Only the Little People Pay Taxes

23 06 2012

Category; Politics, Finance

Jimmy Carr and his Bentley

Poor Jimmy Carr has realised he made a ‘massive error of judgment’ and he’s really sorry. The comedian somehow stumbled on a tax avoidance scheme that saved him an awful lot of money – click here.

Carr is a man who feels that his success allows him to stand apart from other people. As Leona Helmsley once said;

 “We don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.”

And justice. While Leona did serve at least a little time in gaol for tax evasion (click here) Jimmy Carr has repeatedly, well, let me phrase this carefully, he has repeatedly managed to secure the best possible outcome for himself after being prosecuted for motoring offences by hiring very expensive specialist lawyers – see here for more on that.

It was more interesting to see the flailing on this issue from politicians. They simply did not know how to respond. They did not understand how their reactions reflected on the nature of our society and its governance which, given that a basic role of government is gathering and spending money, is quite revealing. I’m not sure our politicians really know what they are there for anymore. Read the rest of this entry »

Cameron’s Presidential Precedents

19 03 2011

Category: Politics, Middle East

President Carter and President Johnson

David Cameron is surrounded by people massively knowledgeable about recent American history. I wonder if they’ve been discussing the two former Presidents I’ve been reminded of in the last week or two.

The first was Jimmy Carter. That came as a surprise; it’s not an obvious comparison. But sending helicopters into the Libyan desert triggered a great big alarm. Even before a British plane was peppered with bullets, and before a British team was, briefly, taken prisoner. Read the rest of this entry »

American Isolationism

11 08 2010
Category: Media

The New York Times is a very good newspaper: It’s global edition, the International Herald Tribune, may well be the best daily newspaper on sale in the UK, but its website (see the excerpt above) does no favours for correcting stereotypes of American ignorance about global affairs.

It’s three months since David Cameron became Prime Minister of the UK but no-one at the New York Times has noticed.

And there seems to be another cultural problem: ‘Chief of State‘. That’s defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary (an American Dictionary) as ‘the formal head of a national state as distinguished from the head of the government.’

Who in the UK is, of course, not Gordon, or David, but Elizabeth; Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Read the rest of this entry »

Headlines or Progress

31 07 2010

Category; Politics

Diplomatic instruction manuals will need a new chapter after David Cameron’s speeches in Turkey and India. He has introduced an entirely new diplomatic gambit.

It’s a curious way to behave – you criticise your ally on the soil of another that ally they are in dispute with.

No doubt Pakistan is worthy of criticism for links between the Taleban and ISI; that criticism could have been made in a speech in the UK, in a neutral space like the UN or even in Afghanistan.

To go out of your way to do it on the territory of their traditional rival India may be bold, but it doesn’t seem very constructive. The main thing you succeed in doing is putting their backs up and making them act defensively rather than in an engaged and constructive way.

Is he seeking to make headlines or progress? Read the rest of this entry »