As I arrived at the ICAEW for last night's Hardman memorial lecture, Dave Hartnett spotted me and came over to say hello. He also promised an end to his recurring joshing - ever since the 2003 Wyman Debate which I chaired. By Dave's own admission his teasing at a recent Treasury event was a little pointed. That aside I've taken the teasing with good humour.
When the lecture started, Dave was introduced by Chris Sanger who made reference to the outcome of the 2003 Wyman debate. Chris noted that Dave had led the opposition to the motion: "This House believes that tax is not a moral issue – it’s purely a matter of law" and then referred to the official outcome of the debate which I've written about previously on this blog: Dave Hartnett thinks accountants can't count - and it's my fault
After Chris's intro Dave mounted the platform and immediately departed from his prepared script. He told the audience of how he'd met me earlier in the evening and of his promise; he then duly broke it - with an apology to me that he had had to do so as Chris had brought up the subject and Dave had to defend his honour. I would have done the same thing had our positions been reversed.
I was very touched later in the evening that Dave made a point of finding me to apologise for having to break his promise. I'm not sure he had any choice though given the subject matter of his lecture last night: Tax, transparency and trust. ;-)