Evil and the human suffering that goes with it is a strange thing to observe. With the constant news cycle there is no end to the evils that we read. Every day, every hour, new evil is uncovered, new evil that is really old evil, the same tired patterns endlessly repeating. It becomes a background to life and we become inoculated against caring because life is too short to take the time to feel the pain of everyone.
Then there comes an event of particular magnitude, evil beyond the usual and its as though all the unfelt injustice, all the unconsidered empathy, all the pain not shared, all of it gets rolled up into this one horrific event. The terrorist attack on Paris was such an event of particular evil, in a place not too far away, with acts of violence that given meaning to the word "senseless". The only purpose to cause as much human suffering as could be achieved.
The immediate response I had was to pray: "Lord Jesus, come back soon." For seeing such evil, how could I ever want to see such a thing again? Better by far that the world end, that Jesus returns, that this present fallen world is done away with. Even if there are 10 billion more of God's elect still to be saved, it seems better to have the world end now.
Despite my best intentions and concerted efforts at maintaining naivety, when it comes to the delicate matter of periods and tampons I am, through no desire of my own, very much a modern man. For example, I know that upon getting into a relationship one should download a tracker app, make discrete or not so discrete enquires, and then on a monthly(ish) basis supply flowers / chocolate / hot water bottle / sympathy as required. This knowledge was forced into my head by friends and sisters I should probably take the opportunity to thank right now and apologise for my reluctance to listen.
Still, it is with some surprise that I find myself writing on such a topic as a tampon tax. Then again, as an economist, tax has always held a fascination for me. In particular, the most remarkable aspect of the whole tampon tax debate is the extent of the anger it generates.
A little bit of maths is in order here. All following figures are estimations gained from use of the internet. Hopefully they are still accurate. It was surprisingly hard to get concrete figures.
It is generally considered that the tampon tax, at 5%, costs a woman anywhere from £0.98 to £6.00 a year (depending on the brand bought). The other day, I heard someone on TV said that women were not able to afford food because of the tampon tax. Now, if by food what was meant was 1 to 1.5 Sainsbury Meal Deals a year, then this fact might be considered correct. As a general observation, this is a tiny amount of money even for the poorest of society.