Tag Archives: UK Uncut

Life on Hannan World (Part 13)

I can barely believe it. A little over 24 hours after I wrote the last “Life on Hannan World” blog, up pops Dissembling Dan with another. This time, it’s about taxation and flat taxes in particular.

Talk of flat taxes will always get right-wingers and self-styled libertarians moist. They (the followers of obscure economic theories) love the idea of everyone paying the same rate of tax. They believe that everyone (sic) will benefit from a flat tax system. Of course, it’s a lie and they know it, and no matter how plausible they make their argument sound, the simple truth is that only the rich will benefit from such a tax system.

So what’s prompted the Lyin’ King to write a piece in defence of flat taxes? This article in the Daily Mirror, which reports Oliver Letwin’s remarks about simplifying the tax system. Inevitably the issue of flat taxes is mentioned. But that’s not the reason why The Cat is interested in Hannan’s blog. It’s the fact that he actually claims flat taxes would benefit the poor (sic). Have a look at this title:

Lower, flatter, simpler taxes will help everyone – especially the poor

Gloriously misleading and, quite frankly, nuts. I once had some right-wing libertarian tell me, apparently straight faced, that the poor were “richer” at the end of the 19th century than at the beginning.  The clue is in the word “poor”. If you are poor, then you aren’t, by definition, “rich”. But it’s the way he claims flat taxes will “help” the poor that get me. It’s not as if he knows what it’s like to be poor and, at any rate, Hannan usually approaches the poor through fictional characters. Even the photo he uses to accompany his blog reveals more about his attitude to dissent that he’d care to admit.

Hannan claims, among other things, that a flat tax system would eliminate tax avoidance. But is that all? Well, no.

The real benefit of the flat tax, though, is not in stopping top-end avoidance. It’s in cutting the cost of compliance for everyone else. I have yet to come across a small business in my constituency that doesn’t need an accountant. Nor have I met a single person who has read and understood the tax code in its entirety.

Did you see that? He says the “real benefit of the flat tax” is apparently about “cutting the cost of compliance for everyone else”. The problem with taxation in Britain is this: the system is regressive. Britain has possibly the most regressive taxes in the world. Where else in the world would one have found a window tax, for example? Only in Britain, which is still run like a technologically advanced Norman kingdom. Council Tax, for example, is a regressive local tax that is not based on a person’s ability to pay; it is levied on outdated property values. Therefore, in theory, a person on an income of £12,000 per annum living next door to someone on  £53,000 a year, and living in a similarly banded property, pays the same amount in Council Tax. Got that?

Hannan claims:

Flat taxes make tax avoidance both purposeless and impossible.

Oh? And where’s the proof? There isn’t any. It’s hypothetical.

The only way the Lyin’ King can proclaim the supposed ‘benefits’ of a flat tax system is by having a pop at his greatest foe: socialists.

You’d think that socialists would approve. Instead of the super-wealthy exploiting exemptions, moving their assets abroad, emigrating or simply retiring earlier, they’d be paying a higher share of our national revenue. The state could then either spend more in absolute terms or cut taxes for everyone.

Why on earth would socialists approve of a flat tax system? It’s absurd. Only greedy capitalists adore the idea notion. The last time this country had a flat tax was in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was called the Poll Tax.

First, almost no one is pushing for a completely flat rate – supporters of the idea recognise that, in a welfare state, there needs to be an exemption before you start paying tax at all, ideally set at around £12,000 a year. Second, a flat tax will, in a short time, make middle- and low-earners considerably better off as the rich pay more and the tax burden on the rest of us falls commensurately.

“£12,000 a year’? I wonder if Wonder Boy knows what it’s like to live on £12,000 a year? But it’s this idea that, somehow, the rich will magically pay more tax that’s a real sticking point here. If everyone is paying near enough the same rate of tax, then it’s only logical that those at the lower end of the income scale will suffer. That’s the people on £12,000 or slightly more, Dan. Have you got that?

At the end of his piece, he lets fly at UK Uncut. Why? Because he doesn’t like the way they chase down tax avoiders. He’d rather they didn’t exist.

I sometimes wonder whether UK Uncut types are happier nursing their grudges, warming themselves with the glow of righteous anger, than on fixing the problem. Or, to put it another way, whether they are keener on attacking the rich than on stimulating the economy. That, of course, is their prerogative. But what a pity to see the government humouring them.

What the Lyin’ King deliberately misses is that UK Uncut is a pressure group and is thus not in a position to “fix” the problem. They aren’t the ones who devise tax codes, nor are they in a position to implement economic policy. That’s the job of the government. The same government that Hannan supports. He whines that UK Uncut is “keener on attacking the rich than on stimulating the economy”. Why shouldn’t they attack the rich? Why shouldn’t they attack greed? Now Dan would tell you that greed is “natural”. But then, so is violence. Yet we have laws on the statute books to punish the violent, but we don’t punish the greedy.

Hannan’s claim that a flat tax system would create parity between incomes is misleading. The rich would dearly love to see a flat tax because it would mean they actually pay less, not more tax. He stands up for the powerful in society and regards the weak as parasites, draining the life force of the nation. If he talks about the poor, he regards them in the abstract. Tories can only see the world through the prisms of wealth, privilege and power. Anything else is of no consequence. The flat tax is a dangerous fantasy.

 

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UK Uncut’s Facebook page deleted

UK Uncut’s Facebook page has mysteriously disappeared along with a friend’s page.  No reason seems to have been given and there is no news of this anywhere on the web. If you click on this link, you will be routed to the Facebook log-in page.

Meanwhile the EDL and the BNP still have their pages on Facebook. Presumably those who operate Facebook have some very strange ideas about what constitutes as decent page. I have also heard rumours that UK Uncut’s page had been hacked by elements of the extreme right – presumably the EDL.

In the last week a group calling itself  had a Facebook page that publicized a anti-cuts demo billed as “The March of Resistance” in London for 20 December.  The demo was a trick organized by the EDL to lure unsuspecting protesters into a trap. There is an interesting discussion of it on Urban75’s forum. You can read the comments here.

As for the “UK People’s Initiative”, you can read the confused blog (well, it’s actually a screed) from the ‘organizer’ here.

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Toby Young attacks UK Uncut

Toby Young hates protesters. Especially if those protesters contradict his romanticized view of classical liberalism. At Nowhere Towers we believe he’s a right-whinging libertarian gobshite.  He doesn’t stop but, more importantly, his thinking is wobbly. The Hon Tobes declares that “UK Uncut hurts ordinary shoppers, not rich corporations”. In this blog, as in some many of his blogs, he misses the point by a country mile.  Today Hon Tobes has taken it upon himself to act as the Xmas shopper’s champion while acting as a shill for consumerism

Has there ever been a more ham-fisted protest movement than UK Uncut? The express purpose of this organisation is to force rich individuals and corporations to pay more tax. Whatever the merits of the case – and, obviously, I think taxes should be lowered for everybody, not raised for anyone – it’s hard to see how interfering with ordinary shoppers is going to advance the movement’s cause. UK Uncut’s method of protest is to stage sit-ins inside shops like Vodafone and Top Shop, making it harder to shop there, and today has been earmarked a “Pay Day”, with flash mobs appearing in shopping centres and on busy high streets up and down the country.

That’s the whole point, you fucking dimwit. And you went to Oxford? It isn’t actually clear whether or not he defends the right of Sir Philip Green to avoid tax by putting his company in his Monaco-residing wife’s name. This is the blog of a middle-aged, middle class bloke who, if he wasn’t writing for the Torygraph, would be writing to his local paper every week about those horrid ‘migrants’ and ‘asylum seekers’. He whines,

What makes the movement so objectionable is that the main victims of this form of protest are the people trying to buy Christmas presents for their loved ones, not the corporations that own these shops

What makes Young’s blog so objectionable is the wilful ignorance that he lays on by the bucketload,

Even if this method of protest was successful and Vodafone and Top Shop ended up paying more tax, it wouldn’t be ordinary people that would benefit. On the contrary, the higher taxes would immediately be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. How, precisely, is that going to help “the poorest and most vulnerable”?

I don’t think I buy that argument. It looks like a poorly-reasoned apology. This isn’t a day out to Clacton, Tobes, this protest is to raise awareness of  the extent to which major British companies avoid paying tax.  Tobes has fallen back on the tactic of the cheap emotional blackmailer. “If you don’t behave and be a good consumer, the prices will go up”!

The final paragraph is vintage Tobes,

If the organisers of the UK Uncut movement really want to help the most needy at this time of year, why don’t they patrol the streets of their home towns giving food and blankets to the homeless? That way, the rest of us can get on with our Christmas shopping without being screamed at by a bunch of red-faced students.

In this paragraph he assumes that the UK Uncut protesters are all students. They aren’t, but Tobes doesn’t bother to do his homework. As far as he is concerned all protesters are ungrateful, selfish, misguided student lefties who don’t wash, smoke loads of pot and sit around all day watching Jeremy Kyle when they aren’t rampaging through the streets and making shoppers aware of hypocrisy of the government’s ‘Efficiency Czar’.  Who, incidentally, while advising the government on reducing waste, avoids paying tax  in this country because of a convenient loophole (the same ones that are used by the 22 millionaires in this government).

Reading the blog I get the feeling that he tried to get into his local Vodaphone shop but couldn’t because of the protesters. There seems to be no other reason for it.

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