BBC licence-payers making the rich even richer, and begging a convicted tax evader to headquarter in Britain?
We shall go gathering nuts in May. Is the BBC’s job now one of corporate PR to help the 3% become the 1%? Do we really want a rotten Apple evading our taxes rather than those of Ireland? What is a Nunslut? Who is Derek Sawdust? All is revealed in this morning’s episode of Fool Britannia.
ITC Travel, a supplier of made-to-measure holidays for the very rich, has been sold to private equity firm NorthEdge in a deal worth £30m to the shareholders. Growth there, it seems, has been phenomenal. And being featured in a long-running BBC documentary last year can’t have done the business any harm.
This isn’t me BBC-knocking, by the way – there’s enough manipulators with ulterior motives out there just gagging to install Newscorp once our independent broadcaster has been brought to its knees. (Cue lots of threads about BBC bias….from both Left and Right, oddly enough.)
It’s just that these events struck me as ironic. We pay a licence fee to the BBC, and under its less than squeaky clean Board of Governors (dutifully crowd-sourced by the Conservative Party) it runs corporate PR shows thinly disguised as documentaries about how the 3% live. This then makes those who suck up to the 3% £30m richer….and they used our TV taxes to do it.
It seemed to me to sum up the heads-they-win-tails-we-lose nature of life in Cruel Britannia today. Last year, the Daily Telegraph was caught taking money in return for writing nice things about HSBC; now HSBC keeps the BBC on a short leash, and we pay for the station to broadcast nice things about ITC Travel.
Staying with this theme, the alacrity with which the Mayflower crew immediately sent their knickers over to Apple for sniffing last night shocked even me. There’s brazen upfront come and get it, and there’s whoring. The UK Government is now whoring. Ireland (under EU pressure) hits Apple with an €11 billion tax bill, and so our first move is not to condemn Big A – whose global tax evasion is notorious – but to wave our buttocks from across the Irish Sea.
I wrote a piece last year (in response to yet another Osborne Budget-drivelling session about “getting tough on tax evasion”) to opine that Britain is now really one up from a tax haven: we are a make-nothing economy appealing alongside the likes of Luxembourg for companies to HQ here….promising in return that we’ll look the other way while their tax accountants fleece an already struggling nation State.
Theresa May? Theresa Will – she’s got the time dearie, if you’ve got the money. I can see her now, dressed in dayglo shoes and not a lot else, marching with the sisters to demand her feminist right to be a slut and a Nun at one and the same time. Theresa Nunslut: yes, there’s a ghastly onomatopoeia to it. Like something slithering up from the plughole in a bad horror movie. Nuuuunsssseeer lutt. Nooonssllllutetetete. The sort of word Eddie Waring used to love getting his laughing tackle around. Uuuuuooonslett. And Wakeafeeyerld Treeneteee.
When I scan the media sites, spot this sort of grubby bottom-feeding – and then five minutes later hear a politician on telly utter the phrases “there’s no money left for these ludicrously generous pensions” and “we must be open for business” – I just want to go for a long walk really. There was a time when I used to yell at the screen (bit pointless) and put a poker through it. Long walks are better. And cheaper.
To solid Tory supporter Derek Sawdust of Acacia Avenue Wilmslow (left) of course, it’s this sort of Common Sense that gets him out to the polling booth every five years. This is because Dek (as he was known when younger) failed GCSE Sums and thus can’t get the sawdust in his head round the reality that finding a penny in the street is not the answer to an imminent visit from the bailiff.
He doesn’t see it as a gesture aimed at the Sawdust electoral segment – a sign of getting tough with muggers by battering grannies to death. He sees it as The Only Alternative. Because Derek is very, very dense. If you look closely, that stuff you can see on his Golf Club jacket isn’t dandruff. It’s sawdust, leaking slowly from his ears. One day, Derek’s brain will be empty and his head will implode. It’s very unlikely that he’ll notice.
The universal truth about contemporary soundbites is that they make only the sound of biting the nose off to spite the face. “There’s no money left” begs the obvious question “Why?”, but it’s not one the political class ever wants to answer. “We must show we are open for business” always earns the riposte from me, “Fine, but let’s turn down the catering for Al Capone’s wedding, eh?”
There will be plenty of money left at the Exchequer if the SS Mayflower alters its priorities as a Government. To use the technical accountancy jargon for a second, it is a piece of piss if you have an IQ in double figures. It requires just three things:
- Hit every medium large to large company with a tax bill commensurate with the one being paid by ordinary citizens. It would turn Phil Hammond’s office into a place flowing with silk and money within two years
- Leave the populace with enough in their pockets from salaries and pensions to consumein a manner that can effect a genuine recovery
- Invest in training skills and tax breaks for small entrepreneurs to help restore the balance away from financialised to real capitalism.
To use Churchill’s phrase, this would only be the end of the beginning. For twenty years now, the British people have been hoodwinked into believing that an economy making nothing to earn export monies – and growing no food for itself – is the future in a “post-manufacturing” world. That is complete piffle, and up there with trickle-down wealth as one of Derek Sawdust’s favourite mantras.
The Mayflower crew have no more idea how to achieve that shift in balance than Camerlot did – or Broon and Blairbust before that. Believe me, opening our tax legs to every corporate tax evader ain’t gonna do it – and nor will an economy built on selling lovely lovely fizzy Bolly billionaire holidays. Down that road lies nuclear power stations built by Zimbabwe – employing safety measures designed by the Chernobyl office of General Electric.
And the sad truth too is that the Corbynites have even less idea. But that is in the nature of contemporary “democracy”. Across the Pond, the American people get to choose between a depraved vulture in dove’s clothing, and an infantile huckster who wants to make America great again by building walls. Here in the UK, the offering consists of a leftover marcher still asking for directions to Aldermaston, and a Nunslut with the convictions of a Blair and the consistency of a Cameron.
I find myself edging towards the brickie and the CND beatnik. God help me please – because sure as Hell, the system isn’t going to.