Posts Tagged 'Taxation'



When will the state’s increasingly untrammelled power become ‘too much’?

‘You have money and we are taking it.’  This increasingly the attitude of the British government and its agencies and it is a phenomenon stretching across Europe and into the Americas.

In fairness to the state it has played a blinder.  It has successfully turned one part of society, the less well off, more aggressively against better off members of society, despite the fact the less well off stand to gain nothing from an increase in the tax take.  The only beneficiary is the government which possesses an almost limitless capacity for squandering the money and leaving the country with nothing to show for it.

What used to be simple envy or disdain of the better off has been transformed into resentment and outright hostility.  The media has been an willing accomplice, fanning the flames and parroting a narrative that anyone who seeks to keep their tax liabilities to a minimum is somehow being unfair to the rest of society, not paying their fair share and by definition morally repugnant.

The hostility first became entrenched when it was directed at the lavishly remunerated corporate officers and the bonus happy bankers.  But now it has broadened to encompass anyone who is not an average PAYE employee.

Never mind that many of those people being subjected to unjust anger have taken huge risks to build businesses and create jobs, while working 18 hour days, going without holidays, not being able to spend time with their families and working when unwell because there is no luxury of sick pay to fall back on.  No, unless their pockets are being turned out to satisfy the state’s fetish for controlling how their money is spent, without any form of consultation or consent, they are the most selfish scum of the earth.

So it is against that backdrop of sown division, mistrust and resentment that two stories this weekend combine to paint a picture of our elected and supposed representatives running out of control, rigging the rules against the ‘ordinary’ citizens to suit ideological interests they have adopted from a plethora of unelected and unaccountable bodies that are positioning themselves as a de facto global administration.

The first story concerns the shocking actions of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) falsely accusing a company’s directors of fraud, shutting down the company making over 30 people unemployed and using draconian powers that prevent the former owners from challenging the action through the courts while pressuring them to settle the accusation with payment to cover the alleged £7 million in taxes and duties.  There was no evidence.  All this happened on the basis of a suspicion that something fraudulent was going on.  Indeed, HRMC’s defence of their actions was to state there was no evidence the company wasn’t acting fraudulently, a clear inversion of the principles of justice.

The second story concerns HRMC tearing up the basic principles of privacy and data protection.  At the behest of the government, HRMC is to use credit reference agencies to cross-check details of the income people declare on their tax returns against their spending patterns to identify “high” and “medium” risks of both illegal and legal tax avoidance.  As we have said on this blog and Twitter before, tax evasion is a crime, but tax avoidance is perfectly legal.  So why should HMRC bother checking to see if people are legally minimising their tax liability?  The clue can be found in the comment by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander:

“It is simply not fair that at a time when most people are making a contribution to balancing the nation’s books, there is a small minority of taxpayers who try to escape their responsibility.”

Really? Who determines what is ‘fair’?  Never mind that some of these people pay more in tax each year than a lot of other people earn.  Never mind the risks and sacrifices many of them have made as detailed above.  No, they are supposedly escaping their ‘responsibility’ – a word the definition of which governments of every stripe over the last 20 years or more have simply not grasped and believe to be a one-way street that travels in their direction.

We are witnessing a concerted effort to demonise those who have something the government wants in order to enable the government to use nefarious mechanisms to obtain it.  In the eyes of the government – as it stokes up the spiteful societal divisions it is fostering by using vocal members of the less well off as useful idiots to demand exactly that which the government wishes to do – this state over reach is justified for being a populist measure demanded by the public.  And for fear of kneejerk vilification, by the unthinking useful idiots and hypocritical, comfortably wealthy trough hogging politicians, many reasonable and right thinking people who see the wrong-headedness of the government’s behaviour and irresponsible waste of our resources, keep quiet.  This is the UK in 2012.

Small wonder we see cries of frustration such as this in response to the tightening grip our supposed servants are exerting on ordinary people.  Common sense is evaporating and manipulation of the people by those who make the rules is all pervasive.  What will it take before the slumbering masses wake up and realise the state’s self conferred and increasingly untrammelled power has become too much?  When will people take the power back?

Europe isn’t working

It would be easy to take that sentiment and apply it as an observation of the Euro and the EU in general.  But that isn’t what is meant.  The reference concerns the news that for the first time ever there are more than 25 million people across the 27 member states who are unemployed.

As government has grown, both at EU and national level, and hyperactively sought to increasingly regulate and legislate in ever more spheres of business life it should come as no surprise that the jobless total has risen.  The notion that government has the duty to direct everything for the ‘good of society’ comes at a price and part of the cost is the shocking unemployment and lack of competitiveness.

Rising taxation and ever growing government budgetary needs should be a warning claxon, not as some would have it, a cause for relief that something is being done.  We need smaller government that takes less from us and borrows less and focuses on essential public services.

No doubt some tribal Tories would see that assertion and rush to claim David Cameron is championing that very approach with his theatric threat to veto the EU budget.  Deeds, not words, matter and when it comes to reality the fact is the UK with its claims of deficit busting austerity is actually taxing, borrowing and spending more than Labour did.

All the political elites talk about ‘sustainability’.  But just what is sustainable about the current disturbing approach to managing the economy?  The European approach to governance has failed.  The absence of real democracy, where the people would decide if their servants can spend and borrow money for their pet projects, is the root cause of this collapse.  Until people take back the power grabbed by the political elite and their corporate sponsors this state of affairs will continue.

Charitable giving, tax relief and the agenda ridden media

Regular readers will know I hold no brief for the Conservatives, let alone any other party.  And regular readers also know my view that the tax burden in this country is far too high because the administration cannot resist spending grotesque amounts of our money on non-essential wheezes that all too often deliver nothing close to taxpayer value.  But while I resent the political class and much of what it stands for, I have a particular disdain for the useless hacks that pass for journalists in this country.

The fourth estate likes its storms in tea cups and the near saturation coverage in recent days of the limits on tax relief for charitable giving by wealthy people is the latest receptacle-centric tempest to catch the goldfish-like attention span of the news media.

Numbers have been chewed over.  Philanthropists have been given unchallenged platforms from which to attack the budget measure.  Labour has been given an open microphone to hurl invective at the coagulation administration.  Fair enough, many might say.

But in all the column acres of newsprint and hours of pontificating on the airwaves, I have yet to hear one reporter explain to the public that wealthy people are not being stopped from giving money to charities.  As much as I resent tax grabs, all the Conservatives and Limp Dims have done is say that wealthy people will not be able to reduce their tax burden quite so much simply by giving away shed loads of cash to various causes.

The whining and pontificating of charitable donors and spokesmen of various charities (faux and otherwise) whipped up by the media, is entirely self serving.  These are the very same people the media has been attacking as fat cats and troughers for not paying their ‘fair share’ in tax.  Yet the media now supports these people because they supposedly want to give away a fortune to good causes, but will now have to pay tax when doing so above certain levels – all because of the evil Tories and their Limp Dumb stooges apparently.

It really says something about how biased and useless our media is when they are too stupid or simply refuse to put the story into proper context for the public.  What these wealthy donors are saying is they will not give as much money to charity because in doing so there isn’t as much in it for them.  Read that again.  These wealthy donors are apparently desperate to give money to good causes, but many will now not do so to the same extent because they will have to pay tax on some of what they earned.

The only rational conclusion that can be drawn from this wailing and gnashing of teeth is that the real motivation for many donors giving money to good causes was not a desire to do good, but a desire to cut the amount they pay in tax.  Good for them, I say.  If there is a loophole that enables someone to withhold some of their money from the kleptomanics in Whitehall, then they are entitled to use it.  But they should be honest about their motivations and people should also understand the media is hiding the reality of these vested interest donations in order to service some other agenda.

This is just yet more evidence that we cannot trust anything the media says.

Liverpool City Council’s latest money making scheme

In November a trawl of local newspapers unearthed this little story in the Liverpool Echo.

It is another example of local authorities looking for opportunities to use their official status to forcibly part people from their money, while increasing the powers and adding to the weight of regulation for which they are responsible for enforcing:

BUSKERS could soon have to hold a permit to play in Liverpool under new plans being drawn up by Liverpool Council bosses.

Proposals due to be put to the council’s cabinet before the end of the year could see street musicians told to buy a licence – and then being limited to when and where they can play and for how long.

Performers would also be required to take out costly public liability insurance.

Importantly, the article went on to tell readers that:

A council spokesman described the current arrangement as a “free for all” and said the proposals came in response to requests for better regulation from the public, city shopkeepers and even other buskers.

One thing that never rings quite true is a claim from a council that residents and businesses want more regulation and officialdom.  So AM sent a Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City Council to see their evidence for this claim.  The response arrived during the hectic pre-Christmas period, hence the delay in writing this up.  It is shown in full below:

Imagine my shock and surprise to find the response provides no formal evidence whatsoever for Liverpool’s council officers to justify the regulation and increase in council powers!  Yet the officers are asking councillors to put the regulation into force.  Clearly the questions are a little too inconvenient, hence the response being packed with text that is irrelevant to the FOI enquiry.

Liverpool City Council is setting itself up as the judge and jury of which performers are the ‘more professional entertainers’ thereby stopping others from plying their trade and perhaps being noticed by someone who might open doors for them to build a career.  The people who benefit are the City Council and their approved entertainers, creating the conditions for cronyism and backroom deals.

Drunk on power and free from anything approaching proper oversight and control by elected councillors, this is another example of councils serving their own interests at the expense of the taxpayers; who are treated as nothing more than cash cows to fund the whims and biases of officers and their bumper salaries and generous pension schemes.

AM has written back to Liverpool City Council asking for a copy of the papers officers have prepared for elected councillors about this recommedation to see all of the evidence the decision will be based upon.

The next European war

During my recent days of inactivity we have been treated to/forced to endure* (delete as appropriate) the grand theatrics of the EU elite, supposedly shoring up the Euro by creating a €1 trillion ‘bail out fund’.

Only, this being the deluded EU daydreamers at work, the figure broadcast to the world was unfunded.  It was plucked out of thin air before those who were going to contribute to it had even been asked – or in the case of European taxpayers, told – to hand over money.

But then came the warning that has been held in reserve for years by the integrationist elite. It fell to Germany’s Angela Merkel to deliver it:

Another half century of peace and prosperity in Europe is not to be taken for granted. If the euro fails, Europe fails. We have a historical obligation: to protect by all means Europe’s unification process begun by our forefathers after centuries of hatred and blood spill. None of us can foresee what the consequences would be if we were to fail.

The message was clear, if we don’t back the financial lunacy and the ever closer political and fiscal union being foisted upon us by the bureaucrats, the uber wealthy and their political drones, then the consequence could be another war in Europe.

However, Merkel and her ilk have got it wrong.  A failure of the Euro and the EU does not mean Europe will be plunged into war.  The political class across Europe is broadly united, so who would be declaring war on whom and for what reason?  Besides, the military capability of the European states has been so degraded by politicians jumping on the ‘peace dividend’ bandwagon their war fighting potential has been dramatically reduced.  Not to mention the fluffy bunny political correctness that spread like a sore across the continent and which sought to remove aggression from the fighting men, and turn them into armed humanitarian relief workers and ineffective peacekeepers who baulk at the first sign of conflict.

No, the prospect of war is made more likely by the political elite and their backers continuing along this doomed integrationist path.

It won’t be the military units of the European countries being pitted against one another, the scenario which with Merkel is trying to scare people into passive, obedient consent.  It will be ordinary people turning on the political class for stealing their democracy and pursuing self serving interests that are bringing about the ruination of economies and have already undermined social structures and cohesion.

The next European war will not be a planned and deliberate military action.  It will be the result of civil strife borne of the rejection of anti democratic hegemony as the people take back what has been stolen from them.

But as usual no one inside the bubble, politico or journalist, can see it.  When it happens they will be the only ones not to have seen it coming.

BBC luvvies deceive to defend the Licence Fee

While driving home from work on Friday I happened across the News Quiz on BBC Radio 4.  Noted for its left-of-Marx political ‘humour’ and sneering jibes against anyone outside the BBC’s narrow subset of acceptable viewpoints, I decided to see what it would throw up this time.

It wasn’t long before the rent seekers of Toksvig and Co managed to take time out from their script to criticise anyone who dares oppose the idea of being compelled by statute to pay for the BBC as you can hear in the clip below:

 

Andy Hamilton’s attempt to justify the licence fee by arguing that everyone funds ITV through a purchase tax is laughable.

As for La Toksvig being ‘enraged’ that some people happily pay £60 per month for Sky TV yet complain about the BBC providing all this ‘good stuff’ for just £145 per year, she completely and willfully misses the point.  People with a television set have a choice whether or not to buy Sky yet no choice about funding the BBC, despite routinely being ill served by BBC bias by omission, and the corporation hiding behind Freedom of Information exemptions in order to avoid accountability and public oversight of its editorial direction.

Richard North in Daily Mail’s RightMinds

There is nothing like having a substantial platform in a mass readership entity to convey an important perspective on an essential topic. But thanks to the RightMinds section in the Mail, that is what Dr Richard North of EU Referendum has secured in order to carry a vitally important message to the wider public.  If you’ve not already seen the piece it is well deserving of a few minutes of your time.

Their continuing ignorance and a very interesting conversation

Another day, another story of the UK political class moaning about the consequences of EU membership.  This time the Daily Mail reports the ‘news’ that:

The European Commission yesterday revealed budget demands which would cost UK taxpayers £10billion.

Well, that is what governments do, they create taxes when they want to raise more money.  And the face is the EU is our government, despite the people of this country never being asked to give a mandate for it. This blog picked up on comments preparing the way for the EU’s new taxation approach over six months ago being discussed right out there in plain sight.  But what is telling about this EU taxation story is the Mail’s observation that:

In what Treasury officials viewed as one of the most outrageous power grabs in recent memory, they demanded the right to raise a Europe-wide sales tax.

What a load of utter crap.  It is not a power grab.  The EU has been given the power to do this by the quisling politicians sent to Westminster over the last three decades by the voters of this country.

Of course no EU story is complete without Downing Street spokesmen and women rushing forth with comments indicating the supposed frustration and/or outrage of the Cameron-run coagulation.  But what will cast-iron Dave actually do about it?  The answer to that is the sum total of diddly squat.

If Cameron truly wanted this country to be independent once again and run its own affairs he need only call a binding referendum asking the British people if they wish the UK to remain bound by the anti democratic EU.  But as Cameron made clear in November last year, he is keeping that firmly off the table:

I do not believe in an in-out referendum for many reasons. I think we are better off in the European Union—we have to fight our corner very hard—but I would grant a referendum if there were any proposed transfer of powers from Westminster to Brussels.

At least the first part of that sentence was honest. The second part was a lie, as demonstrated so clearly by East Midlands Tory MEP Roger Helmer, who last week in ConservativeHome reminded people that the Conservative-LibDem cobbleition are transferring new powers to the EU faster than the previous Labour administration did. Did any of you spot a passing referendum asking for your permission?

The timing of this is rather amusing as it follows a week after AM had a long chat with a member of the Conservative Party Board.  The board member wanted to know, over two years on, why AM had walked away from the Conservative Party.  They were familiar with the arguments, after all they have heard them time and again as a third of the membership has deserted since Cameron become party leader.

But the board member implored me to understand that Cameron is a man with a plan.  The plan apparently is to pick a fight with the EU next year and use that to justify a referendum he apparently wants, although he will make it appear to his EU friends that he is doing this with all reluctance.  When it was pointed out to the board member that the Cameron led administration has granted more power to the EU in the last year more quickly than Labour managed, AM was told to wait and see.

The notion of Cameron being a strategic genius who will throw off his cloak of Europhilia and reveal his inner democratic nationalist is laughable given the catalogue of pro EU actions to date.  So it seems the ignorance is all pervasive and the effort to make us buy into it is being reinforced at every opportunity.  The gullible constituency where this idea is being swallowed is obvious to all who look – the British media.

Taking back power and imposing discipline on our politicians

This is a subject to which I will turn my attention properly in the days to come.  But for now I offer this partial cross-post to remind readers that in order for the people to take back primacy we need to focus our power.  As Richard North has says in his thought provoking post:

To focus our power, we too need to adopt an ideology. In essence, we have one – one which underwrites the supremacy of the individual and positions the State as the servant, not the master. Referism – control over the budget – is a means by which we exercise our power. If there is a better way, I am open to offers.

The next question is: where do we start? The answer is here, on the blogosphere. We have a number of fine, independent blogs, written by independently-minded people. There is now a blog covering these – Independent Political Bloggers.

As if to underline their independence, I don’t always agree with everything that write.  But collectively, between us we reflect the views of our readers. If we did not, we would not have a readership. Now ask, from where does the BBC and the MSM get its power? Why do politicians listen to them, fear them and curry their favours? We are back to the numbers game.

Grow the independent political blogosphere. And if you have a view, start your own blog. We will support you. Want a voice? Either as reader or writer, or both, you have it … your call.

Lucky UK has a massive 40% of Big Wind!

A Guest post by Martin Brumby

“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!”
(King Lear Act III)

I’m sure readers here will be aware that Big Wind’s advocates and defenders are weapons grade Porkie-Pie Men. Not even “Climate Scientists” can quite match them for sheer mendacity. A few days ago AM was kind enough to offer me a Guest Posting on Buff Huhne’s claim that we now produce 7% of our electricity from renewables.

Despite having to correct part of this (see comments), there’s nothing wrong with the conclusion that nothing like 7% of our electricity is renewable. More like 2 – 3%, and most of that is on warm, windy nights when we really don’t need it.

Today I thought I’d like to look at another common claim – the suggestion that the UK has 40% of Europe’s wind. I’m not sure that I can finger Buff Huhne or his egregious predecessor little Eddie Milipede with using this, although they may well have done. I’ve certainly heard it from one of the BBC’s Three Stooges. And a bit of searching on the internet throws up multiple instances of the claim:

40% of all the wind energy in Europe blows over the UK, making it an ideal country for small domestic turbines.”

“Did you know 40% of all the wind energy in Europe blows over the UK.?”

“Due to a combination of its latitude (at the boundary of the Ferrel and Polar Cells) and the lack of landmass in the prevailing south-westerly wind direction, the UK is fortunate to have much higher wind speeds than those in continental Europe. Indeed the BWEA has estimated that the UK has some 40% of the Europe’s total wind resource.” [Wot about Ireland? Isn’t that a landmass? M.B.]

“Wind energy has historically been converted into mechanical energy to pump water or grind grain but the principle application today is electricity generation. The UK receives 40% of Europe’s total wind energy but we currently generate only 0.5% of our electricity using wind.”

There’s load of these, all parroted but never with any citation or justification. But what’s this?

Downloading their dismal “Report” [Introduction:- Sir John Houghton, “Former Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” et al, partners and funders including the UEA and Mystic MET – your tax pounds at work] we read:-

“Wind is a vast energy source with an enormous job creation potential. The UK holds 40% of the EU’s total wind resource, but only 4.2% of its total installed capacity (Lambert, 2008).”

Hmmm. “Lambert, 2008” Surely that must be a proper, ‘peer-reviewed’ paper?  Well, not really. It turns out to be a bit of black propaganda by Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP for London.  She says:

“Clearly the UK has huge potential for investment in wind energy, and is the windiest country in Europe, with 40% of the EU’s entire wind resources. The British Wind Energy Association estimates that the UK could be meeting 35% of its electricity needs from wind by 2020.34 With the UK accounting for only 4.2% of the EU’s total installed wind power capacity, it’s hard not to see this as a hugely wasted opportunity and as a damning failure of Government.”

So where does Ms. Lambert get this gem from, the BWEA? Hmmm. That’s like taking advice on patient care from Dr. Harold Shipman. The BWEA is now the Renewable Energy World. And Lambert’s quoted “paper” seems to be this which contains:-

“The UK has 40 percent of Europe’s entire wind resource and with these abundant resources we should be a world leader in renewable energy generation,” said the statement from BWEA. “Although the UK currently trails behind our European partners’ levels of renewable generation, the UK has doubled its wind energy capacity over the past 20 months. The equivalent of 6 percent of the UK’s electricity supply remains held up in the planning system from onshore wind energy projects alone, which means the UK can meet its 2010 targets and set the stage to meet for more ambitious targets to 2020.”

No reference, no citation, no explanation, nothing. Obviously it is just a bold assertion. I give up. Who knows where this “40%” claim comes from? The leprechaun at the bottom of the garden?  And what does it actually mean?   I then turned to this.  This being Technical report No 6/2009 from the European Environment Agency. Your tax-pounds sent to Brussels at work.

Personally, I wouldn’t trust this outfit if they told me that Christmas day will fall on 25th December. And their “technical report” is replete with quotes from Greenpiss, clear evidence of data tortured until it confessed, computer models, the whole works.

First of all, what is meant by “Europe”? (click to enlarge)

That’s interesting. Turkey is in Europe. Iceland isn’t. Neither is Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine & Vatican City. How about Aland, Faroes, Gibraltar, Abkhazia, Transnistria and the rest? Who knows? Are the Azores & Canary Islands in with Portugal and Spain? Can’t be sure but probably not. Anyway, I haven’t found the raw data (or even the tortured data), but there are some charts… (click to enlarge)

Whilst there are some notes about some of the assumptions and ‘adjustments’ made, it all seems pretty unclear.  It isn’t ideal but it isn’t too difficult to scale off the charts, put the measurements into a spreadsheet, convert to TWh and see how much “Unrestricted technical potential” the EEA reckons there is.

They seem to think that this will amount to over 73,000 TWh in 2030, based on their idiosyncratic definitions of “Europe” and “technical potential”. And that the UK’s share of this “bonanza” will amount to around under 13% of this. Deleting Turkey, Switzerland and Norway (to make “Europe” equal to the “EU” reduces the total to 66,000 TWh and boosts our “share” to a stonking 14%. Even if we look only at “offshore” and restrict “Europe” to “the EU”, our share is only 21%.

So, forty percent? Absolutely no chance based on these charts.

Naturally, depending on your definition of “Europe”, the “UK”, and “Wind Energy” I guess you can prove anything you want to, especially if practical considerations (let alone commercial considerations) don’t matter. The fact that I haven’t found a sensible source for the 40% claim doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist somewhere. But this widely quoted Greenie claim looks like the usual dishonest hyperbole. And, in any case 40% of something that is eyewateringly expensive and almost completely useless is still not worth a fart.

Tax and EU regulations make HSBC set to move HQ to Hong Kong

According to the Telegraph HSBC is preparing to relocate its HQ from London to Hong Kong due to increasing taxes and extra layers of EU regulation heaped on the City of London.  Thanks to higher taxes and the suffocating bureaucracy being imposed on businesses, the UK is becoming uncompetitive.

Warnings that bankers could desert the UK if the government interfered in their bonus schemes were dismissed with a sneer by the likes of Vince Cable. But while focusing efforts on playing the gallery on that trivial matter, the government seems to have missed the frustration of entire corporations that have the capacity to move their headquarter operations out of the country.

If HSBC decides to relocated the impact will be billions of pounds less in the UK Treasury coffers. It will be this idiotic grandstanding government and unaccountable EU bureaucrats to blame for such a move and the harmful impact on our economy.

Guardian campaigns against hedge funds but uses them to make money

On his blog Guido explains how earlier this month the Guardian front paged a story revealing that the City of London accounted for £11.4 million of the Conservative Party’s funding in 2009–10.  The Guardian told in lurid terms that millions passed to Tory coffers by rich hedge fund managers.

Guido now reveals that during that same period the Guardian Media Group – owners of The Guardian and The Observer – gained £39.3 million from investments… in hedge funds. And Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger sat on the board which approved the hedge fund investment plan.

Read the story in full.

Guardian’s tax hypocrisy, continued

Following on from Saturday’s post about The Guardian’s rank hypocrisy on tax avoidance, Guido Fawkes, FCABlog and Tim Worstall have kept up the pressure.

Today Guido has gone further than the Tweets carried on this blog and catalogued the facts about The Guardian’s tax avoidance which in 2008 saw Guardian Media Group pay 0% (zero percent) in corporation taxes on their £302 million profits.  Kerrching!!  Despite this The Guardian has been running a concerted campaign against Barclays for using the same tax avoidance measures employed (more successfully it seems) by Guardian Media Group.

The protesters of UKUncut have been occupying Barclays branches in protest demanding they pay more tax in the UK, despite the bank paying a huge sum in other taxes to the Exchequer.  This leads us to ask the obvious question:

When are tax loving UKUncut travellers going to occupy the offices of The Guardian in protest at their tax avoidance?

The Guardian’s rank hypocrisy on tax avoidance

Following two major articles on the ‘front page’ of the Guardian’s website – ‘Barclays bank forced to admit it paid just £113m in corporation tax in 2009’ [link] and ‘How the Guardian was gagged from revealing Barclays tax secrets’ [link] – the 2.74% Guardian has also published an editorial titled ‘Corporate tax avoidance: Impoverishing the public’, which you can read here.

Many may feel angered that Barclays managed to use tax avoidance measures (perfectly legal, as opposed to tax evasion which is not) to pay only £113m Corporation Tax to the UK Exchequer.  But that is the way the system is set up and it is worth remembering that even with such a miniscule effective tax rate on their earnings (a mere 1%) Barclays provides employment for thousands of people and loans to businesses and individuals.  So despite their focus on generating returns for shareholders, Barclays still provides something to the UK.

But the focus of this post is not to condemn Barclays for their actions, plenty of other people will do that perfectly adequately. After all, who in all honesty would not use legal means to reduce their tax liability if they could?  Even the sanctimonious champagne socialists who own the Guardian do the same. The socialist scribes at their little organ, with its 2.74% share of the national newspaper market, churn out stuff like this:

It is a simple equation, and may not be an easy one for Whitehall to implement. But the Guardian’s Tax Gap series meticulously documented squillions of pounds in avoidance, establishing beyond doubt that the seepage of revenue was on a scale that constituted a pressing public concern. Fixing the leaks may not save every last swimming pool, but it could make a big difference. Barclays is an iconic case for making the point, seeing as bankers’ determination to minimise their contribution to public funds is matched by the lavishness of the benefits they have enjoyed at public expense.

but their employer is no better. Let the Tweets of blogger Guido Fawkes explain all (no doubt more on this will follow on his Twitter feed):

Ah, you might say. The Guardian is a newspaper and therefore not being underwritten with the guarantees provided to the banking sector with our money, it does not benefit from public funds.  Wrong.

The Guardian is bolstered by its stranglehold on public sector job adverts for government, local authorities and its incestuous partner at the BBC. It also earns money from its education propaganda tool Learn Premium (more to come on that at a later date), which sold to schools seeks to indoctrinate our school children with leftist texts and media.  Our tax pounds are poured into the Guardian to pay for these ads and tools, so the paper benefits financially at our expense.

Having lavished our tax pounds on this newspaper – just as we have with the banking sector – we find exactly the same corporate tax avoidance games being played.  The Guardian’s hypocrisy on this subject stinks.

  • Where does their ‘Tax Gap’ series mention Guardian Media Group’s own behaviour?
  • Where are the stories from their own journalists about GMG’s tax avoidance?
  • Where is their righteous indignation at the behaviour of their owners?

Alan Rusbridger’s silence and that of his journalists on the Guardian owners’ own behaviour, is deafening.  Hypocrites.

The Swiss Resistance continues

It is interesting to note in EurActiv that the European Union claims it and Switzerland have ironed out their differences to move ahead with a process aimed at simplifying ‘without delay’ the complex network of bilateral agreements governing EU-Swiss relations.  But as always with the EU, things are not how they seem.

For according to swissinfo.ch nothing new was achieved. The Swiss Foreign Minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, has made clear in her statements the EU position is that Switzerland must make concessions on its sovereignty in order to retain and improve access to EU markets.  However she has been quoted as saying:

Switzerland will never agree to be a de facto member of the EU when it is not taking part in the decision-making process. It is out of the question for Switzerland to adopt community law automatically.

Switzerland is not an EU member state.  It is an independent, sovereign nation comprised of cantons which are effectively states within a Swiss federation.  As such the cantons have an unrivalled degree of autonomy over taxation and legislation and are democratically accountable to their populations – something the EU bitterly resents.  So it is outrageous that the EU position as explained by José Manuel Barroso is that the EU:

… wants a more comprehensive agreement and automatic acceptance by Berne of changes to EU legislation, which the Swiss say would go against the principle of sovereignty.

It is like China saying it has changed a law and so, because Japan is a trading partner, Tokyo must automatically accept it and follow suit.  And that because China levies higher taxes, Japan must do the same instead of offering people and businesses an alternative that allows them to keep more of their money.

While a good number of Swiss politicians and diplomats are attracted to the idea of being part of the EU because of what’s in it for them, for the Swiss people the prospect of losing self determination is a price not worth paying.  Their resistance continues.  As is the case the world over, the interests of the political class are not the same as the interests of ordinary people.  What is saving the Swiss people from the EU are their democratic safeguards, something the people of EU member states have sat by and watched their political class subvert and dismantle.  Let’s hope the Swiss can prevail where our disengaged populace has so far failed.

FairFuel UK

Fuel prices are rocketing. Road haulage companies, general businesses and private motorists are hurting. The whole economy is suffering. Fuel prices are the talk of the nation and the Prime Minister and his senior colleagues are being pressed from all angles on this issue. We believe that there is a window of opportunity to persuade the Government to tackle rising fuel prices. We have joined with the FTA to support http://www.fairfueluk.com/, which seeks to represent all road users, and is an addition to existing, intensive lobbying activity from the RHA.

We can make a difference but need your help and the help of everyone in and close to your organisation! The campaign aims are to see the next fuel duty hike planned for April which would add another 3.5 pence per litre scrapped AND to get the Government to bring in a fuel price stabiliser.

This campaign does not support blockades or any disruptive action. It does believe that MASSIVE lobbying of the politicians can and does work. It is being organised on our behalf by Peter Carroll. Peter has wide experience in the road haulage industry and founded and ran the Gurkha Campaign that won the right to live in Britain for brave Gurkha soldiers. Peter and his team at Why Not Campaign Limited are now fighting for a fair deal on fuel.

We need you to sign up at http://www.fairfueluk.com/and getting all your friends and contacts to do the same. The more that sign up – the greater the chance of success. We request that you forward this email to all your contacts and ask them, in turn, to forward it to all of theirs. Please try and get drivers, managers, admin staff, suppliers, customers, friends and family to sign. By this means, we will reach the tens of thousands of people that we need to be behind us.

Geoff Dunning
Chief Executive

Did The Guardian persuade Assange to publish WikiLeaks data?

If you have 15 minutes spare, do watch of this video clip. It appears to lay bare The Guardian’s less than passive role in the WikiLeaks release of US diplomatic cables.

Far from being a mere bystander that published the information, it actively pushed for the information to be exposed to further its continuing anti-American campaign while planning to get a world exclusive. The clip also reminds us of that paper’s track record of dishonesty and fabrication on other matters.

And The Guardian is second to none when it comes to hypocrisy, such as writing stories about companies that avoid paying UK Corporation Tax but not mentioning the fact The Guardian itself made a £300m profit in 2008 and paid £0 in Corporation Tax.

EU putting pressure on Swiss sovereignty

The EU has decided it is time for Switzerland to decide whether it wants closer integration with the bloc or to be cast out into the market-access wilderness, according to EUobserver. In reality Switzerland is not being given a choice if it wants to trade with EU member states.

The bully boy tactics of the ‘colleagues’ stems from their anger that the Swiss people are determined to remain independent. The EU, in its own inimitable way, has decided that if Switzerland’s cantons will not willingly embrace EU primacy, the bloc will start asserting itself in a hostile manner using blackmail and threats. The supposedly pro free trade EU is using access to its customs union market as a weapon to make the Swiss bend to Brussels’ will. As the piece explains:

Without “efficient arrangements” to ensure Switzerland adopts EU law, including case law set down by European Court of Justice rulings, and enforcement of this law, the European single market, which Switzerland has access to, lacks the “necessary homogeneity,” said the ministers.

In other words, the EU will make Switzerland’s ability to trade with it difficult. A significant factor in all this is that the EU hates businesses and individuals to have an ability to choose what’s best for them, specifically when it comes to taxation. The tax systems in the cantons are far more favourable to businesses and individuals and companies are moving there to save themselves huge sums of money. The EU cannot stand the thought that within continental Europe there is a competitive alternative to its self serving tax and spend regime.

The EU will stop at nothing to dominate Europe and subsume nation states. It is outrageous that the EU should make such brazen demands of a sovereign country to adopt laws made elsewhere. Now it remains to be seen if Switzerland can hold firm in the face of the forthcoming assault. Welcome to the post-democratic age.

Fuel increase passes without mention

It says something that a fairly significant fuel price increase at the pumps now goes unmentioned. Prices have inched up during September and October, but yesterday another 2p per litre – 9.1p per gallon – was added on to the cost of fuel in my local area making a gallon £5.54.

In years gone by a 9p per gallon increase would have led the news headlines. Now it doesn’t even get a mention. It’s become a familiar story, when wholesale prices are about to rise the cost and the pumps goes up by that percentage. When wholesale prices fall the price at the pumps reduces only by a percentage of the drop and even then only some time later.

Given the current agitated state of parts of our society perhaps it will only be a matter of time until the hauliers start to protest as the artificially high cost of fuel due to the swingeing duty added on by the government. Another campaign to blockade the refineries could add substantially to the mood of rebellion that is growing in the country. The silent majority might just start to find its voice and dig in its heels very soon.


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