Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Is This a Story About PC Politics from Across the Pond?

George Miller of 'London Calling' is upset because the UK's Inland Revenue (collectors of the nation's income tax) is contemplating a change in inheritance laws. Presently, Britain's widows receive their husbands' estates tax-free, as I understand it. But Muslims in the country have been long lobbying for a change in the rules. The change would allow multiple wives of husbands of Muslims observing the religious rule of sharia to also receive a piece of the inheritance tax-free. Miller calls this an incentive for polygamy.

I wondered what might be motivating this policy review because, should it be adopted, a nightmare would likely ensue. Some would see it as preferential treatment for the adherents of one religion. Others would call for similar flexibility for others in the distribution of their estates.

While the IR, as it's called, may have an independent board of governors, it nonetheless falls under the supervision of the Chancelor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, a member of the Labour Party inner circle around Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Blair will soon be required to call a general election. Conservatives and Liberal Democrats appear to be incapable of dislodging Mr. Blair and his party from power. But the Labourites are probably concerned. The PM's enthusiastic involvement with the war in Iraq is not popular in the UK.

In the meantime, demographics show that the Muslim vote in any elections will be very important. There are now more Muslims than Presbyterians, Methodists, Sikhs, Hindus, or Jews in the UK. And they are a more cohesive group than others.

Is the Inland's policy review about politics and demographics more than any notions of what's just or fair?

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