How Times Fly (but some things never change)

We all remember the headlines starting in 2013, and still going strong last year around the tax avoidance controversies of various wealthy people and very wealthy companies. I blogged about tax avoidance at the time when the story broke about Apple in Ireland Tax.


Various politicians spoke about this issue at the time, Theresa May said in a speech during the race to become Prime Minister:

“If there’s evidence that the big utility firms and the retail banks are abusing their roles in highly consolidated markets we shouldn’t just complain about it, we shouldn’t say it’s too difficult; we should do something about it.”

She also promised a crackdown on corporate and personal tax avoidance.

“We also understand that tax is the price we pay for living in a civilised society. No individual or no business, however rich, has succeeded all on their own,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re Amazon, Google or Starbucks, you have a duty to put something back, you have a debt to fellow citizens and you have a responsibility to pay your taxes.”

David Cameron called tax avoidance “ frankly and morally wrong “, and that “.” Those who want to evade taxes have nowhere to hide. Tim Farron MP and Leader of the Liberal Democrats said “ time to stop tax avoidance “ and Jeremy Corbyn said “The Government needs to stop pussyfooting around on tax dodging. There cannot be one set of tax rules for the wealthy elite and another for the rest of us. This unfairness and abuse must stop. No more lip service. The richest must pay their way.”

It’s just all bullshit.

We know that the UK Government blocked the EU from imposing a high tariff on Chinese Steel when they were deliberately selling it cheap, even though it threatened British jobs (in the north so who cared). The Tories say one thing and do the exact opposite and today the Chancellor fired the first gun in what could become a trade war with the EU when he said in an interview with a German Magazine that in the event of no deal with the EU:

“We could be forced to change our economic model, and we will have to change our model to regain competitiveness. And you can be sure we will do whatever we have to do. “The British people are not going to lie down and say ‘too bad, we’ve been wounded’. We will change our model and we will come back, and we will be competitively engaged.”

What he really means is that for the Tories turning Britain into a living vibrant Panama Papers model is a dream come true, the Tories I believe want a hard Brexit so the UK becomes a low wage, low tax paradise for those at the top. What this means, according to HW Fisher City Accountants, is that the Tories will promote the steady reduction in corporation tax as part of a long-term rebalancing of the tax burden from companies to individuals.

Time flies but somethings never change, we get shafted big time as usual.

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17 Responses to How Times Fly (but some things never change)

  1. East Neuker says:

    This was always what was going to happen in the event of a vote to leave the EU. We had that debate, you and me, and I’m going to say it right out – leave voters like you were wrong, because this shit was the inevitable consequence.

    The leave vote simply handed all the cards to a bunch of neo fascist incompetent arseholes who are now going to turn the UK into a low wage economy with no social or health protection, suck up to the hateful Trump, and encourage racial hatred. They will also do their damn best to crush Scottish aspirations.

    You said at the time of your leave vote that “it is what it is…..”. You were right there, and this is what it is. If your thinking I’m angry, you are right.

    • East Neuker

      Our exchanges were good and you argue your points very well. I am not suprised by what Philip Hammond has said, as you said we had that discussion, but I am surprised and a little annoyed that these statements are not being made in parliament to the people elected by the voters. I don’t see things getting as bad as zero health and social protections, even Tory voters would not allow that to happen, but the Tory agenda is certainly looking like privatisation of health down south which will effect barnett I guess. I totally understand that many remain voters are angry, I get that as I was there the night of the indy referendum, I respect that I really do. It is still a bit of wait and see for me right now as far as the EU is concerned, I won’t pretend to know who is right and wrong as to the ins and outs of the impact of the leave vote, to be honest I am not so sure that anyone does as it has never happened before, my guess is that it will involve a re-balancing of a lot of things both in the UK and in the EU.

      Thanks for commenting.


    • bjsalba

      Interesting link and not a lot to diagree with and while I was aware of a lot of it how many people are or are even interested. I don’t know what it will take to get Scots or people from all over these islands for that matter to learn about what this country is and does. We live in a disgusting little UK and if more people would take an interest they might just get angry enough to bring about real change rather than believe the shit they are fed daily.

      Thanks for the link.


  2. Gary F says:

    Disagree Bruce. What he really means is that the UK will allow and actively support sterling devaluation to wipe out any tariff implications and reduce our current account balance and is effectively telling the EU to “come ahead!” Dropping to WTO rules will hurt everybody but will impact the EU more than the UK. WE have a massive trade deficit with the EU this is just a fact!!

    This is and always had to be the UK’s starting position for negotiations and to gain any form of leverage in the upcoming negotiations with the EU the possibility of hard Brexit always had to be an acceptable government position or they would have no leverage whatsoever.

    The corporation tax stuff to me is just Tories being Tories. This is what they believe and is what they would want to push Brexit or no Brexit.

    By the way, our current economic model is neoliberalism and he is not proposing to change this one iota. The UK was already a low tax/low wage paradise for the wealthy before the EU referendum – nothing has changed. Everyone should keep in mind that neoliberalism is the economic model across the EU so not sure why people think this route is any better, just another flavour of shite in my opinion.

    • Gary

      I won’t pretend to understand the economics of the situation and a lot of what you have said makes sense, not something I like but makes sense all the same. I don’t know the balance of trade between the EU and the UK and did read that BMW are putting pressure on Merkel but again I don’t know the ins and outs. The decisions made in the EU though will be political as it is a political project, even if it means pain for the EU and the UK, I don’t think they will bend on free movement etc unless there are major changes during the elections across the EU this year and that is not totally out of the question. I do think that we are about to see pretectionism in the USA and China and that will impact on the whole world, wouldn’t imagine it will be a good thing but it will be interesting to see how the EU/UK respond to any protectionism in the USA.

      I think the neoliberal economic model is a failure to be honest, been great for the wealthy but pretty much shit for people in the western economies but better for those in the developing countries by accident in the way of low paid jobs. I follow it all with great interest but it will still come down to people getting educated and voting for change, in Scotland that has to be a YES vote but in the UK we have got to get the Tories out, the problem being there is no opposition that England can vote for, in many ways that worries me more as long as we are a member of this UK.

      Thanks for commenting.


      • Anonymous says:

        £100 billion approx is the annual trade deficit with the EU.

        • Anon

          Would that be the UK loss or the EU loss with trade?


          • Anonymous says:

            It means £100 billion pounds is effectively removed from the UK balance sheet by the EU so the EU gains £100 billion and the UK loses it. To balance the books the UK has to take on more debt.

            • Anon

              Thanks for that, I tend to struggle with the details of economics at times to be honest. What happens though if the UK starts to sell more things abroad, does that mean the balance of payments changes and you borrow less?


              • Gary F says:

                The simple answer is yes. The whole surplus/defecit/debt description is however highly complex. I would advise googling for a description of the nations current account and trade balance although you will probably end up with a bit of a headache.

                • Gary

                  I think I would and it’s only Wednesday, I’ll just live in hope that people like yourself keep dropping by the blog from time to time to share your knowledge. That is one of the reasons I blog to learn as well express an opinion so thanks very much for sharing yours as you do seem to understand the economics of all of this.

                  Thanks for commenting.


  3. East Neuker says:

    Gary, can you clarify for me what you want from the current situation? I can’t figure out from your post what your agenda is.

    • Gary F says:

      No agenda. Making a comment on an interesting post.

      I would like to see Scotland an independent country in all senses of the word. I think the EU is just another elitist institution pushing a neoliberal agenda and i want to see the worldwide fall of this horrible form of rentier capitalism.

      Being in or out of the EU is not the reason the UK is turning into a low wage economy that is the enivitable consequence of neoliberalism. By the way I’m not daft enough to believe that were we to gain independence tomorrow that Scotland would bin neoliberalism although it would hopefully be a step towards it.

      In my opinion this is not the time for Scotland to go independent as in the current circumstances with all the upcoming economic turbulence that will present during Brexit I think adding Scotland exiting the UK would be an absolute car crash considering we lack control of monetary policy and will therefore have fiscal policy dictated to us.

      • East Neuker says:

        Thanks Gary, that’s a clear and coherent point of view, but it seems to me that the UK government, although it wants to hold on to Scotland, is hell bent on doing all the things that will push the Scottish government and the wider independence movement into a referendum demand, which, if refused by May, would lead to real trouble. What they are doing in Ireland is even more dangerous.
        We can agree to disagree on the EU (Bruce and I did some time ago), but ir is my feeling that the breaking point is coming in 2018, and then the country will need true independence supporters like you behind it.
        The alternative will be, I feel, that the right wing UK government will crush Scotland economicallyand hold it by force. It might be difficult being independent, as you say. I feel it will be much worse if we are not.

  4. bjsalba says:

    Bruccce I heard a different story. Apparently there were British Officials running around Europe to the large companies trying to get them to put pressure on their governments to cave in to UK demands. German car companies were mentioned, but no name specfied. When Merkel found out, she was rightly – shall we say most displeased and sent them rightabout.

    For far too long the UK has got what it wanted by the kind of divide and conquer bullying and backroom deals. I expect they thought they could do the same this time. They tried. Only this time it did not work. I suspect that the next tactic will be to paint the EU as being vengeful. They don’t have to be. All they need to do is apply the rules.

    • bjsalba

      I read it on one of the independent news sites so who knows what is really being said, they did note that BMW sell around 7% of their cars to the UK but that there is a lot of development type things that take place here. I guess it is very much a wait and see.

      Thanks for commenting.


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