Williamson Heckled By Siri

Gavin Williamson’s phone goes off as he speaks at the despatch box. Was he heckled by the sound of his own voice? One of his Insta stories from the Commons chamber? With the audio turned up, it turns out it was actually Siri: “I’ve found something on the web for Syrian Democratic Forces”

Perhaps soon AI will be able to replace MPs as lobby fodder. Dread to think what else Siri has overheard the Defence Secretary say…

mdi-timer 3 July 2018 @ 14:24 3 Jul 2018 @ 14:24 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ireland Asserts Tax Sovereignty in European Commission Legal Battle

Ireland’s Finance Ministry is not holding back in the battle with the European Commission. In a legal briefing over the Apple Tax case the Irish government argues that:

  • The Commission has misunderstood the relevant facts and Irish law
  • The Commission has misapplied State Aid law
  • The Commission wrongly invokes novel legal rules
  • The Commission has exceeded its powers and interfered with national tax sovereignty

There is no doubt that the Commission is trying to use State Aid laws to thwart Ireland’s competitive tax regime over which the EU has no competence. Ironically if Ireland loses it gets a windfall of €13 billion in taxes (about €2,600 per person). That is enough to wipe out the budget deficit for a couple of years…

Nevertheless it is a fight that Ireland wants to win. Post-Brexit Ireland wants to be seen as corporate America’s best friend in the EU. Ireland is looking to a high-tech future across the Atlantic…

mdi-timer 19 December 2016 @ 13:15 19 Dec 2016 @ 13:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
New Apple Mac Book Has Unlimited Data Retention Capability

book

The new Apple Mac book has been released today, and Techno Guido can bring you a first look at its impressive new features. Good news for users of current Apple products as there is no longer a need to worry about battery life, it offers unlimited data retention, as well as an anti-glare screen, all touch-based interactions, comes with Apple Care warranty and works with a normal pen, too. It’s cheaper than past MacBooks, retailing at just $300. Sorry to get your hopes up – it is alas a $300 Apple Mac book, not a MacBook…

mdi-timer 15 November 2016 @ 16:12 15 Nov 2016 @ 16:12 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
European Commission Hates Tax Competition

apple-jobs x540

Apple has been in Ireland for 36 years, pictured above is Steve Jobs at the opening of Apple’s Cork campus in 1980. The idea that Apple Ireland is some kind of boilerplate operation is nonsense, it employs some 6,000 staff. The Irish Development Agency estimates a further 18,000 jobs depend on Apple, it adds many millions to the Irish treasury every year. When it completes the €850 million Athenry data centre Apple’s investments in Ireland will total over a billion euros. 

Ireland wins foreign investment for three reasons; the highly educated, young, English speaking workforce, the pro-business, low-tax environment and that it is an entrepot to Europe. The European Commission despises the high-growth, low tax competitor on the periphery of the European Union. Ireland knows that it is the trump card played to foreign investors. Instead of competing, the EC wants to snuff out the low tax competitor.

Apple's Cork Campus

Officials in Brussels have long complained about Ireland’s tax competition, that Twitter, Google, Apple and other US tech giants prefer to put their European HQs in Dublin rather than on the continent. Only Luxembourg competes on tax (e.g. Amazon, Guardian Media Group and AOL/Huffington Post). So far Guido has not noticed the Commission going after Juncker’s homeland…

Apple itself argues

The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process. The opinion issued on August 30th alleges that Ireland gave Apple a special deal on our taxes. This claim has no basis in fact or in law. We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals. We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don’t owe them any more than we’ve already paid.

The Commission’s move is unprecedented and it has serious, wide-reaching implications. It is effectively proposing to replace Irish tax laws with a view of what the Commission thinks the law should have been. This would strike a devastating blow to the sovereignty of EU member states over their own tax matters, and to the principle of certainty of law in Europe. Ireland has said they plan to appeal the Commission’s ruling and Apple will do the same. We are confident that the Commission’s order will be reversed.

In 2009 the Commission during the Lisbon II Treaty referendum guaranteed not to interfere in Ireland’s tax affairs. The EU has no tax competency, so it is instead using competition policy to extend its reach and claiming that this is “illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid.” In fact all businesses in Apples circumstances are treated the same under Irish tax law. This ain’t over…

mdi-timer 30 August 2016 @ 15:58 30 Aug 2016 @ 15:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
MP’s Social Media Expenses Paid to Labour Crony

RUTH CADBURY TECH

If an MP had spent a whopping £7,000 of taxpayers’ money on top tech gear, “comms management” and social media training, you would expect to see some results. Ruth Cadbury billed the taxpayer for a Macbook Pro, an iPad Air 2 and an office full of new computers, as well as funnelling £2,575 to former Gordon Brown SpAd Caroline Badley to teach her, among other things, how to use social media. Your money well spent? After the social media splurge Ruth has a measly 680 Facebook followers, just 5,000 odd Twitter followers, and a grand total of zero YouTube subscribers. Is this taxpayer cash actually being spent on anything or is it just lining the pockets of a Labour crony?

mdi-timer 15 August 2016 @ 12:30 15 Aug 2016 @ 12:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Cabinet Office Cover Up Taxpayer-Funded MacBook Splurge

big ben apple

Nearly all the civil servants in the Cabinet Office who were offered a free laptop on the taxpayer chose an Apple MacBook Air. But they don’t want you to know it…

2000 staff were given a choice between a selection of either a premium MacBook or a less top-of-the-range Dell or Lenovo laptop, as part of the Cabinet Office’s Choose Your Own Device scheme. Unsurprisingly, Techno heard on the grapevine that most staff plumped for the £849 13″ MacBook Air. Yet the Cabinet Office are refusing to answer our FoI requesting a breakdown of the figures, spuriously claiming that it would be “inappropriate” to indicate “favouritism“:

“Section 43 is engaged on the basis that this IT devices is a hotly contested digital market. It would be inappropriate for HMG to provide any indication of favouritism or indicate that another product is inferior it would have an effect on the market. The release of information concerning the number of staff choosing each laptop could have a direct impact on the ability of suppliers to compete on a level playing field in current and future commercial activities; Preserving relationships of trust and confidence and the free flow of information between the government and suppliers is paramount. The disclosure of the requested information against the wishes of the suppliers would jeopardise this relationship, which is fundamentally important in maintaining for the most effective delivery of public services. After weighing up the competing public interest considerations, we have determined that the balance of public interest is in favour of withholding the requested information.”

Which is the most comical FoI response Guido has had in a while. So much for the new age of openness and transparency… 

mdi-timer 10 August 2015 @ 14:36 10 Aug 2015 @ 14:36 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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