"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Sound & Fury Signifying Nothing

...Except, perhaps, the usual stink of hypocrisy as they try to redefine their questioning re Michael Ashcroft's non-domiciled status.  Mandelson called for an Inquiry (we taxpayers to pay, of course) and that's been followed swiftly by outraged howls of 'Unfair, Unfair'  when told it isn't possible because the House of Lords Appointments Commssion didn't exist in 2000 and the matter is therefore outside their remit.
"Lord Ashcroft is bringing the House of Lords into disrepute by continuing to dodge in the way that he is," said Lord Mandelson. 
That's rich coming from Marrakesh Mandy.  I wonder what tax arrangements he's made for his EU earnings and pension?   This report - from 2006 - details his earnings when he was a European Commissioner.  You can't tell me he hasn't done everything possible to keep his own UK tax liability as low as possible.  (A nice bonus for Mandy is the EU's lifelong immunity from prosecution for employees and former employees - but then, no-one ever truly leaves).

And what of Tony Blair who repeatedly blocked changes to the law on non-doms?  "...it only required me to mention it to Tony and very quickly the Treasury were told not to be so silly and drop it. It would have been ultimately counter-productive.”   Perhaps he had an eye to his own future?  I bet Blair's a non-dom - his children have dual Irish/British nationality so it's more than likely.

The following list of non-dom Labour bank-rollers is taken from the Daily Mail:
Since 2001, Labour has accepted more than £10million from eight donors reported to be 'non-doms'.
Lord Paul has given the party £69,250, including £45,000 to Gordon Brown's leadership campaign.  A close friend of the Prime Minister and appointed to the Privy Council last summer, he once declared: 'If there is an election and the money is wanted, whatever I can pay, I will pay.'  Lord Paul was born in India and appears in 88th place on the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated family fortune of £500millon.  He moved to London in the 1960s, taking over the overseas arm of the family's steel business. He and his family own several homes in a prime block near Oxford Street worth a total of £14million.
Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, said to be the third richest man in the world and reportedly a non-dom, has given £4.125million to Labour.
One of the world's leading private equity investors, Sir Ronald Cohen, who has handed Labour £2.55million, has refused to clarify his tax status publicly.
Retired businessman Sir Christopher Ondaatje, who has given £1.7million to Labour, has refused to reveal his tax status but has been reported to be a non-dom.
Sir Gulam Noon, known as the Curry King for selling 1.5million Indian ready-meals a week in Britain, has given £532,826 to Labour, and is also reported to be a non-dom.
Other reported non-dom donors include former hedge fund manager William Bollinger, who has given £510,725, car dealer Mahmoud Khayami, who has given £985,000, and computer tycoon Dr David Potter, who has given £90,000 .

Sheer hypocrisy from a government truly worthy of the epithet: vile and odious. And while all this is going on, what does the EU have in store for us mere mortals?  The following proposals haven't gone away, they've just gone quiet:

A new EU common approach on tax data;
Increasing exchange of taxpayer data;
Immediate access to identity, activity and turnover data;
European Commission to enforce national checks;
The setting up of Eurofisc.

EC plans EU-wide information sharing of UK taxpayers' details

UPDATE: From Guido - a graph demonstrating how much Lords Ashcroft and Paul's attendance at the House of Lords has cost us.  No surprises.

AND 4.30pm:  The Conservatives, in the form of Greg Hands, have put in an FoI request about Lord Paul's entanglements.  Click link for the full letter.

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