Archive for December 7th, 2009

Colin Samuels is a good friend and occasional co-blogger.  Colin has also won four of the last four annual Blawg Review awards and he may well be on course to win again with his latest Blawg Review #241 themed on President Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech following Pearl Harbour.

Blawg Review #241 is erudite, beautifully written and structured and full of useful links to bloggers commenting on the issues of our times in the past week. Excellent. A must read – it is fairly long, but you can take it in stages.

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Tax and taxing times ahead…

David Cameron states that Lord Ashcroft’s tax affairs are nothing to do with him and are a matter for Lord Ashcroft and HM Revenue and Customs. The Independent notes: “The Tory leader insisted that Lord Ashcroft’s tax affairs are a private matter. But a different rule is now applied by Mr Cameron to Conservative MPs and parliamentary candidates. Anyone who wants a Tory seat in the House of Commons has to be a UK taxpayer, Mr Cameron said.”

Only last week, David Cameron faced  embarrassment when it was revealed that prospective parliamentary candidate Zac Goldsmith was a non-dom for tax purposes – a state of affairs now reversed and backdated for the year. The Independent continues: “The House of Lords Appointments Commission says that it does not know whether Lord Ashcroft is UK resident. The Cabinet Office and HM Customs and Revenue have declined to answer questions about his status, on grounds of privacy. Last week, the Conservative Party chairman, Eric Pickles, suggested that Lord Ashcroft is prepared to break his silence on the issue, and would be “happy” to be interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss his tax status.”

Clear unequivocal and very public statements. It would be a rather curious state of affairs when a British peer who happens also to be Deputy Chairman of the Conservatives had tax irregularities?  If it transpires that Lord Ashcroft is not paying UK taxes it would be a rather curious state of affairs if he was allowed to retain a position of influence and power at Tory HQ?

A wonderful story in the Times this morning: Dubai World’s founding document shows UK banks were wrong to think emirate would guarantee loans

British banks, which could lose billions of dollars after lending money to Dubai World, were under the false impression that the debt would be guaranteed by the Dubai Government when they made the loans. The Times has obtained a copy of the law that created Dubai World and it clearly states that the Gulf emirate will not back the state-owned company’s debts. It would appear that the Banks may have relied on the ‘honour concept’ under which much business is done in the Gulf. Unfortunately, the wording in the document is coming back to haunt all those clever bankers who, apparently, may not even have had the time to read the document so keen were they to rush in and lend. I agree with one of the commenters on the Times website – I  think we should give the bankers  another bonus. It beggars belief… as I was rather hoping I would be able to say this morning.

And finally – bad news for rich people and the middle classes

The Independent says that times are hard and everyone’s disposable income is going down. I’m going to spend a bit of time looking into how the International Monetary Fund works…. may as well get ahead of the game.

Fortunately, I have not made it onto the front page of Vogue – the pic comes from my brief appearance as ‘Judge Charon’ on GUYNEWS’ at the weekend – I shall now have to come up with some other new ideas to keep myself occupied and amused over the long Christmas Season as Britain shuts down for the annual binge drinking, binge eating and mammon fest.

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