Britain’s Hard Left Trustafarians

Posted on September 03, 2012

Funding is always a sticky issue for the main parties – but it seems it poses a bit of an ideological challenge for some of that small parties, too.

Looking through the Electoral Commission returns, the results filed by The Socialist Party of Great Britain jumped out.

If, like everyone else, you’ve never heard of the SPGB, they’re exactly what you’d expect. Fulminating against profit, slamming “tax dodges”, and advocating revolution from a garret on Clapham High Street.

They claim on their website that:

The Socialist Party has been unique in Britain throughout the twentieth century for:

  • Consistently advocating world socialism – a fully democratic society based upon co-operation and production for use.
  • Opposing every single war
  • Opposing every single government
  • Being a democratic and leaderless organization

– which is, if nothing else, admirably consistent. Consistent, that is, until you see that their main donation this year was apparently:

£26,757.56 from the May Keyte Will Trust

Err, the what?

A Trust? Surely not a tax-reducing Trust? A Will Trust? Surely not an inheritance-based tax-reducing Trust?

Oh, comrades.

Guardian runs adverts from tax avoidance experts

Posted on September 06, 2011

The Guardian’s view on tax avoidance by others is well known – they regularly and deliberately conflate tax evasion (a crime) and tax avoidance (not a crime), and take the position that everyone should go out of their way to pay as much tax as possible. Regardless of how whether you pay what the law demands, the Guardian will be the final and ultimate arbiters of whether you pay your “fair share”.

However, their own affairs are less than consistent with the high standards they demand of others – as Guido has documented in the case of Polly “you should pay more tax, but why should I?” Toynbee, and their own record of careful tax avoidance through offshoring and other mechanisms.

Not content with hectoring others whilst practicing tax avoidance themselves, the Guardian has now taken things a step further – profiting by running advertising for firms of specialists who offer advice to tax avoiders and even how to deal with an HMRC tax investigation. This is a screengrab of their “Reading the Riots” web page – take a look at the ad circled in red at the bottom right:

Appleton Richardson, the advertisers in question, describe their service as “tipping the scales of justice in your favour”, will help you learn “how to play the game” and offer help to “survive a tax investigation by HMRC”. They absolutely rightly say that tax avoidance is perfectly legal, but in Guardian land it is unacceptable – how do the champions of high taxes square taking advertising from a firm like this with their crusading morals? Or is it just yet another case of Guardian double standards?

PS you’ll note that with further delicious irony the other two adverts are for Personal Injury Lawyers and, yes, a Scientology magazine. The Guardian: where Comment Is Free, but principles can be bought.

Will George Monbiot invite people to use his two spare rooms?

Posted on January 04, 2011

George Monbiot has plunged fully into the deep end today by calling on the Government to seize control of people’s homes in order to force those with spare rooms to take in strangers. It’s a barmy proposal – and an evil one – but I suppose it’s the logical conclusion of his view that he knows better than everyone else what they should do with their lives, liberty and property.

Perhaps he will now have the intellectual honesty to change his Guardian bio to “totalitarian evangelist”.

Guido has already suggested we all go to Monbiot’s house to see if he will be good to his word by putting strangers up in any space he may have – but how big is his pad?

According to various letters (doc file) of his that are online, he lives at Y Goeden Eirin, Newtown Road, Machynlleth, Powys SY20 8EY. The local house price registers show the property as being bought for £278,200 in January 2007.

A couple of months earlier he gave a preening interview to the Times discussing the move. That interview describes the Machynlleth property as “four-bedroom” – the same size as his old house in oxford.

Seeing as George moved to Wales with his wife and young daughter, that means he should have at least two bedrooms going spare. First come, first served!

The Guardian and the negative Left

Posted on October 20, 2010

The Guardian is on fine form today showing the schizophrenic and overwhelmingly negative worldview of the Left.

Only a couple of months ago they were sneering at the idea of consulting the plebs public about the best ways to cut spending. At best, they suggested, such sites were full of silly ideas (without mentioning that these were weak Mark-Thomas-esque jokes submitted by their own pro-spending readers, desperate to sabotage the idea). At worst, it just brings out the racist BNP clone who as all good Islington Lefties know lurks below the flat cap of most ordinary folk.

Crowdsourcing ideas for spending cuts was and is a good idea – particularly because it opened the Treasury’s door to creative thinking and helped to identify cuts that would hurt ordinary people least. Having enthusiastically slagged public participation off, the Guardian has now embraced crowdsourcing itself – to gather complaints that the cuts are poorly targeted and hurting ordinary people.

Perhaps if they had encouraged people to take part in the spending challenge and contributed to the generation of ideas, rather than sneering at it, then the spending cuts on the way could be better targeted away from the front line.

Sadly, this is typical of the elitist Left. The people are handy if you can whip them in behind your own negative complaints, but allow them to make positive and constructive suggestions? Don’t be ridiculous – they might come up with something you don’t like.

Breaking: John Prescott joins the TaxPayers’ Alliance

Posted on July 29, 2010

It’s all very well for an Opposition to oppose, but doing so in direct contravention of things you yourself actually did in Government has a remarkable capacity to make you look stupid. I was going to write about this in hypothetical terms, but happily John Prescott has kindly stepped in to provide a perfect case study.

You’d have been forgiven for thinking when he was sworn in as Lord Prescott that it was the pinnacle of political hypocrisy. Well, it seems that was actually just a dry run for the things he intended to say once he was snugly in the ermine.

Yesterday, his Lordship posted a withering attack on Twitter:

“Con Dems slash housing benefit for poor but happy to pay £30,000 a year private school fees for diplomats – £15m a year”

This got up my nose a bit. After all, he seemed to have no problem paying these fees when he was in Government – and whilst they are excessive their existence doesn’t magically invalidate any other spending cuts.

Furthermore, when he was in power I vividly remember them scrapping Assisted Places, removing the only opportunity for bright kids who couldn’t afford the fees to get into private schools. Didn’t he do that, I pointed out, whilst at the same time paying the exact same fees for diplomats’ kids that he is now criticising?

Cue awkward silence. Eventually, the best Lord Prescott could muster was a complaint that the TaxPayers’ Alliance had given “no quote” on the topic.

Unfortunately for him, the Daily Telegraph, Sky News, the Metro,  and even his favourite The Mirror record in black and white that the TPA has criticised this spending for years. I should know – I wrote the quotes and gave the TV interviews!

The question for John Prescott is this: he didn’t lose a minute’s sleep about these school fees when he was in power, so why is he suddenly howling about them in Opposition? What changed?

It couldn’t be that his Party lost the election, could it? No, a man of principle like Lord P would never bend in the political wind of base tribalism. The more charitable answer is surely that he was persuaded by the arguments of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and changed his mind. Nice to see you joining the programme, John.

PS To be absolutely clear, I do understand why the children of diplomats (and members of the Forces) may need to be sent to boarding school when their parents are abroad. I just think we could save money by sending them to one of the many excellent state boarding schools, rather than Eton.