Monday, 27 September 2010


Our last story featured two men who have given a reasonable amount of money from their salaries to charity. Yes, they could afford to do it, but they most certainly didn’t have to. Their acts not only have benefited the charities that they favoured, but will have put pressure on other people in the Edinburgh scene to copy their acts of generosity.

Then there is “Lord” Ashcroft.

He was given a seat in the House of Lords, in the parliament of the UK, in 2000 after agreeing that he would live here and pay tax on his worldwide income. He gave his word to that effect to William Hague, the then leader of the Opposition, who boasted that Ashcroft's decision would benefit the Treasury to the tune of tens of millions of pounds a year.

However, 10 years later, Mr Ashcroft admitted that he had lied to his friend and had, in fact, never bothered to fulfil the conditions of his peerage, safe in the knowledge that, once given, a life peerage cannot be revoked.

Some friend! His actions, or rather inaction, has caused doubt to be cast on the judgement of Hague, who accepted him at his word and did not bother to check that these tens of millions were pouring into the Treasury coffers.

On April 6 of this year, as a result of the revelations in the Daily Telegraph and Times about the criminal activities and near-the-knuckle goings on in “their Lordships’ House”, Labour brought in a new law forcing Lords to pay tax on their worldwide income and assets.

So..... on April 5 of this year "His Nobleness" did what any money grubbing, second rate tightwad would do. He transferred ownership of his main UK company to a trust for the benefit of his children, who otherwise, of course, would be penniless when he died, thus saving the Treasury the bother of collecting millions in tax.

Interestingly, a month before the new law took effect Ashcroft said that he agreed with the new tax rules for the House of Lords. He left out that he didn’t agree with them for himself... only for other lesser lords.

None of this has strictly been illegal. Certainly, putting your money into a Trust so the Treasury can’t get their greedy hands on it, is perfectly legal. Many people have done it, including famously the Wintertons, so that they could avoid tax and continue to receive rent payments on an apartment they now owned (because we had paid the mortgage for them). It’s greedy, it’s despicable and it’s tax avoidance, which the government is pledged to reduce, but it’s legal.

The earlier stuff about lying to the leader of the Opposition in order to have him recommend you for a peerage is also probably not illegal. Ashcroft did some sort of a deal with the Treasury behind Hague’s back so he covered himself there. Our man is far too smart to actually break the law.

But doesn’t it contrast sharply with the previous story of decent men?

No wonder he is set to stand down as deputy chairman of the Tory party. He is not a credit to them, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Cameron had put his foot under the ignoble lord’s fat backside.

BBC’s Panorama, tonight at 8.30 is entitled “Lord Ashcroft’s Millions”. It should be worth an hour of our lives.


  1. Nice, selective work there Buddy. Naturally The BBC are just so unbelievably neutral and fair to all. H'm.

  2. Dean will be sharpening his quill as we speak!

  3. Fair dos OR, I will add that when he dies.... he has pledged to leave £900 million to a charitable trust that will bear his name.

    (Of course he did pledge to pay tax to the UK government and he didn't do that!)

    Maybe's he is not all bad, but he didn't half let his mate Willie down, and fiddling your taxes so that you will have more to leave to charity is a little less disgusting than that stealing for yourself, but...

    ...How would it be if you or I said we wouldn't bother paying any tax and then when we died we could leave it all to charity?

    How would it be if we all did it?

    I can't get over the fact that he (and several others) have seats in the House of Lords but don't pay the taxes they are due to the country that they has legislative power in.

    But I agree the BBC is very baised... although, I would have to say, less so now that they are busily creeping to the Toriberals so that they can keep their ridiculous licence fee. :)

  4. I'm just waiting for it Brownlie..... It was an anti-Tory rant of the highest order. I shall suffer... ;)

  5. Tris, If you had his money, and his knowledge and his advice would you do different.

    If the money is not earned in the UK.............why pay UK tax on it because thats wehre you are born.

    If it was me I would not pay tax on it especially when we have just had 13 years or being arse fucked by IMHO a bigger group of thieving bastards in the New LAbour Party and the complete financial debarcle that they ruled over and now I have to pay for AGAIN!!!!!!!

  6. As far as I'm concerned if Lord A wants to keep all his money that's fine. He should bog off back to Belmopan. pay tax over there and see if he can't inveigle his way in the Belize Parliament. What sticks in the craw is that he promised his very great friend (and at that time leader of the party he was financially backing) that he would renounce his status as a non-dom if he managed to get a seat in the upper house of this country’s parliament. In the end he decided clearly to get the seat but not fulfil his promise. If Tories don’t think there is anything wrong with that then they are living in la la land. It is difficult to compare it to say the US senate because you need to get elected to that but imagine if you could buy a seat in the US senate so easily with a pile of promises that you don’t keep!

  7. Yes LoTF to be 100% honest with you I wouldn't ever make myself a thief for something I could easily easily afford. I wouldn't pinch a loaf of bread, no matter how easy it would be, because I don't need to. I can easily afford it.

    If I had his billions, I would pay the tax... no more happily than I pay £1.50 for a loaf, but I'd hate to be thought a thief.

    I don’t want to sound “holier than thou”; I'd steal if I were starving and had no money.

    He let his mate down by lying to him that he would stump up if he was raised to the aristocracy. Then when he got it in the bag he stuck his fingers up. No, I wouldn’t do that to a mate either.

    People like him didn't pay the first time round because they were in Belize, buying legislation from teh People's United Party with $1 million. And he won't pay this time, as we can see from above.

    Having fallen out with the Tories, I'd expect him to push off to Belize, where perhaps they are ever less scrupulous than in the UK.

    Not that I have a moment for the Labour Party, whether it be in Scotland or in England, which is the one to which you allude. They are by and large not worth many comments now that they are a powerless bunch of spivs, but you’ll probably remember that when they were in power, and mattered, I was after them at every possibly opportunity.

    Now the Tories are supposedly in charge, along with their little lap dogs, and it’s their turn to take a bit of a pounding, so tough whatsit Ashcroft!!!


  8. Yes Munguin, I think that's about right.

    I'm not sure how many countries have appointed second houses. Not many I suspect although some have a very few appointees in their second chambers. But a second house is still a house of parliament, however unimportant it may seem. He sits there making laws for the country and does his damnedest not to pay what he owes.

    As I said I don’t steal or fiddle when I don’t have to... and may because of that I’m not that well off.

    But at least I can sleep nights.

  9. The only title he deserves is RTP.
    Just heard that the archeway into Scone Palace has been destroyed by a contractors van, hope they are fully insured.

  10. He's in good company though hat tip subrosa.

  11. David Cameron has supported new laws which compell members of the other place to pay tax in the UK. I strongly support this position - pay tax here, then sit in Her Majesty's upper chamber.

    The fact is, the Conservative Party strongly defends the in integrity of our democracy, and DC was among the first to call for action in the light of the expenses scandals.

    However, as for the obvious, cynical and unfounded questioning of William Hague's judgement...sadly this kind of opportunism has become expected.

  12. For heaven's sake Dean, here's how it happened.

    He asks Hague to put him forward for the red benches;

    Hague tells him he'll have to sort out his tax situation first;

    he agrees that he will pay tax in the UK, then does a deal behind Hague's back;

    Hague never checks up on him, he simply accepts his word, and puts him forward for ermine.

    Hague simply accepted his word. He never checked up. You can't do that when you are putting someone forward to sit in parliament. These people have to be above reproach, sitting in parliament without being elected.

    This is not good judgement.

    Sorry Dean, I can't make it anything else. I feel sorry for Hague actually. Thatcher pushed him into this leadership thing far too early. He might have been PM by now if he had waited.

  13. CH: Sarwar, a peer.... pfffffffff. I don't wonder it's been delayed.

    It used to be that the PM and the Foreign Secretary got a peerage, now its every Tom, Dick and Harry. And I'd stress the middle name!

  14. I was reminded CH, reading your link, of the horror of brown's list. He also put up McConnell, Liddle, Reid and that a*s* Dez Browne, that pathetic excuse for a Defence Secretary/Part-Time Scottish secretary, supposedly running two wars and Scotland, when we all know he would be pushed to the limits of his abilities if he didn't have slip-on shoes. They don't have look after themselves. They may not have gone to Eton, but they certainly behave like they did.

    I see that Sarwar has, according to Sarwar, been cleared, by HMRC.... who couldn't clear their collective throats.

    I wonder how much that cost him.