Tax matters

5 Feb

So. Labour, emboldened by Falciani on HSBC and enraged by Signor Pessina on how Britons should vote, has tax avoidance in its sights. Predictably the Mail responded with headlines like that of three days ago: Red Ed the Tax Avoider. More than just workaday smear by virulently right wing organ, it insinuates that since Labour and Tories benefit then tax avoidance is either OK or too complex to be left to those whose “class war” views risk a mass exodus of capital.

Mail owner Viscount Rothermere knows a thing or two about the latter since he pays almost no UK tax. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me in simple terms how so venomous a rag, owned by so venomous a man, squares with parliamentary democracy. More influential than the Sun, whose right wing instincts are always subordinate to the need to titillate, the Mail vilifies relentlessly those it detests …

… speaking of which, also three days ago, the Mail ran a story on benefits fraud involving a mother and adult daughter. The double standard is, I hope, too obvious to spell out.

Meanwhile the Telegraph takes Labour to task today because they cloud the difference between tax avoidance (legal) and tax evasion (illegal)”. Really? And there was I thinking a great service was done by the likes of UK Uncut in questioning for the first time a long held understanding that the former is right and proper even as the rest of us are told “we’re all in this together”.

It gets better though. The same article goes on to say that Labour unnecessarily reduces trust in our democratic process by alluding constantly to scandal, and distracts the public from the issues that really matter”. Thanks Telegraph! I’ve been wondering for a while now why my trust in the democratic process is so abysmally low, and why I’m so easily distracted by the stench of hypocrisy. But as it happens I’d not the slightest intention of voting Labour anyway.


PS I forgot to say that the Telegraph, which put me straight on my misconception that tax avoidance is a Bad Thing, is no longer owned by convict Lord Black but the Barclay brothers, whose estimated £6bn puts Mail owning Rothermere’s measly £720mn in the shade. As do tax arrangements – “I live abroad for health reasons” – that make Rothermere’s a model of transparency. What a blessed relief to us lesser folk, rudely forced by Silly Milly to think about tax, to have such masterly guidance on so bewildering a moral maze.

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