Saturday, 7 April 2012

The really taxing questions for Boris Johnson

It is very difficult to feel sympathy for Ken Livingstone, so I don't.  He only has himself to blame for getting himself up the proverbial creek regarding the kind of perfectly-acceptable Tory tax avoidance technique he adopted, with a lifetime's experience of the spittle-drenched phobia of the "Evening Standard" and the right-wing media.  The fact that it was all entirely legal if of somewhat ethically dubious does not make him any less idiotic.

However, there are a number of salient points that you won't read in the idolising of the Bouffant Buffoon's sanctity and rectitude:
  • Ken was not actually in power as an elected Mayor of Greater London when he adopted the technique of paying himself through a company.  He was not therefore paying 50p tax on his basic income, as the Mayor would be.
  • Boris, on the other hand, earned MORE from extra-curricular activities as Mayor than he did from the public purse for carrying out duties that the more trusting amongst us might have regarded as a full-time job.  
  • If re-elected, Boris only pledged that all his future earnings from the Mayorality would be taxed through the normal pay-as-you-earn system (most employees' normal option).  He was clear that his "journalism" and his other activities would continue to be channelled through the most tax-efficient means.
Boris is, as with every example of the parasitic hypocrites of the Mockney Bullingdon Tories, trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds (I'm sure he'd appreciate the beagling analogy).   When Gideon gets out his big mouth to suggest that all Ministers would be happy to have their personal tax returns published he meant just that - not the front companies, the trusts and the hamperings of avoidance that a good accountant could come up with.  So he will connive with Boris's sophistry and rank hypocrisy.

Livingstone stands accused of avoidance - but not avoiding paying tax on income provided by the public sector (after all, Boris is an employee of the state).

Boris should stand accused of dereliction of duty; or, if taking home £300,000 per annum on top of an already-bloated Mayoral salary does not indicate a lack of attention to his responsibilities, should announce he will do the job for nothing if re-elected.  But the Tories attitude is that snouts in the trough are acceptable if they're attached to Bullingdon pigs. 

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