Root of all Evil?

  • Source: Liberal Democrat News
  • Date: 23 January, 2004
  • Author: David Boyle

You wouldn't think a book published by the Church of Scotland, and purporting to bridge the gap between money values and God, would have a great deal of impact on contemporary politics.

But with a fair wind ? and in this case, a complementary quote from Alexander McCall Smith ? this one just might.

Liberal Democrat Antonia Swinson is a former columnist on Scotland on Sunday, and her book Root of all Evil? How to make spiritual values count, both has vitally important things to say, and says them in a compelling and enjoyable way.

Because while most mainstream 'officially political' issues seem to leave swathes of the electorate cold, Antonia's fascinating mix of ethical banking, local money and tales from the corporate responsibility front line have the breath of real life about them. And that makes them fascinating.

Like the story of brewers Tennent's scandalous advertising campaign that sought to hype anti-English racism in Scotland. Or the weight, of personal debt that now afflicts so many in the UK ? and its potential consequences for all of us.

The point is that the behaviour of the faceless giants from whom we are forced to buy our food, or the strange underworld of corporate finance that has such a vast hidden effect on our lives ? or just the simple ethical decision about where to put our money ? are not just the stuff of life, but the shape of politics to come.

Antonia is a leading light in the campaign for a land tax, and although her chapter on this was persuasive, it was the one part of the book I wasn't completely convinced by ? I'm not sure whether too much emphasis on land taxes really will widen land ownership, for example. Still less, provide us with greener cities.

But it's important that these issues are discussed in the mainstream ? because taxing differently is definitely the key to a. more sustainable world.

So if Antonia didn't quite do for the reputation of landowners what she did for that of Anthony Trollope ? she uncovered evidence of his corrupt involvement with shipping magnates ? she has written a book that deserves to be widely read and debated. The sooner the better.

Root of all Evil? by Antenna Swinson, St Andrew Press, ?7.99. David Boyle is the author of Authenticity and a member of the FPC.

Wednesday, 24 April, 2019
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