Tax ducking, bed hopping Zac Goldsmith is in hot water. Guido promotes and pursues the minimisation of taxes, but it is a bit risky for a PPC seeking public office. Zac says he hasn’t profited from non-domicile, that he volunteers more tax than he needs to and he gives oodles of cash to charidee. Nevertheless the reason Goldsmith shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this is his rank and blatant hypocrisy.
If he had been a long term advocate for lower taxes, then his stance would be understandable. Zac has done quite the opposite, he wants more taxes, ridiculous and unpopular green taxes that would cripple car drivers and frequent flyers. How can someone who keeps his fortune sewn up in offshore trusts credibly in all conscience author a report calling for taxes to increase? How green is the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from which his farm receives thousands of pounds in subsidies from the taxpayer? Without a hint of irony he will tonight give a speech in Piccadilly on the subject of how to share our collective wealth. Will that include sticking it in the Caymans? Clearly taxes are for non-environmentally-conscious people.
If Eton is a political conspiracy rather than merely a school, it is doing quite well. It boasts nineteen former PMs as well as three old boys in the current Tory shadow cabinet, plus of course the probable next PM. It’s clearly still the establishment’s choice, though there was a time when people questioned whether another Old Etonian could ever become Prime Minister again. Fettes has since lost its grip on Downing Street.
Last week Lord Pearson OE was elected leader of UKIP. Guido’s drinking buddy Chris Mounsey OE (of Devil’s Kitchen fame) was this weekend elected leader of the Libertarian Party. Floreat Etona indeed…
Today the SNP led Scottish government is putting forward plans for a referendum, Alex Salmond is proposing four options; the status quo, the limited change offered by the Calman Commission, maximum devolution and full independence.
Labour opposes any referendum. Somewhat incoherently so do the Tories and the LibDems. Both parties claim to be in favour of localism and returning power to the people wherever possible. The Tory arguments for repatriating powers back from Brussels to Westminster apply to giving the Scottish the right to self-government in Edinburgh. So why do they oppose measures that move towards those goals in Scotland? Isn’t it just petty partisan calculation?
Guido thinks Scottish Toryism is a busted flush. Every nation in Western Europe has a strong, centre-right, patriotic party capable of forming a government – except Scotland – which has a weak centre-right party seen as too English. Justifiably so. Cameron says he will not allow Scotland to go independent on his watch, reminding us that his party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. Well that isn’t very localist and it isn’t “trusting the people” to deny them a referendum. The rhetoric doesn’t match the policies again.
Maximum devolution (where the Union government in Westminster maintains foreign policy and national defence) is compatible with the localist ideas and rhetoric advanced by Tories and LibDems. Brussels is where the fundamental legislative action takes place anyway. London effectively pays for the national defence of the United Kingdom already, that wouldn’t change if Scotland became fiscally independent, though the £19 billion Boris identifies as being exported from London would inevitably be reduced. If Scotland had to stand on its own fiscal feet it would soon discover that having a Sovietised economy is not sustainable. An independent Scotland would see the SNP turn from being a left-wing nationalist party into a normal centre-right, patriotic party as found in every Western European democracy.
Nadine Dorries says…
“..our prisons aren’t full of alcoholics.”
The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland flouted the tax laws, broke employment laws she herself drafted and fiddled £170,000 in expenses. She was given a £5,000 fine for what she described as “technical breach of the rules”. The rest of us call it breaking the law. As far as Guido knows the only other issue she faces is a Bar Standards Council investigation for bringing the Bar into disrepute. The Attorney General has got off very lightly…
You could argue that her former maid, Loloahi Tapui, also committed a “technical breach of the rules” in overstaying her visa. She now faces charges and a prison sentence. Does anyone else feel that the weight of the law is falling disproportionately on Lolo?
The Blairite loyalist Baroness Morgan has been caught fiddling her overnight expenses by pretending her Wandsworth home isn’t her main home. The Lords authorities refuse to investigate this kind of fiddle despite, or perhaps because, it is so widespread. She tells the Lords that her main home is in Petersfield and she swears to Companies House on corporate filings she is ordinarily resident in Wandsworth. Give you one guess to whom she is lying…
On a lighter note, Elliot Morley, one of the few MPs predicted to face fraud charges, spends a lot of time reversing edits to his Wikipedia page, mainly trying to erase references to his claiming of our cash on false pretences. His detractors have managed to slip past the editors a change to the pronunciation of his name:
Guido suspects he won’t be a “shameless freeloader” for much longer…
Stephen Greenhalgh said…
“My mates are all in the shadow Cabinet, waiting to get those [ministerial] boxes, being terribly excited… I went to university with them, they haven’t run a piss-up in a brewery… they’re going to get a department of state, in one case running the finances of the nation.”
Guido is increasingly fascinated with the coverage of EU affairs by the Thunderer. Last month it crowned Tony Blair president of Europe on the front page. Guido said at the time this was a delusion.
Yesterday it reported on a great British diplomatic triumph over the damned French in Brussels. “French foiled” ran the headline:
The Times’ Brussels correspondent David Charter then turned around 180 degrees and today reports a British defeat by the French.
This is the kind of insight they are going to put behind Murdoch’s pay-wall?
Even the BBC Accepts the Licence Fee Must Go | ConHome
More to Women Than Boosting GDP | Ruth Lea
ThinkProgress Controlled: “I Was an Obamabot” | Zaid Jilani
Free People Don’t Care About Politics | Fraser Nelson
Like Guido’s Facebook Page | Facebook
International Moaning Day | Kathy Gyngell
Cameron Alienating Core Voters Without Attracting New | City AM
Andy Burnham Villain of the Week | Sun
London’s Laundry Business | NY Times
The End of HS2? | Seb Payne
Elvis Speaks | Nottingham Post
Alan Rusbridger opines…
“One thing that Snowden has taught us journalists is that it’s essential to be paranoid.”