Telegraph tries to smear ‘UKuncut’ protests


9:30 am - November 16th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Daily Telegraph today has a story on Thom Costello, the alleged founder of UKuncut, which is organising a national of action against Tax Avoidance on 4th December.

He is the brilliant Oxford graduate with a burgeoning career in television, including a stint on Melvyn Bragg’s The South Bank Show. But Thom Costello can also be unmasked as the ringleader of an anti-capitalist movement that is bringing chaos to high streets across Britain.

Mr Costello, 22, has already orchestrated a protest against Vodafone, shutting down about a tenth of its stores over claims the company has evaded a £6 billion tax bill. His organisation UK Uncut is now planning a mass day of action next month, which has such major retailers as Boots, also accused of tax avoidance, in its sights.

You can tell they’re worried.

As an “unmasking” it’s pretty lame – his name was already mentioned in the Independent by Johann Hari in October.

But the Telegraph doesn’t realise this is a decentralised protest as part of a broader decentralised movement. There isn’t just one person behind UKuncut and there isn’t just one person coordinating across the country.

There are different people in Manchester, Liverpool, London, Birmingham who coordinate with people once a date has been decided.

As with the broader movement to defend public services, the olden days are gone where the right-wing press could smear a few people and undermine the entire movement.

The success of Mr Costello’s campaign has caused consternation in British boardrooms. As many as 30 of Vodafone’s stores were forced to shut temporarily by activists in just three days of protests earlier this month.

Mr Costello, 22, is using the social networking sites Twitter and Facebook to mobilise activists. The night before a protest he posts UK Uncut’s latest plans on the internet

I love consternation in boardrooms that indulge in massive tax avoidance.

But these protests aren’t planned the night before – we already know the next big day is Saturday 4th December.

Thanks for the publicity Telegraph – you’ve just helped this movement against tax avoidance grow bigger.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Um, where’s the smear here?

Why do these “student leaders” always come from elite universities? Too bored of being overprivileged and playing with daddy’s credit card, so you want to stir up some trouble to add meaning to your pampered lives?

Sorry for going O/T but are the facts of this “pc gone mad” story true or is there something missing?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/8136069/Toy-pig-removed-from-farm-set-to-avoid-offending-Muslim-and-Jewish-parents.html

@1

I’ll highlight the important bits:
“He is the brilliant Oxford graduate with a burgeoning career in television, including a stint on Melvyn Bragg’s The South Bank Show. But Thom Costello can also be unmasked as the ringleader of an anti-capitalist movement”

The smear is because a) he hasn’t been “unmasked” (Johan Hari has already mentioned him b) the movement has no leader and c) it isn’t “anti-capitalist” in the way that this story implies. The language is hyperbolic and intended to make Thom Costello seem like some sort of shadowy, elite, figure pulling the strings in the background. In fact, UKuncut protests are as mentioned leaderless and co-ordinated within different groups up and down the country. It’s hilarious that this story has actually been printed actually as it shows how scared the government are of the Big Society.

@2

I must’ve missed the memo: is there now a reverse means-test for being involved in radical politics? No posh folk? Tony Benn will be disappointed… not to mention my favourite Old Etonian, George Orwell.

Sunny

I love consternation in boardrooms that indulge in massive tax avoidance.

be honest, Sunny. If your granny gave you power of attorney over her affairs and asked you to manage her life savings, pension etc., would you go out of your way to pay taxes you didn’t need to pay, or would you feel an obligation to maximize your grandmother’s income to the full extent the law allows?

Right. So what is so different when a company does its fiduciary duty by its (often pension fund) shareholders?

Vodafone is a good example. It only has two shareholders with > 4% of the equity. Both are pensions/savings managers. There simply is no eeevil capitalist raking it all in for his own self-indulgent pleasure. The Vodafone tax deal largely benefits people like your granny. And mine. So, lay off will you?

@ 4

The smear is because a) he hasn’t been “unmasked” …

I think you’re missing the journo’s little joke. It isn’t exactly a rib-tickler, but it’s okay as a passing witticism. Clue: anti-cap protesters wear things that cover their faces…. called “masks”. Geddit?

7. Chaise Guevara

@ 2

“Why do these “student leaders” always come from elite universities? Too bored of being overprivileged and playing with daddy’s credit card, so you want to stir up some trouble to add meaning to your pampered lives?”

Just possibly, they’re fed up with hearing from mindless bigots. If you look very carefully, you’ll find there’s one of those around here!

@6

And I think you give the journo far too much credit, so we’ll call it even.

It’s hilarious that this story has actually been printed actually as it shows how scared the government are of the Big Society.

I don’t think the Government actually have editorial control over at the Telegraph. If they did, you might see Simon Heffer consigned to the TV Review pages.

And call me demanding, but I’d have thought a smear would have to go a bit further than calling someone brilliant, and pointing out their burgeoning media career. It’s more of a puff piece than a takedown. Maybe a better tag for this piece would be ‘Telegraph bigs up ‘UKUncut’ protest instigator’.

10. Chaise Guevara

@ 3

“Sorry for going O/T but are the facts of this “pc gone mad” story true or is there something missing?”

Does it matter? Even if it’s true, all it reveals is that a private firm made a stupid decision. It’s not relevant to anyone except ELC and the people that bought the product..

@9

The Torygraph is now the official mouthpiece of the Conservative half of the coalition, at least (was it ever anything else..)

As for the smear: the positive words at first are why it works. It shocks the Telegraph’s demographic by having a “brilliant” Oxford graduate as a “ringleader” – they’ll be reading thinking “But…he’s one of ours!” Also, as our friend @2 demonstrates, having posh/”brilliant” people in charge leads to inane criticisms and more sticks to beat the anti-cuts movement.

The Torygraph is now the official mouthpiece of the Conservative half of the coalition, at least (was it ever anything else..)

It really isn’t. The Telegraph has been remarkably hostile to Cameron ever since he became leader. It’s lead columnist, Simon Heffer, writes weekly columns describing ‘Dave’ as weak, Euro-phile, vacuous and so on. If there is a paper that really is close to the Conservatives, it’s the Times. Both the Mail and the Telegraph are ‘continuity IDS’ papers at best.

I’d buy the point re: smears if there was even a hint of negativity in the coverage, but there isn’t. It’s basically a straight news story about the founder of a direct action group. There’s no comment attached to it.

@9

Oh and Heffer is the DT equivalent of Private Eye’s Dave Spart – ranting away in his own little bubble and satiating the more loonier readers’ prejudices.

Oh and Heffer is the DT equivalent of Private Eye’s Dave Spart – ranting away in his own little bubble and satiating the more loonier readers’ prejudices.

He’s the associate editor of the whole damn newspaper.

@12

Charles Moore is v pro-Cameron, and more of a “lead columnist” than Heffer. I stand by my points @4 re:smear. Though it’s notable that Sunny used the word “tries” in the headline.
You don’t need to make direct criticism of someone to create an image of negativity.

Shows what I know about economics. Turns out ‘anti-capitalist’ means you just want big companies to pay their tax bills like everyone else.

Charles Moore is v pro-Cameron, and more of a “lead columnist” than Heffer.

Hardly – Moore writes one column a week, and it’s usually non party-political. The principal pro-Cameron columnist is Matt d’Ancona, and he’s in the Sunday.

I just don’t agree that this piece is a smear – it’s a factual news story with no comment attached to it. And it’s a pretty positive one too – he’s described as brilliant, and his campaign’s described as successful. I’d be pretty happy to be smeared in those terms!

If you want a laugh just read some of the comments on the finance section of the Telegraph. Tinfoil hat does not come close to the level of paranoia. They are utterly convinced Western civilisation is on the brink of imminent collapse. If not this week then next week. Hyperinflation is just around the corner and the dastardly EU is coming to steal their gooold. Ambrose who seems only vaguely in touch with planet earth attracts the real fruitcakes to his tales of imminent EU martial law.

From the Telegpraph piece:

“Mr Costello, 22, has already orchestrated a protest against Vodafone, shutting down about a tenth of its stores over claims the company has evaded a £6 billion tax bill.”

‘Evaded’?

To my knowledge there have been no suggestions from anywhere in the movement of tax evasion, or from Mr Costello himself. They have focused on the avoidance.

Now if there was a hand legal firm willing to do that whole libel thing at the Daily Telegraph……..

20. Cynical/Realist?

@5

Yeah, Vodaphone are avoiding all that tax to help Grannies. Because every penny of avoided tax goes straight into those pension pots. No person or organisation is using to to take a huge cut and profit, its all about the grannies. Crikey, some people really have been bought. But hey they deserve their big fat salaries for being so smart to avoid the tax yeah?

I imagine the Tax Payers Alliance have been quiet on this issue because they are preparing a mega-response to ensure all us tax payers get the money back from Vodaphone et al. This will be their brightest day. That must be the case.

20

I’m not sure it’s as simple as them being bought sadly; many of them fervently believe that this excuse (which has an element of truth) is so generally applicable that it “trumps” any other consideration like corporate social responsibility.

They actually do think that there is nothing wrong with companies making hundreds of millions or billions in profit, and paying negligable amounts of tax on the grounds that it will somehow trickle down in the form of dividends to shareholders and pension plans, and to the public more generally because it makes the companies “stronger” and more able to compete.

Meanwhile most of us have to be content with paying higher taxes, VAT, NI etc because we are easy targets, whilst seeing public services cut. The rich grow richer, inequality increases…. an still we have the right wing cant that tax avoidance is somehow morally neutral.

Back in the real world, the ordinary folks look around and can only echo the words of Calgacus:

“Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a desert and call it peace”

The slave mentality of people who want to pay more tax only marginally less disgusting than the minion mentality of those who want others to pay more tax.

Is anyone suggesting Vodafone has done anything illegal? Does one deliberately pay more tax than you’re legally obliged to? Blame (Labour) politicians for writing the loopholes into law, not Vodafone for exploiting them.

Enough back-slapping. Most people see this as a rather childish, pointless and stupid protest. Your self congratulation is risible.

Best way to smear UKuncut would be with a very rude anagram.

Shows what I know about economics. Turns out ‘anti-capitalist’ means you just want big companies to pay their tax bills like everyone else.

OK, so what are you actually asking for here? “Should tax laws be tightened to stop UK companies dodging tax” – yes.

“Should we change the entire corporate system so that instead of companies having a duty to obey the law while maximising their returns to shareholders, they have a duty to pay taxes they haven’t incurred”, I’m thinking that won’t work brilliantly.

And let’s remember here, the tax that Vodafone is supposed to have dodged is *entirely on its operations overseas*. If the former Mannesmann mobile phone network were still owned by a German company, we wouldn’t be able to charge a penny on tax for it – and the only money we can charge on tax is money that hasn’t been incurred or paid in Germany (where the standard corporation tax rate is 15%), but which we are allowed to charge on the repatriated profits from the money that Vodafone has made in Germany.

It’s brilliant that as British taxpayers, we get free money from the fact that Vodafone is a British company capable of making Germans pay large amounts of money for their mobile phones serviced by German staff and made in Finland, China or Korea. Just as it’s brilliant that we get free money from the fact that Unilever is good at persuading Brazilians to pay for deodorant made in Brazil, and that Diageo is good at persuading Americans to drink Smirnoff made in America [*].

The British tax system, because we’ve inherited a bunch of successful MNCs primarily from our colonial past, taxes profits made overseas just as highly as profits made domestically (minus, which is fair enough, taxes levied overseas). Most other countries in the world don’t. But with that free money based on people who aren’t British selling things to people who aren’t British, it’s churlish to complain IMO.

On the other hand, companies like Google that blatantly dodge British tax on their British operations are crooks who should be made to get bent.

[*] Diageo does do dodgy transfer pricing things with all its brands being owned by offshore companies, but because it’s a UK-registered company, all its profits-payable-to-shareholders are taxed properly. The dodgy transfer pricing is in case it wants to sell brands in the future, or in case we change the laws in the future so that repatriated profits from foreign units aren’t taxed.

22

A great demonstration of not being able to see the wood for the trees.

It isn’t necessary to think they have done something illegal, or expecting people to pay more than their fair share, to have the feeling that there is real injustice in a company like Vodafone managing to come to this sort of settlement, whilst watching the rest of us more or less thrown to the wolves.

Absent some total rethink on the basis of corporate taxation (which I’m sure many on the right would love), why is it OK for companies to reduce their tax liabilities by simple expedients like moving their HQ to some low tax regime offshore?

The shortfall in taxes will of course be made up from the easiest targets: those with no way of avoiding PAYE, NI and VAT, and those who use the public services which will be cut.

I want the rich to pay more tax. I want large corporations to show some social responsibility and pay a fair whack for the profits they make. I am prepared to pay more tax if it produces decent public services.

None of this is rocket science, but none of it is likely to happen soon given the fact none of our major parties actually seem to have a clue, let alone the balls to do anything assuming they did!

I just want everyone to pay less tax.

On the other hand, demanding “the rich” to pay more tax (when they already pay a huge amount) is just saying “I want someone else to be forced to pay for stuff I want”, and marks the person demanding it as a selfish twat. Demanding a COMPANY does it is even worse. Not only is it selfish cuntery as described above, it is also ignorant of the economic reality: Companies don’t pay tax. Their employees pay it in the form of lower wages, and their customers pay it in the form of higher prices. Only a small amount is borne by the capitalists in the form of lower shareholder returns.

So you’re demanding vodafone workers, customers and shareholders (in practice, anyone with a pension) to pay for your enthusiasm for state funded services.

Idiocy.

27. Chaise Guevara

@ 26

““I want someone else to be forced to pay for stuff I want”, and marks the person demanding it as a selfish twat.”

Try “I want someone else to give back a slightly larger percentage of the resources they’ve selfishly grabbed and kept for themselves, possibly by such a difficult process as being given it by their parents.”

“Someones got more than me Not fair! Waaaa!”

Leftists = Children.

28

If you can’t see the irony in your facile ranting, then most of the grown ups here probably can. When you have something more meaningful to contribute tho, by all means get back to us…..

…sheesh.. don’t we have trolls enough?

Absent some total rethink on the basis of corporate taxation (which I’m sure many on the right would love), why is it OK for companies to reduce their tax liabilities by simple expedients like moving their HQ to some low tax regime offshore?

Because freedom of establishment is one of the foundation stones of the European Union. It is existing British tax rules, that were put in place precisely to avoid this situation, that have been found largely incompatible with EU law. There really is only one way to square that particular circle.

Otherwise, you’re just arguing ‘OK, it’s all perfectly legal, and entirely unprefventable, but it’s just not fair’. That’s a perfectly valid opinion, but it doesn’t get us very far.

30

Ah yes..the usual “it’s all the EU’s fault” gambit.

Sorry, I just don’t buy it. Like so much else, it’s a choice and I can’t believe that it’s outwith the ken of man to come up with something better. You are right, I do consider it unfair, and think something better needs to be developed.

From what I can see, the options favoured by the right discussed on some other threads like zero corporate tax, are just as much pie in the sky as the kind of actions I’d like to see happen.

Even if you accepted the right wing solution, it’s not something that could happen overnight…so how would it be introduced?

So you’re demanding vodafone workers, customers and shareholders (in practice, anyone with a pension) to pay for your enthusiasm for state funded services.

Mmmm… nice try – but perhaps we could talk about the massive bonsuses these company execs receive?

And who do you think that £6bn would go to? Yes, pensioners, customers and ordinary people.

33. Chaise Guevara

@28

““Someones got more than me Not fair! Waaaa!”

Leftists = Children.”

Sigh. Anyone can oversimplify someone else’s point and repeat it in the text equivalent of a stupid voice. It doesn’t actually add anything to the debate. Please explain why it is fair that someone people are effectively born billionaires and others are born into extreme poverty; did the former work really, really hard to get the right parents?

Galen says it perfectly. Ironically facile.

Ah yes..the usual “it’s all the EU’s fault” gambit.

Sorry, I just don’t buy it. Like so much else, it’s a choice and I can’t believe that it’s outwith the ken of man to come up with something better.

What don’t you buy? In the case of Vodafone, until recently UK tax law considered the profits of tax haven subsidiaries to be liable to full UK tax. The reason that this is no longer the case is because it conflicts with EU law. That’s about as uncontroversial a statement of the facts as it’s possible to give.

It is simply impossible to prevent companies setting up corporate headquarters elsewhere in the EU. As a result, if the overall business for industry becomes uncongenial in the UK, corporates will leave. And we can’t stop them. We should therefore either not worry about it, and hope that other businesses will spring up in their place, or we should see if the reasons given for their leaving are sufficiently valid to warrant action being taken in response, so that they won’t want to leave.

What we can’t do is forcibly prevent them. It’s against the entire basis of the EU. Unless we leave the EU, which I doubt is yet realistic (sorry Tim W).

Bah. Can everyone post-45, right or left, try engaging with the fact that we’re talking about *ACTIVITIES THAT DIDN’T TAKE PLACE IN THE UK*?

If ARM discovered an amazing machine, as they frequently do, based in the UK, it would be taxed at UK rates. If Vodafone was a company that made excellent phones from its excellent research centres, it’d be taxed UK rates on them. We’re talking about a company that makes monopoly profits in Germany from German consumers on a license based on vast amounts of money it paid to the German government. Aside from “because we can, and poor people in the UK need the money”, why the fuck should the UK government tax that?

“post-25”, sorry.

34

I’ll try and make this simple, and prevent it getting sidetracked into a debate about the EU or the minute detail of the Vodafone case which, to paraphrase Palmerston ends up like the Scleswig Holstein question, only 3 people understand it, one is dead, one mad and the other has forgotten about it.

A company which makes hundreds of millions/billions in profits from it’s operations in a country should be paying a reasonable amount of tax on that profit to the authorities in that country. Being able to avoid such taxes by the simple expedient of renting an office in Ruritania and paying 4% tax simply means that the money “lost” to the tax authorities has to be found elsewhere.

The chances are in current circumstances, they will (at least in large part) screw it out of tax payers in higher PAYE, VAT and NI contributions. They may also get creative and try to reduce corporate tax rates to attract companies back – Osborne has already said the Tories will do this, and try and recoup the shortfall by doing other things like reducing allowances for capital expenditure.

How is that really any different from the right wing hobby horse of abolishing corporate tax altogether, and allowing all that money to “trickle down” to shareholders, pension funds, and (they say) allow companies to charge less and be more competitive etc…. other than the fact it could be seen to be more equitable / socially just to tax them rather than rely on their good natures to reduce prices, or the “market” to make it so?

Let’s not hide behind what the EU allows, or the pettyfogging detail of the Vodafone case: the broader question of what role there is for corporate taxation remains, and where we should land between the extremes of “abolish it” on the one hand, or “soak the rich” on the other needs to be answered.

A company which makes hundreds of millions/billions in profits from it’s operations in a country should be paying a reasonable amount of tax on that profit to the authorities in that country.

And if it’s an administrative company, with an operating company in a second country, and a parent company in a third?

Let’s not hide behind what the EU allows

If we’re talking about what will happen, rather than what ought to happen in an ideal world, where companies are motivated not by profits for shareholders but in maximising social wellbeing, then what the law is does rather matter. Both tax and law are about details, not about grand over-arching theories of fairness.

Both tax and law are about details, not about grand over-arching theories of fairness.

And therein lies the problem with ‘progressive’ ideals…

At least socialism is about details.

Imagine a force he would make with Abbott from Cambridge?

38

“And if it’s an administrative company, with an operating company in a second country, and a parent company in a third?”

OK, Acme makes £1billion profit. It is based for tax purposes in let us say Ireland, where it has a man, a dog and a post office box number. The parent company is based in the UK, and most of the profit is generated in the UK (altho obviously Acme are none too keen on telling you dear HMCR how much).

I don’t much care on what basis this company is made to pay a reasonable amount of that £1billion toward the public good…. but I DO expect it to make such a payment.

Idealist that I am I DO expect companies to act in a way which is socially responsible, not simply maximise profits or returns for their shareholders. Of course they aren’t going to volunteer to do it: it’s only natural that they will reduce their exposure as much as possible, using any (hopefully) legal avoidance measures they can.

I’m just not convinced you see that Acme will in fact pass on the benefit of the tax it avoids to the public in lower prices, ..altho I bet a decent chunk will go on big fat bonuses, marble fountains in the atrium of their HQ, as well as increasinf shareholder dividends and being an “indirect” boost to the economy and grandma’s pension pot etc.

The rich, as always seems to be the way, will benefit disproportionately…. the rest of us will of course be expected to await the “trickle down” of all that lovely money they have managed to keep to themselves and invest on our behalf….

Please explain why it is fair that someone people are effectively born billionaires and others are born into extreme poverty

It isn’t fair. Neither is it fair that some people are born ugly, others beautiful, some tall, some short-arsed, some brainy, others dim-witted, some live to be 100, some die at 40, some win the lottery on their first play, others never win even a pub raffle. Life isn’t fair. That’s a lesson adults are supposed to have learned by the time they grow up. Get over it, you’ll be much happier in your life if you do.

42

Ah yes, the “life isn’t fair, get over it” defence.

Very convincing. Let them eat cake indeed….much easier on the conscience to just insist life is like that, and nothing can be done and it’s stupid to try.

No doubt you’ll do very well in the Big Society; or at least since you are superior enough to have learned your lesson (or perhaps are just supine enough to have accepted your place) at least you’ll be happy.

I’m alright Jack. I accepted my place. What an epitaph.

44. Chaise Guevara

“It isn’t fair. Neither is it fair that some people are born ugly, others beautiful, some tall, some short-arsed, some brainy, others dim-witted, some live to be 100, some die at 40, some win the lottery on their first play, others never win even a pub raffle. Life isn’t fair.”

You agree that life isn’t fair? Then why are you opposed to people wanting something to do something about it? You seem to think that just because this is how life is, that’s the right way for it to be. Why is that?

“That’s a lesson adults are supposed to have learned by the time they grow up. Get over it, you’ll be much happier in your life if you do.”

If I and others like me are as strong-minded as you and manage to get over the suffering of others, some of those others are going to suffer a lot more.

45. Chaise Guevara

“I’m alright Jack. I accepted my place. What an epitaph.”

The saddest thing is that a lot of these people would probably happily have that written that on their tombstone. It’s ok to be a selfish bastard as long as you’re aggressively proud of it.

It is unfortunate that Private Eye doesn’t put its content online otherwise I could link to their reporting – which has been going on for months – on the Vodaphone story. Vadaphone are bang-to-rights and so is HMRC.

The conduct is absolutely and clearly criminal.

You agree that life isn’t fair? Then why are you opposed to people wanting something to do something about it?

Because very often, not always but very often, their efforts make it even less fair.

The saddest thing is that a lot of these people would probably happily have that written that on their tombstone. It’s ok to be a selfish bastard as long as you’re aggressively proud of it.

You would seem to typify the noxious progressive type who imagines himself morally superior because he loudly thumps the tub against so-called injustices, and accuses those who take a calmer, more philosophical view of being “selfish bastards”. You should realize that your moral worth is entirely derived from your own actions and not from the right-on attitudes you strike and the political campaigns you spout support for. (On that note it’s interesting that studies have shown conservative Americans being more generous donors to charity than liberals.)

47

Even if it is true that conservatives give more to charity than liberals (I’d like to see how they defined the terms; like so much in life polling results tend to be skewed by the way you ask the question), that may only prove that they have more disposable income, or perhaps a better developed sense of guilt at having managed to climb high on the hog.

I think people can draw their own conclusions about your moral worth from your earlier posts. What you call “a calmer, more philosophical view of being “selfish bastards” ” looks an awful lot like a soi distant resignation and a feeling that people ought to just get on their bikes. I’d take Chaise Guevara’s outlook over yours any day.

Re post 5:

“be honest, Sunny. If your granny gave you power of attorney over her affairs and asked you to manage her life savings, pension etc., would you go out of your way to pay taxes you didn’t need to pay, or would you feel an obligation to maximize your grandmother’s income to the full extent the law allows?”

Jay, you’re missing the point in this Vodafone case. They’ve been let off as much as £6bn in tax by HMRC. They do actually need to pay this, it’s just that they’ve been (wrongly) let off.

“The Vodafone tax deal largely benefits people like your granny. And mine. So, lay off will you?”

No it doesn’t. With Vodafone paying less in tax it means that public services are cut more, like the police for example. Perhaps you should remember that the next time she mentions her fear of crime.

======================================

Re post 22:

“Enough back-slapping. Most people see this as a rather childish, pointless and stupid protest. Your self congratulation is risible.”

“Most people”? How many people have you asked exactly? Let’s be clear here: this is merely your opinion. I see this as a mature protest designed to get tax-dodging corporations to pay their fair share of tax.

I take it that you’re willing to pay more in tax as a member of the public than you would otherwise have to to make up for Vodafone’s tax dodging?

======================================

Re post 24:

“If the former Mannesmann mobile phone network were still owned by a German company, we wouldn’t be able to charge a penny on tax for it”

You realise don’t you that this works both ways? Corporations in other countries will be in the opposite position.

“The British tax system, because we’ve inherited a bunch of successful MNCs primarily from our colonial past, taxes profits made overseas just as highly as profits made domestically”

Oh come on, our colonial past is a long way behind us. Precisely how is Vodafone’s size down to our colonial past? Anyway, that whole sentence of yours is untrue, which is the issue here.

======================================

Re post 28:

” “Someones got more than me Not fair! Waaaa!”

Leftists = Children.”

The above is just lazy abuse.

======================================

Re post 30:

“Because freedom of establishment is one of the foundation stones of the European Union. It is existing British tax rules, that were put in place precisely to avoid this situation, that have been found largely incompatible with EU law. There really is only one way to square that particular circle.”

You must have missed the Private Eye paragraph I quoted on the tax avoidance activism thread. In short, you’re wrong over this issue. HMRC’s guidance notes are against what Vodafone did. They were simply (wrongly) let off by HMRC’s head, who should be sacked for giving away billions of pounds of taxpayers money.

======================================

Re post 34:

“The reason that this is no longer the case is because it conflicts with EU law. That’s about as uncontroversial a statement of the facts as it’s possible to give.”

It’s not a statement of the facts, it’s just wrong. What would it take for you to accept that?

Here is the Private Eye paragraph I mention above:

———-
Vodafone also told the Eye that HMRC “concurred” with it that a 2007 European Court decision (involving Cadbury) meant that “we clearly had no future liability”. Yet HMRC’s own official guidance notes in response to that case, based on expert legal advice, show that where income is diverted to a tax haven in precisely the way Vodafone did it, “no application [that the profits won’t be taxed] is likely to be granted”.
———-

You mentioned in post 96 on that other long thread about Vodafone that Cadbury wasn’t mentioned in the article; well as you can see above, in this article they are mentioned. You said in that post: “Private Eye can say what it likes about the revenues and profits of the Luxembourg sub. Thanks to Cadbury Schweppes, which I note is not mentioned in the article, it is extremely hard for HMRC to enforce its CFC rules in any EU subsidiary.” Clearly, based on expert legal advice as Private Eye say, that’s not actually the case.

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back&issue=1275

======================================

Re post 35:

“Bah. Can everyone post-45, right or left, try engaging with the fact that we’re talking about *ACTIVITIES THAT DIDN’T TAKE PLACE IN THE UK*?”

It goes both ways.

======================================

Re post 42:

“It isn’t fair. Neither is it fair that some people are born ugly, others beautiful, some tall, some short-arsed, some brainy, others dim-witted, some live to be 100, some die at 40, some win the lottery on their first play, others never win even a pub raffle. Life isn’t fair. That’s a lesson adults are supposed to have learned by the time they grow up. Get over it, you’ll be much happier in your life if you do.”

Just because you can’t do anything about some things in life doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do anything about unfair aspects of life which you can do something about.

50. Chaise Guevara

@ 47 Scooby

“Because very often, not always but very often, their efforts make it even less fair. ”

A minute ago, your attitude was “life’s not fair, deal with it.” Once challenged on that, you’re suddenly in favour of fairness (giving the lie to the entire of your previous post) but concerned that in trying to create it we will in fact make matters worse. That’s some pretty heavy goalposting shifting, kid. Actually the words “backpedalling” and “lying” would be even more appropriate.

“You would seem to typify the noxious progressive type who imagines himself morally superior because he loudly thumps the tub against so-called injustices, and accuses those who take a calmer, more philosophical view of being “selfish bastards”. You should realize that your moral worth is entirely derived from your own actions and not from the right-on attitudes you strike and the political campaigns you spout support for.”

I consider my morals – the values I support – superior to yours, yes, because you seem to take active pleasure in being an unpleasant human being and I don’t. That’s not the same thing as my moral worth, which would refer to how much effort I’ve put into being moral by my own lights. And why are you now talking about “so-called injustices?” You agree that injustice exists, you just don’t care about it. Well, until your u-turn at post 47 at least.

“(On that note it’s interesting that studies have shown conservative Americans being more generous donors to charity than liberals.)”

Even if that’s true and the studies are reliable, I find it interesting that you’ve picked an American demographic to use on a British site. Did UK and global data not support your prejudices? I’d also be interested in knowing how “charity” is defined here, because as far as I’m concerned donating money to churches to buy your way into heaven doesn’t count as generosity.

51. Chaise Guevara

@48

*Doffs cap*

A minute ago, your attitude was “life’s not fair, deal with it.” Once challenged on that, you’re suddenly in favour of fairness

Of course I am in favour of fairness, but it’s clear that fairness can only rarely be achieved without creating unfairness elsewhere. Consquently many attempts to achieve fairness will backfire and make a situation worse. Is that so hard to understand?

I consider my morals – the values I support – superior to yours, yes, because you seem to take active pleasure in being an unpleasant human being and I don’t.

The only evidence you have that I am “an unpleasant human being” is that I disagree with you about the merits of counterproductively pursuing fairness. To my way of thinking, not agreeing with you doesn’t make me unpleasant at all. But someone like you who imagines himself a better human being than others, and fantasizes about them being dead and defacing their tombstones, is very much “an unpleasant human being”. Are you so intolerant of differing views in real life or is it just that the Internet brings out the worst in you?

Even if that’s true and the studies are reliable, I find it interesting that you’ve picked an American demographic to use on a British site. Did UK and global data not support your prejudices? I’d also be interested in knowing how “charity” is defined here, because as far as I’m concerned donating money to churches to buy your way into heaven doesn’t count as generosity.

Who Really Cares? Feel free to go find the answers to your questions and I look forward to you reporting back on them.

A good example of the point I am making to Mr “Guevara” is here.

54. Chaise Guevara

“Of course I am in favour of fairness, but it’s clear that fairness can only rarely be achieved without creating unfairness elsewhere. Consquently many attempts to achieve fairness will backfire and make a situation worse. Is that so hard to understand?”

No, but it’s inaccurate. The only way that the above would be true would be if it were unfair to remove someone’s already unfair advantage. It is difficult to help people, en masse, without harming others, but that’s not the same thing at all.

“The only evidence you have that I am “an unpleasant human being” is that I disagree with you about the merits of counterproductively pursuing fairness.”

Wrong! Here’s my evidence: “Life isn’t fair. That’s a lesson adults are supposed to have learned by the time they grow up. Get over it, you’ll be much happier in your life if you do.” If that’s your attitude towards socio-economic injustice, you are not a nice person. Politically at least: you could be decency itself to the people you know personally.

“To my way of thinking, not agreeing with you doesn’t make me unpleasant at all. But someone like you who imagines himself a better human being than others, and fantasizes about them being dead and defacing their tombstones, is very much “an unpleasant human being”. ”

Um… where the fuck did that come from? Fantasising about killing people and defacing tombstones? Are you high?

“Are you so intolerant of differing views in real life or is it just that the Internet brings out the worst in you?”

I am tolerant of differing views, actually. I just tend to be less than courteous when someone decides to say things like “That’s a lesson adults are supposed to have learned by the time they grow up” and “You would seem to typify the noxious progressive type”. You’re the one who started the mud-slinging because (wait for it) YOU didn’t like MY opinions, so don’t be surprised when someone throws it back.

“Who Really Cares? Feel free to go find the answers to your questions and I look forward to you reporting back on them.”

I see. You don’t have any evidence, but I’m expected to go find it, possibly by paying £12 for a book I don’t want. I’m not doing your research for you, especially as your response makes it sound pretty likely that you just made it up.

55. Chaise Guevara

“A good example of the point I am making to Mr “Guevara” is here.”

Wow, a right-winger who was nice to people. Yeah, that’s the same as proving that conservative give more to charity than liberals when all variables are accounted for. Well done.

@2 (and anyone else asserting that Costello is in any way privileged)

He went to a comprehensive (my school, incidentally) and lived in Lewisham, a fairly typical South London borough. All that information is widely available. Do some research next time.


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