given that he sets the taxes for everyone else, there are obvious charges of hypocrisy and conflict of interest.

One enraged Daily Telegraph reader wrote”

“Self interest has shown through in his tax policies: a) With the country desperate for funds due to his largesse, he didn’t tax the assets of the non-domiciled, he taxed the assets of the private pensioner. b) He didn’t tax the incomes of the non-domiciled, he taxed the incomes of the middle classes and the private sector workers. c) He didn’t tax the benefits of those with grace and favour homes, he taxed those who have to heat and fund their own.”

Government of the elite, by the elite, for the elite

This Chancellor clearly has no sense of what the average voter faces: whether you are a relatively higher earner being taxed at marginal rates of circa 70% when all taxes are accounted for; or a lower earner struggling to fund daily inflationary life.

Indeed, the Chancellor isn’t one bad apple, but part of an orchard’s worth of apples, which has resulted in the MPs expenses scandal, Panama papers and tax havens, encouraging investment and residency by Russian oligarchs, the PPE donor fiasco and “Partygate” where Number 10 staff were engaged in alcohol-fuelled karaoke nights whilst they forced tens of millions others into a lockdown.

The British political class – the political heirs and descendants of Britain’s colonial elite – have once again demonstrated that democracy is government of the elite, by the elite, for the elite. It is the barrel itself that encourages the apples to rot because liberal democracy exposes itself peculiarly to manipulation by the owners of capital. As the American columnist and writer P.J. O’ Rourke said: “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.”

Only Islam has codified laws of fairness, justice and equality under the law. Unlike human created systems like democracy which can be rigged, Islam’s principles are divine and cannot be manipulated.

The Islamic economic system views the human being as a human being  – not as a machine, nor as a commodity or mere resources to be used by others. We believe the fundamental problem is about how we get wealth to circulate faster for the many, rather than how we should create wealth for the few, that is expected to trickle down to the humble citizen.

Our belief is that a society where the rich hold on to their wealth is one where a society stagnates. That’s why we believe the system shouldn’t be rigged for the elite, that capital shouldn’t be hoarded and that legitimate trade should flourish. Islam would abolish taxes on income and spending and replace them with wealth-based and land-based levies. It would break up cartels, monopolies and vast amounts of land that remain unutilised.

It would also abolish the excessive risk taking in finance and encourage real innovation in science, engineering and manufacturing; get rid of limited liability and flawed corporate governance and make partners responsible and accountable for the decisions they make, not hide behind the non-dom tax laws, offshore havens or state bailouts as they did in 2008. The Islamic system would stop the lobbying – a sanitised word that encompasses a mix of bribery and bullying – which contaminates the regulatory framework and which allows those who have the most money to write the rules to benefit themselves.

Sayiduna Abu Bakr al Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, the first Caliph, set a standard for Islamic governance in his first inaugural address, when he said: “The weak among you is deemed strong by me, until I return to them that which is rightfully theirs, insha Allah. And the strong among you are deemed weak by me, until I take from them what is rightfully (someone else’s), insha Allah.”

What Rishi, Boris and the rest don’t get, is that ordinary people are now seeing in high resolution that the Western political system is not the system of Abraham Lincoln, but a “Jimmy Savile system” – all flashy and shiny on the outside, yet completely rotten within.

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