Monday 6 December 2010


Tom Harris makes me laugh.

He was on the Today Programme this morning waxing lyrical about how diabolical it was that protesters shut down the “flagship” Topshop store in the London’s Oxford Street because he has a little tax wrinkle which, rather conveniently, involves him not paying any...

Our Tom was puffing and blowing with indignation. It was unjust to target Mr Green who provides jobs for thousands of people and clothes for millions more in his (Tom’s) beloved United Kingdom. If we were to blame anyone for Phil’s tax avoidance it should be the government, and he happily conceded that that mean the Labour government too! (Well he would, I suppose. I’ve wondered why Tom doesn’t cross the floor and join the Tories, and the only answer I can come up with is that they are too left wing for him.) Tom, the government won't begin to listen and you know it. So people either take this action or do what MPs would love them to do, and go back and watch Coronation Street and Brucie and his dancing Widdecombe. Or maybe you think we should picket MPs' houses as we can't protest outside your parliament?

UK Uncut the pressure group organizing the protest that shut Topshop, says that Green, who is a government advisor with the task of helping the government make economies in public services, allegedly avoids tax by having his companies which include Burton, BHS and Dorothy Perkins, registered in Mrs Green’s name. She is Monegasque and pays no tax here (or in Monaco, where the Casinos provide the money to keep the microstate going).

Activists from UK Uncut also picketed other shops from the Green Empire and warned of a list of hundreds of other companies which can expect the same treatment.

Figures vary, but at a conservative estimate tax avoidance and evasion cost the Treasury between £70 and £100 billion a year. If everyone paid their taxes there would be no need for the draconian cuts in public service spending announced by the government. And indeed we might be able to pay our senior citizens a living pension... Huh, fat chance.

The Tories come to power with big plans to wipe out malfeasance at the lower end of the social scale vis a vis benefit cheating and no plans at all for tax cheats. The Liberals have managed to convince them to do a little but at best we shall see up to £7 billion recovered.... A drop in the ocean.

More power to UK Uncut’s elbow. It’s time to stand up for ourselves. I’ll gladly join a protest in Dundee if there are any to be joined.

If anyone has any suggestions as to an appropriate home for Tom Harris’s views, please don’t hesitate to let the rest of us know.

Pics: (1) Tom, who, it seems, doesn’t use Topman himself; (2) Topshop’s no stranger to controversy. This protest in Edinburgh is about the use of “slaves” picking cotton in Uzbekistan for Topshop garments; (3) Saturday’s protest at London’s Oxford Street. Pay your taxes Green, or we’ll shut you down.


  1. "The Tories come to power with big plans to wipe out malfeasance at the lower end of the social scale vis a vis benefit cheating and no plans at all for tax cheats"

    Factually incorrect, bias, total and utter rubbish. Only made in ignorance of real facts.

  2. Evidence of why you are talking total, crap when you allege that the Conservatives came to power without a thought or plan to deal with evasion etc:

    Remember when Osborne said "We will also target tax evasion and off-shore tax havens" [October 6th 2009!] ... well we are doing just that now in government. And continuing the theme of clamping down on evasion. Here was the speech from before the GE when he laid out that original plan:

    Now as we are ingovernment, the theme is continued in ALL major speeches to conference etc, here is Osborne saying:

    "Nor will we tolerate tax evasion.

    It is unacceptable at the best times; it too is morally indefensible in times like these.

    And this party will not stand for it.

    So we will demand that the richest in our society bear their share of the burden.

    And just as we ask the richest to pay their fair share, we must make sure we spend fairly too.

    That means tough choices."

    That is from his Conference speech October 2010:

    Such lies and mince, I expect better Tris.

  3. Trick issue this. If billionaires don't pay their due tax earned in this Country then they are fair game. However, the jobs and tax paid via those jobs is pretty huge.

  4. Oldrightie,

    I think the key words in your comments are "due tax". If the tax is due then it should be paid and the rules or loop-holes, such as the token sum that can be paid by non-dom to avoid the tax due, should be amended or strengthened.


    I'm surprised and shocked by your intemperate language. "Tough choices" are those made by pensioners who have to chose between eat or heat.

  5. Brownlie,

    It is simply untrue to say that the Conservatives didn't have the intention or plans to attack tax evasion and fraud at the 'top end' of the scale.

    Plain fact. Intemperate or not, that is the way it is. Facts are facts, time to put aside this silly mythology about evil tories.

  6. Deano

    If you can point out a good 'Tory' and we will withdraw the evil epithet just one would be a start................

    apart from Sir Julian Critchley who was funny........called thatcher the great she elephant...........

    and one memorable time during an interview with another slimy tory scum MP who was going on about how hard Tory MPs work.who said i work 24/7 for my constituents they are never out of my thoughts.

    To which Julian replied(sarcastically) to the vermin scum Tory MP we are going to have to make you our shop steward with comments like that.......ha ha ha was funnee

  7. Deano

    and through Mr Critchley i learned to appreciate
    A.E. Housman

    A Shropshire lad

    When I was one-and-twenty
    I heard a wise man say,
    "Give crowns and pounds and guineas
    But not your heart away;
    Give pearls away and rubies
    But keep your fancy free."
    But I was one-and-twenty,
    No use to talk to me.

    When I was one-and-twenty
    I heard him say again,
    "The heart out of the bosom
    Was never given in vain;
    'Tis paid with sighs aplenty
    And sold for endless rue."
    And I am two-and-twenty
    And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

  8. Talk is cheap Dean. When the first Billionaire tax evader is doing time in a nice soft prison, then, THEN, I'll believe Call One Dave.

    But I won't hold my breath.

  9. Conan

    Afraid there no more room in the prisons they are full with ex Labour MPs from the last Westminster Parliament or have cells reserved for Labour MPs from the present one.

  10. Dean can we have a steer to the part of the Tory manifesto where more details than the: "We will also target tax evasion and off-shore tax havens" that appearsi in that speech are set out?

  11. Hello Guys

    Sorry about not being around to answer all day. I've been scraping snow off cars again, feeding the birds and squirrels and feeling sorry for my poor brother who spent 10 hours stuck in his car on the way to Edinburgh. (I hope he has a strong bladder!)

    Now Dean. Fine words, but you'll agree that what they announced was some arrangement with Liechtenstein to shop anyone who tries to slither off there with our money, and they are opening talks with other tax havens, like the Channel Islands who depend on us for all sorts of things, but hide our rich for the taxman.

    They could solve the problem caused by the super rich who drove the country into ruin, by going after the other super rich (and some of the same super rich) who are not paying much towards the recovery.

    Of course I blame equally the Labour party under multi millionaire Blair and soon to be multi millionaire Brown for doing nothing much about loopholes despite it being a pre 1997 pledge.

    But then pre-election pledges aren’t worth the paper they are signed on are they Mr Clegg? Mr Clarke?

  12. It is a problem. I mean Mr Green were to say... Ok I don’t want to run a business here if I have to pay tax here, so I’m off to... wherever, then I suspect that there would indeed be thousands of jobs lost over the UK.

    But teenagers need clothes and I suppose someone somewhere must buy the stuff they sell in British Home Stores or Dorothy Perkins (what do they sell?)... although I don’t know anyone who ever has... so someone else with a bit of entrepreneurial skills would come along and fill the gap.

    I do see what you mean, but if the only way we can keep people like Mr Green in the country is by excusing him from paying what other people pay; little businessmen who also employ people up and down the country, then, a bit like the idiot BBC people who tell us that they have to be paid silly money because they could get it in the private sector, we should say to them that they should make sure that the door doesn’t hit them in the butt on their way out.

    Where there’s a need it will be filled I think...

  13. Sorry OR... I should have put your initials at the top of that last one.

  14. John:

    I agree. We are forever hearing about the tough choices poor Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg are facing, and we all, I am sure, are just broken hearted on their behalf.

    Just imagine a really poor person in this weather, unable to get out to take a free ride on the bus to keep warm, and hopefully meet someone else they can talk to. An old neighbour of mine used to getting on the bus and go to the concourse of the local hospital and sit there all afternoon with her knitting, using NHS Tayside’s heat. Stuck in the house with the temperature at -7 and a one bar fire on. And no, it’s not some romantic notion. I see it in the ground floor flats in my street every day.

    If I were in government I’d bring tighten avoidance regulations and go after the avoiders and make them pay it all back. Then i could triple the OAPs winter bonus.

  15. Niko: I've never come across Julian Critchley. He sounds a bit of a wag...

    Did he last long with them? Probably didn't call old Thatcher a great she-elephant to her face ... did he?

  16. Thank goodness you raied the tone of the blog with a bit of Houseman, Dean. I'd forgotten that poem.

  17. Conan... That will be why Ken has decided not to bother with the nonsense of prison for knife carriers, as promised in the manifesto (and a popular item it was too). He’ll be freeing up s[pace for all these Liechtenstein tax evaders!!

  18. Indeed Munguin... I feel they were short on the details there, as opposed to what they were going to do with the dole cheats.

    Still, in fairness they probably won't be able to do that either. They don't have enough staff at DWP and the ones that they do have HATE the place with passion.

  19. It's been a long, long time coming, occupations of the likes of Topshop. What a corrupt little empire he's built for himself. Nevermind the tax avoiding, nevermind the rampant consumerism, encouragement of body dismorphia in teenage girls (and, increasingly, boys), what about the human rights abuses in Topshop's factories, the underpaid workers, the sweat blood and death that goes into making your latest trendy, disposable garment that isn't going to last through the winter? And let's not forget, not all these factories in the farflung recesses of what used to be a larger, more corrupt British empire, some of them are in the UK itself! Phil Green should swing in the wind, and I'm not talking about uncertainty when I say that.

  20. Yeah Laz. I alluded to that in the captions.

    I'm afraid that there are a lot of companies that provide our cheap clothes with far from ethical manufacturing processes.

    I think we're going to have to get use to paying a bit more for clothes in the near future

  21. Ah yea, realised that, I always skim the captions, now I feel bad!

    Personally I think clothes should last a while, not be super-expensive dross that falls apart the first time it rains or snows. Then again, I doubt everyone wants to follow my lead and march about in combats/Dickies work trousers. Still, there's something to be said for stuff that favours function over normative aesthetic standards.

  22. Leave poor super-Ken alone, not his fault Labour left him the highest prison population in over 20 years!

  23. oh and according to their own First SoS "there is no money"!!!! SuperKen maybe a hero, but not invincible!

  24. Oh dear Laz... don't feel bad, although the captions are usually better than the text.

    I take it you're not a fashionista then?

    Whatever people's tastes and preferences in clothing, I think everyone has to wake up to teh fact that our cheap clothing (I'm talking Primark style here) is someone else's exploited labour.

    As for the expensive high street fashion stores with clothes that cost the earth and come apart after a couple of wears... well, more fool the buyers. They wouldn't do that to me twice. A pair of jeans for £100!! Not likely.

  25. Dean: I can't help but laugh at the idea of ken in a super tight Superman costume, burling around in a phone box...

    I doubt he had much to do with the manifesto, being a back bencher, but surely the people who did put it together (I don't know who) must have had an idea about the prison population of England. Even I knew that it was at busting point, and given that at least 50% of the neds in England (chavs?) carry knives, they must have known that the promise was unfulfillable.

    However, it pleased all the old ladies with blue in their coiffeur who were pretty angry with Dave for contemplating hugging hoodies, and talking to black kids.

    And before you shout at me that the Tory party is not racist.... think about it. And even if the "party" isn't, god knows some of your followers just seethe with hate (daily mail?)

  26. I’ll take that as a “no” then Dean!

    Once again your one dimensional arguments don’t stack up and neither does you faux outrage at the anti-Tory leanings of this republican blog. It seems that the Tories are not anti-tax dodging as you make out, otherwise you would have had links aplenty.

  27. Dean,

    Perhaps you could tell us what the Tories (and their new best friends) are doing about Tesco's blatant and well documented tax avoidance? Before you say that Tesco, if they had to pay the correct amount of tax, could leave the country, with massive job losses, it would not be unreasonable to expect that another supermarket would eagerly and quickly fill the gap.

  28. Dean,

    Just in case you feel that I am completely anti-Tory I should tell you that the best and most effective MP we've had in this area was a Tory called Michael Hirst who was miles better than his Labour successor Sam Galbraith. However, a youthful indiscretion was held against him by political opponents and he had to give up politics.

    I once had a few drinks with a Tory "Grandee", Dr Rhodes Boyson. Don't know what he was like as an MP but he was very good company and paid for every round (Tris take note). The only thing that concerned me was that he kept calling me "My boy" - I haven't looked at my Mum in the same light since.

  29. Tesco. I HATE Tesco. I was there tonight. They didn't have a scraper (I broke mine the other day), they didn't have peanuts (for the squirrels), the nuts they had for birds were 3 times the price of Lidl's nuts. They didn't have any cheap sultanas (again for birds) and they didn't have any Crunchie (for me mum). The car park was an ice rink.

    The other day I had to go into the one in town (nowhere else to go) and they only had self service counters operating. In fairness it was early morning. I had bakery items that didn’t scan, and there were no staff on to supervise; when someone eventually came to help me, I was given a lecture about not mixing different rolls in the same bad, despite them all being the same price. If I hadn’t needed the damned things so badly I would have shoved them.... well ya know.

    If they let me know when they will be picketing Tesco, I’ll be there!

  30. PS, I'm noting that you were called 'my boy' by an old dude called Rhodes, who bought you loads of drink...

  31. LOL. I think maybe John's a wee bit too young for him CH, but you're right, he'd have bought you drinks all night.....

  32. cynicalHighlander

    I remember an old rugby song which began:

    "My best friends name is Cecil
    He lives in Berkeley Square"

    I'd sing it for you but after last Saturday night Tris's mum took out a legal injunction against me singing.

  33. CH... she didn't actually use the word "singing" but that's another story, and children could read this blog.

    (Actually, they probably don't bother because it's a load of boring old rubbish that doesn't mention The X Factor, but... you know).

    He says he's off to Windsor, but it's really Perth!!

  34. Definitely not a fashionista, haha. I don't see the point in ever-changing fashion, other than to encourage the over-consumption which is dooming our species to extinction.

  35. Och, I'm sure you look as smart as.... erm.... a smart thing Laz....

    Howz that for a compliment?

  36. Oh and yes, you're right. One day the consumption for the sake of it will have to come to an end...