Anything the ICAEW said about the Fair Tax Mark was bound to stir up opinion. Now, I don’t think anybody would sit down and plan to achieve the current situation, but in many respects there has been a positive outcome.
If ICAEW had not been positive about the Fair Tax Mark, it is possible that the Fair Tax Mark would have not been overly concerned about the ICAEW’s opinion and any future criticism of method could have fallen on deaf ears. However, the fact that the Fair Tax Mark enthusiastically quoted the ICAEW is evidence of how valuable the ICAEW’s backing actually is.
As a result, now that the ICAEW has reiterated some of the criticisms that have been made of the new Fair Tax Mark methodology, it is more difficult for the Fair Tax Mark to ignore those concerns.
I am pleased to see we have a situation where valid concerns are no longer dismissed out of hand and accepted as an essential part of establishing an independent and objective benchmark.
Unfortunately, I think there is a presumption that all criticism is intended to undermine the Fair Tax Mark. That is something that I don’t think is the case.
People’s motives for giving criticism are irrelevant to the substance of that criticism. If the point is pertinent and valid, it doesn’t matter who said it. In that spirit, I offer this quote from “some bloke”:
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
My honest view is that to properly assess the usefulness of a Fair Tax Mark, we first need as healthy a specimen as possible
I should point out that I have never said that I think the idea of a Fair Tax Mark is necessarily bad. I don’t think it is necessarily a good idea either. I think it’s an idea that is dependent wholly on method and execution.
If it becomes useful, that’s a good thing. Heck, I might even look for it.
But if the Fair Tax Mark chooses to ignore substantive issues, I daresay the public will reciprocate. As some other bloke said:
Those who do not read criticism will rarely merit to be criticised.