David Gauke has been much in evidence these last few days lecturing the public on the dangers of 'moral repugnance', which is a new phrase for the ancient practice of seeking, legally, to minimise your tax bill.
The most famous precedent for this was delivered by Lord Tomlin in 1936 when ruling on the Duke of Westminster's tax planning strategy. "Every man is entitled to order his affairs so that the tax attaching under the appropriate Acts is less than it otherwise would be."
It's a cast-iron precedent in English law and, you might imagine, one that anyone able to do so would follow. I'm sure tax payers would take a more relaxed view of what they pay if goverment was able to demonstrate that it spends the money it extracts from people with the same care and prudence as the public who earned it. That, in my view, is their moral obligation: not to waste money they've taken from others by power of statute.
But do they? Of course not. Countless public enquiries have shown tens of billions of pounds of your money and mine being peed up against the wall on pet projects for politicians and civil servants, from failed NHS computer schemes to just about every piece of military procurement there ever was. And much, much more. Check out the Taxpayers' Alliance web site and weep.
Yet anyone who seeks only to pay what is due is 'morally repugnant'. You couldn't make it up.
And now, according to Mr Gauke, we have a moral obligation to act as tax inspectors of the first instance by checking that whomever we pay in cash is going to declare it. The gardener, the local jobbing builder, the paper boy.
This is the same David Gauke that last year claimed £10,248.32 in expenses from you and I in order to avoid paying the stamp duty on his London home (source: Guido Fawkes).
Might I humbly suggest that Mr Gauke is perhaps not the best qualified person in government to lecture us on this matter.