“Dodgy donors, dodgy PM”. That rings a bell. Of course, a deployment of the already successfully tested adjective used to describe Tony Blair’s file on Saddam’s WMD, based on faked evidence and sold to the British public as a reason for starting a war that we’re still fighting 12 years later.
The “Dodgy Dossier” had its anniversary just two weeks ago – doubtless why it has been preying on the minds of Labour. Miliband should probably have been more careful in the dodgy deployment of that phrase before triggering our Pavlovian recall mechanisms, even without the inevitable blowback on his own party’s donors.
And while we’re on the subject of tax avoidance, which is actually not a criminal activity or in any way against the law, this idea that we are all doing it is actually true, of course.
In the front line are the millions of “rich” people who put their life savings into a legitimate tax avoidance schemes such as ISAs and the historic TESSAs, PEPs and the government’s own NISAs, run under Labour and Tory governments.
And what about the self-employed tens of millions who claim back VAT as legitimate tax avoidance? If you lease a vehicle and are VAT registered you can reclaim 50% of the VAT you are charged. I am not self-employed but everyone I have ever met who is uses the VAT exemption in a myriad of ways, both legitimate and not exactly legal, to avoid paying tax. And what about the window cleaner, the plumber and the handyman who pops round to do the odd job? You give him cash without a receipt to save both of you money. Tax avoidance? I should say so. But far more illegal and far more widespread than Mr Fink’s trust fund for his children and the Swiss bank account he obviously needed while working there. There is nothing illegal about a UK citizen having a foreign bank account as you long as they declare the interest for tax purposes in the UK – but of course, in Labour’s twisted logic, the only relevant fact is that they are invariably held by richer people and therefore must be demonized. But there’s little point in listening for breaking glass as Labour chucks boulders round their glass house – the panes are long gone.