(Planet Me)
Monday, June 25, 2012
 
Pay The Price : For Nothing Is Fair


Firstly, Jimmy Carr made an error of judgement in commiting tax avoidance.

Secondly, he made an error in judgement by apologising.

Thirdly, he made an error in judgement by changing his tax position.

Instead of being apologetic, Carr should have been defiant and turned tax avoidance into a principled moral position of outrage at the Government.

Carr would have been able to take the moral high ground, and benefit the most affected and deprived in this country, with a very different approach.

Imagine this instead, Graham Norton, tonight. Carr sits on the interview couch to a crescendo of boos. It could end in cheers. And how?

He places three £1 coins on the table. He explains that if that was one millionth of the sum total of his tax avoidance activity, and £3.3m in tax avoidance is roughly 9p for each of the 36 million tax payers in this country.

He then pushes on a trolley filled with 6,000 pound coins.

This is the amount of money Vodafone avoided in tax.

This trolley is one millionth of Vodafone's tax responsibility it had avoided. About £170 per taxpayer in this country alone.

He adds to this trolley 1,000 pound coins. You're left with £7 billion pounds.

That's the amount of money that is being cut from the welfare and benefit budget - on top of everything else.

Every penny taken from the wallets of the least able in this country – the undeservedly unemployed, the terminal, and chronically sick, the poor, the deprived, children growing up in poverty that go without breakfast, the families that have worked all their lives and paid in all their lives that are being refused government help, everyone receiving housing benefit, tax credit, Employment Seekers Allowance, sickness benefit, everyone who is judged “Fit to work” because they cannot carry a wheelchair up the stairs to the third floor of the ATOS offices, or is ruled fit to work because they are in a coma, everyone who commits suicide due to the time-limitation of their benefits (and there are several cases, both documented and undocumented), is subsidising the corporate profits of Vodafone.

And this is just one company. There are hundreds like it in the United Kingdom. At a stroke, everyone who receives any benefits and is seeing it cut unjustly and unfairly, with a huge price in human misery, sees that their poverty is directly subsidisng the corporate profits of just one company.

Then he suggests that, if Cameron thinks that his tax avoidance is morally wrong, what about Take That? What about Vodafone? What about Amazon?



If tax avoidance is morally wrong, then David Cameron should talk to someone in power who has the power to change it. Someone like a Prime Minister, for example. And if the Prime Minister cannot change the law then who can? And if the Prime Mininster doesn't change the law and therefore, doesn't prevent something that is morally wrong, why? Why doesn't the Prime Minister then resign?

If Jimmy Carr is guilty of this tax avoidance, why isn't the chief exec of Amazon, or Vodafone, on the front pages?

Why does David Cameron state that Jimmy Carr is morally wrong, then, when asked about Sir Philip Green he states he will not comment on individual tax cases? Why not his father, who made a £300mn inheritance for his son through tax avoidance? Or his minister who avoided £7.54m? Or his Chancellor Of The Exchequer who avoided £4m in tax? If Carr is morally wrong, then so are thousands of other people in the United Kingdom, and thousands of companies. If it is morally wrong, then change the law.

Let us not forget News International, who in 2010 were fined $77,000,0000 by the Australian Government for Tax Avoidance. News International own The Times. The Times put Jimmy Carr on the front cover. The Times shamed Jimmy Carr for a lesser crime than its parent company were convicted in court of committing. People in glass houses shouldn't hack murdered childrens phones.

The hypocrisy of this is sickening and that hypocrisy is morally wrong.

The next step would be to address the issue of tax. Carr could have turned his tax avoidance into a moral stance : to say he would be proud to pay tax if the revenue was used morally. Carr could say he would pay his tax, if the Government fulfilled its responsibilities. Every battered woman who is murdered by her partner could have found a refuge from domestic violence, and lived, were it not for the closure of battered womens refuges by Government cuts. Every war hero, who has sacrified their limbs, their physical health, their mental wellbeing, or their life itself, for example, who cannot now afford care, or a wheelchair, or will commit suicide in poverty, has been forsaken and abandoned by the Government.



This Government has a duty – as do all governments : tax should be used to pave roads, collect rubbish, pay doctors, provide childcare, provide womens refuges, provide suitable care for the military, and to look after the least in society. I see taxes as a payment to the Government to take care of the country for me. This Government is failing. Here Carr could have pulled his masterstroke : turning tax avoidance into a moral stance, by refusing to fund the banks. By suggesting that, if the Government is going to print money out of thin air in Quantative Easing, that this money should have been paid to the population, which would; have injected an enormous amount of tangible cash back into the economy and into the tax coffers through VAT and Income Tax. Even if they had paid just £1,000 to everyone in the country that would have been less than the amount of Quantative Easing the banks have secreted away.

“So, Cameron, I will pay my tax when you fulfill your responsibilities as a Government. My tax avoidance is not greed, but a principled moral stance against a grossly unfair government that rewards secretive financial institutions with billions whilst battered women are turned away from refuges and forced to return to their abusive partners that will beat them to death.”

Until then, Carr should have said, he would earmark the amount in tax that has been avoided – completely legally – and donate it to charities that are actively fighting the brutal impact of the cuts. Starting with Help For Heroes. The stench of shame over Cameron would have been overpowering.

If this is morally wrong, Cameron, you have the power to change the law.

And this is how Carr could have come out of this situation with the Government utterly, morally defeated. Until then the rich are laughing at you.


Comments:
I agreed with you right up until you mentioned help for heroes.
 
Understandable : I chose HFH because it was the first thing I could think of Sir Hypocrite Of Barlow supports and the one that most obviously meets the jingo, flagwaving pride of the right. I could easily have suggested a Battered Housewives Charity, a MS charity, a hospital donation. Anyone of a million good causes!
 
... or donated it to an anti-tax-avoidance charity, or even hired 40 tax inspectors for a year.
 
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