Opinion Columnists 26 Mar 2021 BoJo facing flak ov ...
In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."

BoJo facing flak over ‘legal’ graft, dodging of tax & the ‘nanny state’

Published Mar 27, 2021, 4:46 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2021, 4:46 am IST
Boris Johnson govt has, because of the Covid-19 crisis, done some peculiar things for a Conservative Party to have contemplated or proposed
There are other ways in which BoJo’s government behaves in an unsurprising manner. (Photo: AFP)
 There are other ways in which BoJo’s government behaves in an unsurprising manner. (Photo: AFP)

“The verses say that I shall know
Even as I am known.
But in the confusion of days
Into which we’re thrown
 
There is no fate, no written plan -
We all do exactly what we can
With no thought to a future karma
Though trees whisper and rivers murmur”
        From KeyGul The Seagull, by Bachchoo

I suppose defiance is as ugly a word as mutiny and both come to mind this week in lockdown Albion as hundreds of protesters march and gather to challenge and defy restrictions to their freedom of movement and association.

 

Some of these protesters, and the pundits who urge them on in the media, are right-wing purists who believe that the State shouldn’t interfere in people’s freedom to work, move, go to pubs and shops or travel, regardless of the fact that thousands have died through doing these things because of Covid-19.

Other protesters are eccentric theorists, some who deny that the Covid-19 virus exists at all, others who see conspiracies of all sorts and perhaps some who probably assert that there are giant lizards in the cosmos who control the universe through lizardry using lizardric fields and lizardic microchips hidden in vaccines. And then there are the goons who attend the rallies to fight the police who turn up to arrest those who violate the lockdown.

 

In Parliament, there are those Tory stalwarts who accuse BoJo’s government of being anti-Tory and non-Conservative as it proposes lockdowns and passes legislation to enforce the proposition counting on the volunteered support of the Labour Party.

Commentators on platforms like the Daily Telegraph (for which BoJo was until recently a regular columnist!) profess bewilderment at what they characterise as “socialistic” restraints on the freedom of the individual. The term for such governments is “the nanny state”, which forbids this and that and punishes you for breaking the rules, however sensible these rules are. They are, BoJo and his advisers insist, directed at saving lives and seeing that the National Health Service is not overwhelmed.

 

His government has, because of the Covid-19 crisis, done some peculiar things for a Conservative Party to have contemplated or proposed. Very many of their proposals and actions remain true to the ideological biases and predilections of conservative Conservatism. The Freeport and Deport polices of this government are in line with what one would expect, regardless of the fact that any fool knows that Freeports, though touted as a boost for the economy, will only result in dodgy money-laundering investments and cause the loss of jobs in the country as capital shifts to the provided low-tax enclosures. Freeports are also known all over the world as light regulation conduits for drug trafficking.

 

As for the new immigration policies, related now to the “deport” agenda, they will deprive several British industries and sectors of vital labour and lead to a decline in these industries worse than that caused by Covid-19.

There are other ways in which BoJo’s government behaves in an unsurprising manner. Its ministers have, during the Covid year, handed out several million-pound contracts to friends, relatives and individuals and companies who have gifted the Tory party sums of money. The contracts are mostly for necessary tasks such as the testing, tracing and tracking of the Covid spread.

 

It is alleged that these have been handed, without being put out to competitive tender, to organisations owned or concocted by cronies who have no experience of the tasks for which they are getting paid millions of taxpayers’ money. I say “alleged”, gentle reader, because though the media have been tracking and tracing this corruption, it’s not a legally proven crime or misdemeanour -- yet! It may soon be as there is a public demand for an independent inquiry into the process of handing out these contracts. And guess what? Boris Johnson says no such inquiry is necessary. Everything is above board. Now will there be attempts to bury that board so that everything is above it? Watch this space.

 

Apart from the lockdowns this government has imposed, it has moved, through its noble chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, in what again some Tories and commentators see as an anti-Conservative way. He has announced the raising of corporation tax -- albeit two years in the future, but with the current budget voted on, it passes into law. Rishi says this is necessary to make up for the unprecedented loss of revenue that the economy and consequently the treasury has suffered through this plague year.

If I was the chancellor, gentle reader, I would examine several other avenues to put the economy to rights. The first among these would be the tax-dodgers. Notable amongst these are the owners of national right-wing oriented newspapers -- the Daily Telegraph’s owners and Lord Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail group, are Britons who have registered themselves as citizens of other countries and have used loopholes in British tax laws to avoid paying millions into the British exchequer.

 

There are other multinational companies who trade here but register themselves abroad and dodge British taxes. And then there are the individuals who register as non-domiciled persons, or “non-doms”, who can bring their money from internationally registered earnings and spend it in Britain but pay no tax. If this applied to, say, the wife of a Cabinet minister with imported earnings from abroad, it would be a prime bit of “legal” corruption, wouldn’t it?

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