Our elected representatives, and wealthy elite whom our politicians service and support and hope to emulate one day, secrete their wealth in offshore accounts to avoid paying tax. You could have knocked me down with a bad joke, or a bad Jock.
I am flabbergasted. We trusted them. We trusted them explicitly. We kept our imagination on a short lease. They would not tell us one thing and do another. Surely not?
And one of them was the UK Prime Minister.
David Cameron allowed some poor flunky in Number 10 Downing Street to cover his arse all week. A spokesperson threw out press releases in all directions disclaiming any knowledge of his boss having made a lot of money from his father’s offshore company account … before he admitted he had.
Each release was a model of attenuating truth better known as spin: The Prime Minister states categorically that he has no offshore accounts; the Prime Minister has never benefitted from any offshore fund; the Prime Minister won’t benefit from his father’s offshore fund; the Prime Minister won’t benefit from his father’s fund in the future; The Prime Minister has not benefitted from his father’s offshore fund in the past- oh, crap.
Cameron was last seen in the back garden of Number 10 pouring petrol on a collection of Panama hats. No one is going to associate him with that sinkhole of venal depravity, Mossak Fonseca, a company of greasy accountancy lawyers.
Mossak Fonseca sounds like a poor Austrian wine.
The notion a man sent to Eton at Eton prices would not benefit in later life from cash stowed under the radar was never going to fly. But he has done nothing wrong or illegal. Just as Berlusconi brought in a law forbidding the arrest of an Italian Prime Minister for cavorting with underage girls, and money laundering, (or was it laundering under-aged girls?) our politicians altered the law to make theft from the nation legal.
For over thirty years Cameron’s offshore fund has never paid a penny in UK tax. Meanwhile, Cameron parades his pious hypocrisy admitting mea culpa, while the UK continues to protect the predatory practices of the Virgin Islands and other offshore centres under the British Crown.
There’s a BIG problem with avoiding tax
We are told over and over again by the media that avoiding tax is lawful, evading tax is not. Isn’t semantics a wonderful thing? That explanation leaves us to fall back on a weak riposte. Avoiding tax in any manner is immoral. Well, it’s more than that, a lot more.
Not paying your rightful share of tax empties the coffers that pay for welfare, social security, our pensions, the health service, filling pot holes in your roads. It allows neo-liberal chancellors to tell us we’re broke, in debt, and then to impose alien economic policies that remove more wealth from the nation to give to the wealthy few.
Yes, more than immoral, bloody criminal.
“11 million documents leaked and all about corruption, the biggest in history” says Edward Snowden. You know it has to be BIG if Snowden’s impressed.
Iceland – where evildoers go to prison
In Iceland they do things differently. There they don’t like liars and cheats. They believe in old-fashioned qualities such as honesty and openness. What joy to see the democratic process at work and effective.
Photographs of thousands of Icelandic citizens protesting outside their parliament building demanding the resignation of their prime minister for using a phony ‘Stash Yer Dosh’ account in Panama brought back memories of protesting crowds outside BBC Scotland’s headquarters.
Of course, there is a significant difference between Scottish protestors and Icelandic protestors. Our media services and newspapers all in praise of Icelandic democracy at work conveniently forget they dubbed BBC protestors ‘an ugly rabble’, ‘racist’, ‘SNP activists,’ and a ‘separatist mob.’
The Chinese have loadsa money
The Chinese want to invest in Scotland. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, happy to oblige, was photographed signing a heads of agreement with Chinese politicians and two Chinese companies for a reported possible £10 billion investment.
It’s not a ‘deal’ as yet, only a deal to do a deal later. Heads of agreements are usually two people agreeing to agree on a joint project once they’ve had time to think about bit clearly and concisely – and consult their respective lawyers. A formal contract follows at a later date. Photographs of the signing were all over the Internet for all to see. Here is one.
Establishing trading relationships with other nations without asking permission of Westminster to pick up the phone, or giving the British Treasury a back pocket ‘commission’, could become an enjoyable habit.
The memorandum stated that its purpose was to set out the “basis and general principles for initial discussions” on how SinoFortone and CR3 can “develop and fund major infrastructure projects in Scotland.” It added: “In so far as possible, the parties will be mutually supportive of each other in working towards this purpose and seek to develop a relationship that could lead to a program of investment into Scottish priority projects and infrastructure to the value of £10bn.”
Sturgeon voiced the opinion that Scotland could benefit in areas such as affordable housing, communities, clean energy, industry and business parks and transportation infrastructure. What’s not to like?
Her opponents set to work muddying the Chinese tea leaves, immediately branding her a stool pigeon, cavorting with a corrupt company, and signing a ‘deal’ behind their back, as if somehow they had a right to be at the signing ceremony. They said she had ‘kept quiet’ over the meeting, forgetting to check the Scottish parliament’s website where a photograph of the signing had been posted, and the very same republished in newspapers.
That the company had been checked out by civil servants and found to be clean. In any event, deals already put in place by Westminster with other Chinese companies for investment in Englandshire escaped their attention. And here’s the proof:
In televised debates with other party leaders reminiscent of a police line up, Nicola Sturgeon was challenged on her party’s promise to introduce a 50p tax rate on the mega-wealthy living in Scotland. Why had she not done it now that the Scottish Parliament had been give tax raising powers?
Sturgeon had a good reason to delay any increase in the early years of a new parliament. The First Minister told a BBC Scottish leaders’ debate on the first full day of the Holyrood election campaign that although she supported increasing the additional rate from 45p to 50p later rather than sooner she had civil servants doing a Yes Minister on her plans. She ruled out making the change in April 2017 in response to a civil service analysis warning it might end up losing £30 million of tax as people earning more than the £150,000 threshold could move their money south of the Border.
“We have tax raising power but not tax avoidance powers.”
The leader of what’s left of the Tories in Scotland, Ruth ‘Tank’ Davidson, thought Sturgeon’s stance stupid. She was promising to raise tax on the rich by not raising tax on the rich. Unwittingly ensuring her own tax policy was a slam dunk contradiction, Davidson added, “We will withdraw any 50p rate of tax if we gain power,” a pitifully forlorn promise considering the Conservatives are canvassing on the loser’s slogan “Vote for us to keep the SNP accountable.”
Glowering meaningfully at Labour’s Deaddug, Davidson said, there was a “vacancy in this country” for a strong opposition to hold the SNP to account.
It’s a strange situation when the electorate is exhorted to vote for political parties that do not have a hedgehog’s chance of crossing the M8 in one piece.
Kezia Deaddug, leader of the rump stump Labour group said Scottish Labour would put a penny on the basic and higher rates of income tax and increase the additional rate to 50p, with the proceeds of the latter – gazillions and gazillions of pounds – being used to improve education. “We will close all state schools because we will have so much money we can send our children to private schools.”
She has a point. Why invest it in schools Labour built under PPI rip-off schemes that are falling down?
Sturgeon all over the place, and worse, smiling!
More money fell from the heavens onto Scotland to alleviate us of our problems caused by others. Scotland’s opponents were livid. Why should Scotland get stacks of cash and we don’t, they cried, and wept, and grieved into their wine glasses.
Two of Scotland’s remaining steel mills threatened with closure by the conglomerate Tata, were saved, workers jobs and all, taken over by Liberty House a company run by Sanjeev Gupta, executive chair of the Liberty House Group.
Gupta said, a “new era” for the industry had begun as a result of the deal. Six months after the struggling Indian conglomerate Tata Steel announced it was mothballing the two sites with the loss of 270 jobs, it handed the keys to the new owner, Liberty House Group.
With the Scottish Government having played a key role in the deal, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and enterprise minister Fergus Ewing both watched the ceremony of the handing over of the keys.
The good news was broadcast by BBC London’s Scottish outpost … without once mentioning that the Scottish Government had led the talks from the start to a successful conclusion. You just know BBC’s excuse: “we are almost at an election and didn’t want to give any party an advantage.” Aye, right.
I’ve won loadsa money, ya losers
Finally, some secretive person won £37 million on the Lottery.
Every time I hear of a single individual winning millions I think how better it would be if a lot of people won one million each. Anyhow, the mysterious winner is probably consulting his private bank now for a suitable offshore account or two.