Dodgy Dave’s Offshore Tax Havens and the French Revolution

The big story last week was undoubtedly the public fury over the rich using offshore tax havens to avoid paying tax. And one of the offenders seeking to avoid paying his share of the tax burden was our own Prime Minister, Dave Cameron. I did very little blogging last week, as I was involved in other things. Also, I couldn’t think of much I could add to what was already being said by the protestors themselves, and to the comprehensive coverage being given to it by Mike over at Vox Political and the other bloggers.

This is a scandal that has been going on for decades. I think Microsoft was one of the first in the 1980s, when it went offshore to avoid paying corporation tax. And tax evasion both using offshore companies and more ordinary forms of the extremely rich trying to get away with paying the bare minimum, if at all, has also been going on for decades. Private Eye has been attacking the Tax Office since the days of New Labour, and possibly long before that, for the way in which its heads have had numerous lunches with the big industrialists and the major accountancy firms, all to sort out ways of allowing the corporate rich to minimise their tax contributions. There has also been an open ‘swing door’ between the tax office and treasury, and the accountancy firms, as they have sent people to assist the government in formulating its tax policy. It’s yet another example of the corporatist policies corrupting British politics.

As for dodgy Dave, he lied to parliament, used it to enrich himself through avoiding paying tax on money left to him by his father. And he probably genuinely doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. The attitude of the financial sector and in business generally is that you do what you can legally to avoid paying tax. I can remember when I worked very briefly – for all of three days – for a group of extremely dodgy independent financial consultants in Bristol’s Berkeley Square – we were taught some of the ruses. Like you make all your assets over to the business, and try to include everything that could possibly be considered an expense or a loss. When I objected, because somebody has to pay for the roads, police, armed forces, hospitals and so on, I was told, ‘You’re a real p*nis if you want to pay tax.’

Dave’s a member of the aristocracy, and the aristocracy have been doing this since before the days of the French Revolution. Indeed, one of the causes of the Revolution was that the aristos not only weren’t paying their taxes, they were shifting the tax burden onto the poor. And this has also been one of the major aims of the Tories. And yes, it also started under Thatcher. I can remember a book came out in the early 1980s that advocated all manner of Right-wing policies, and was very enthusiastically received by the books page of the Sunday Express. One of its suggestions was getting rid of income tax, and replacing it with indirect taxes – VAT. It was another way of giving tax cuts to the rich, and shifting the burden on to the poor.

Last week, dodgy Dave and a whole host of others got caught out by the release of the ‘Panama Papers’. It added further evidence that whatever Dave said, we weren’t all in this together. This was pretty obvious from the beginning, but the material from Mossack Fonseca made it pretty much incontrovertible. Or at least it did in the case of the Prime Minister.

Of course, the Tories were furious, though I don’t set much store by their rage. I’ve no doubt that many, perhaps even most of them, have done much the same. Something like 75% of British MPs are millionaires, and the Tory party has always considered itself the party of business, with a natural right to lead. My guess is that some of the rage is simply that Cameron got caught. Either way, it shows the absolute double standards used by the Prime Minister for himself and his rich friends. And Private Eye is right. The whole system of offshore tax havens should be closed down. And furthermore, the corporatist influence on politics should be cleaned out. The big accountancy firms should be debarred from sending their personnel to advise the tax office, along with the other big firms seeking to sponsor and donate to the parties in order to get a slice of state business later.

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8 Responses to “Dodgy Dave’s Offshore Tax Havens and the French Revolution”

  1. Joanna Says:

    Knowing about it isn’t going to change anything!! Look at all the other scandals they have survived especially the Profumo scandal. There is always some loophole they can slither through, even if Cameron does quit, he can live quite happily in his ivory tower, whilst other continue to suffer!! What is the point anymore, I can and have only seen ugliness in this world!!!

    • Michelle Says:

      hi Joanna, I know they aren’t the power brokers, but there are gentle, caring, honest, humble people all over the place, I hope you can network with a handful and then be reminded of those treasures we can share.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Hi Joanna – thanks for commenting. Yeah, the Tories have survived many scandals, including Profumo. On the other hand, when those scandals broke, they did have an effect. Profumo was forced out of government and the Tories were placed on the defensive. And yes, if Cameron is forced out, he can live quite happily in his ivory tower. But he will be politically toxic, and his successors will have to be very careful not to get caught with the same double standards.

      As for seeing nothing but ugliness in the world – yes, evil is there, and always present. But so is good. It can seem much weaker than evil, but it’s there nonetheless in the shape of ordinary, unobtrusive human decency. So, nil desperandum, Joanna. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but goodness and decency are still there, and will prevail, one way or another.

      • Joanna Says:

        Thank you Beast hopefully the lovely solicitor called Hywel will be able to come though for me, he has served papers on the council where I live and other government organisations. I am not holding my breath though because they will try to get out of what they did to me, but he has put up a very strong argument for me, I still have a little hope!!!

        I would like what I am doing to make a difference, by changing the system for looked after children. If I do get any compensation I would like to get my decorated, as it as bare as when I moved in 2 years ago, the rest, if any is left I plan to donate, this was never about money, I Need to see some justice in my life then maybe I might be able to get better, go to college and get a job!

        Being alone the replies from you and Michelle have brightened my day!! Thank you!!!

    • beastrabban Says:

      Very glad to help, Joanna. And I hope your solicitor does get things done for you and other children, who have similarly suffered as you have. You can’t change everything, but you can make a difference just by chipping away at what you can change.

      • Michelle Says:

        Hi Joanna, thank you too! On that feeling of being alone have you looked in your area to see if there is a community garden? Gardening with others only costs a bit of your time and it is a lovely way to share in a very uplifting activity, not sure on your mobility but some gardens also make access easier for those with difficulties.

        Are you any good with yarn? I crochet (though I don’t get too much time for that at the moment) there are lots of knit and knatter spots where you can join with a group and it won’t cost anything. It’s creative, relaxing and fun, especially if you can yarn bomb a piece of your knitting or crochet afterwards, we’ve covered a church entrance and its grounds (with permission) and filled flowerbeds with yarned flowers at a literature festival. It was blooming lovely 😊 Hope you find an uplifting way to share, hugs, Michelle

  2. Michelle Says:

    Thought you would appreciate this map:

    perhaps one should be made for Westminster!

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