What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

Archive for the tag “Bob Diamond”

BORIS BALLS

Once again Boris and his ardent admirers in blogland have been up to their latest trick, in between watching Midsomer Murders and Top Gear…

Tory Mayor Boris, who’s dedicated support for his old mucker Toby Young has helped lead to Iranian dissidents having to apply to the Iranian Embassy for help (rather as if we had directed Russian emigres to the Soviet Embassy), has been up to his old tricks again, first of all claiming an increase in Police numbers for 2012, and then shutting up anyone who reminds us of the reduction in Police taking place since the 2009.

His fansites (all, of course, totally independent) are pressing his case, as eagerly as a gold-digger spying a rich widow presses his suit.

Yet his own Budget for 2011/12 talks of reducing Policer Officers from 32,481 now to 31,800 in 2014. To most people this is a simple subtraction sum, producing a figure of 681 Policemen less. But then again, most of us never had the benefit of an Oxford Classics education.

Todays vote on London’s Budget will see 100 Sergeants removed from Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

No wonder AM John Briggs castigated bluffer Boris on his mendacity (look it up, I did).

Yet de Pfeffel Johnson has not been idle on our behalf. It has come to light that in the twelve months between October 2009 and October 2010, our Mayor held 3 Press Conferences, 8 public meetings with Londoners, 22 meetings with Police Chiefs, and 31 with Government Ministers.

He also spent 35 meetings with denizens of the Square Mile – thats near enough  three a month!!!

But it wasn’t all work no play, here are a few examples from his published diary –

13/10/09      Fortune Forum Dinner

21/10/09      Meeting with Govenor of The Bank of Qatar (will this chap be needing asylum soon?)

04/12/09     Goldman Sachs Breakfast

19/12/09      Banking Industry Lunch ( AKA happy Christmas – you’re fired, we’re not)

27/10/10     Dinner with Bob Diamond (anyone else present?)

REMINDER – the City of London already has its own Lord Mayor – Boris is supposed to work for the rest of us.

No doubt his groupies will whine on about Mr Livingstone and Press TV – they are still repeating their “totally independent” yet strangely uniform line on this one, whilst forgetting to mention the other ex-Press TV employees, such as Boris backer Nick Ferrari, and Telegraph journo Andrew Gilligan…

Strange and sad to relate that Londoners are used to this kind of guff by now, and utterly fed-up with it.

I do hope to see Anne, Angie and Tory Aardvark et al putting their hands in their pockets to help out the abandoned Iranian Dissidents and Afghani Refugees that Boris’ Tory chums in Hammersmith have thrown to the dogs. Big Society eh?




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Death And Taxes – Part One…

It used to be said that you could avoid everything in life except these two constants. Since Margaret Thatcher came to power however, the situation has become a little different…

In the 32 years since Margaret Thatcher came to power, and more spectacularly since the “Big Bang” in The City in 1987, what was once a shady corner of Finance has become a major activity worldwide – “Tax Optimisation”, or Tax Avoidance to you and me.

Simply put, the rich and big businesses, whether Barclays Bank, TopShop or Tesco use legal loopholes and financial skulduggery to avoid paying taxes that you or I cannot avoid. If you run a small business, or manage an outlet for a large company, please be warned that the following may lead you to never voting Tory again…

Historically, the Thatcher/Lawson years were a watershed, with the burden of taxation moved from  progressive Income Tax with more paid the more you earn to consumption-based taxes such as VAT, which had its scope moved from” luxury” goods to more and more of the basics of life. Now taxes on consumption may not always be a bad thing, but as a proportion of income, they hit those on middle and poorer incomes at a greater rate than they do the rich. Simply put, you can only consume so much. By 1987, according to statistics released by The Treasury, the burden of taxation was exactly the same as it had been in 1979 – 33%, but it had been shifted down to the lower earning brackets.

It took John Majors’ Government to further reduce the Income Tax bands, so that the higher rate of tax was only 40%. Even under Lawson, there had been a marginal rate of 60% for the very rich corporation tax was also lowered throughout the period, to make Britain a “haven for foreign investment”, along with plenty of our money paid as sweeteners to multinationals to come here. And there it has stayed. One of the major failures of New Labour was its insistence on following Conservative economic policies that hurt those in the middle and below, whilst fawning over those in clover. For all the good done over the past thirteen years reducing Child Poverty, refunding the NHS and Education, our party could, and should have done more.

One of the worst areas of inaction was over closing tax loopholes used by the wealthy to avoid even low rates of tax. So in awe of the rich were Blair, Brown and Mandleson, that they gave peerages to people such as Fred Goodwin, then Head of RBS, Philip Green at TopShop and their international guru, Alan Greenspan.

The international super-rich flocked to Mayfair, Kensington and Chelsea, much to the chagrin of the merely very rich City types, who moaned loudly that they could now “only” afford to live in Richmond or Barnes; oh how we did not weep for them. But in spite of  everything done for them, they wanted more. The Billionaires from India, Russia, and China had moved here because their “non-dom” status meant that they could pay almost no tax whatsoever, and homegrown tycoons followed suit. as Robert Peston mentioned in his book about the crash, TopShops boss, Sir Philip Green gets his salary paid to his wife, who for tax purposes is based in Monaco. He is not alone. More worryingly, he is an advisor to the present Government on Business Affairs. This is not just an economic outlook, but also a moral one, as ex-City millionaire David Laws, who was sacked for fiddling £40,000 out of the public purse last year, looks set to rejoin the Government in some position this April.

Yet the Government is unlikely to do much without outside pressure, as a Cabinet with a high proportion of ex-City types, such as Chris Huhne, and sons of stockbrokers such as David Cameron make all the right noises to placate the rich, whilst telling us that “we are all in this together”. Recently it came to light that since 2005, donations to the Tory Party from City sources had reached over fifty percent of its total funding – many from the very hedge fund managers who got us in this mess whilst avoiding taxes here. In January, at the annual Black and White party ( they daren’t call it a ball anymore), secure in Battersea Park, City Internships were auctioned-off to the highest bidder, in aid off Tory Party funds. Perhaps this is the “Big Society”? A short walk away are some of the roughest and most deprived estates in London.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was also in attendance, and as many have noted, has spent much of the past year or so loudly protesting that we must stop “bashing Bankers” over the billions of our money we had to throw at them to save the system. Let us not forget that in 2009 he publicly decried his £250,000 per year stipend from The Daily Telegraph as mere “chickenfeed”. It seems we have not a Mayor for all of London, but TWO Lord Mayors of The City of London…

(Part Two to follow soon…)

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