Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Are tax-avoiders simply economic conscientious objectors?


From Brother Ivo:

One of the recurring news stories of recent times is the one about this public figure, or that public company, so organising their financial affairs within the law that ensure less or no tax is paid to the Government. The latest subject of this has been Nigel Farage of UKIP.

This has set Brother Ivo thinking about whether the presumptions that underpin such news stories are justified. Implicit in the criticism is the notion that lawful tax avoidance is somehow immoral, and that it is right and proper to shame such persons. At the same time, however, proponents of conscientious objection often insist that it is permissible and admirable for there to be an overt betrayal of specific legal obligation by government servants.

We are apparently invited to subscribe to the idea that if we only pay that tax which is legally required, we are not 'pulling our weight' in civic society. Jesus was not so far-reaching in his teaching, requiring only that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's.

Of course, Caesar's taxes and plans for their use were significantly less ambitious than those of the modern Whitehall or Brussels bureaucrat whose percentage take from the gross national product exceeds anything the tyrants of Rome ever imagined. We have also become significantly less scrupulous about giving to God the things that are God's.

But it is not only the tax avoider who declines the obligations ordinarily required by the political class of the majority of its subjects.

As the cases of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are bringing to light, there are many, like Russell Brand, who will simultaneously heap scorn on those complying with the law whilst excusing those who overtly betray their contractual and fundamental loyalties to their country.

Brother Ivo is trying to puzzle out whether, within this secular world-view, there is a discernible underlying principle to be found. If not, he must conclude that conscientious objection has become nothing more than an immunity conferred ex post facto upon those approved by an influential political/media class with sufficient power to face down weak governments.

That is not a picture of conscientious objection with which he is comfortable.

Conscientious objection to war has been a long-established and respected status, much beloved by the Left and all those who regard themselves as having loyalty to a higher ideal which negates the call of the state to war service. Its origins lay plainly in a respect for those largely non-conformist religious groups like the Quakers which took seriously the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill'. Such believers were unconvinced that exceptions could be made, even when presented with carefully thought-through doctrines such as that of the Just War.

When religion was highly regarded, our forebears made an exception for those of conscience because they recognised, with a tolerance born of Protestant individualism, that a man can and should primarily take responsibility for the good of his soul, and if his honest reading of the Bible led him to pacifism, then that must be respected by a God-fearing, individualistic and tolerant state.

We no longer live in that God-fearing, individualistic and tolerant state, which poses the question: 'Is it time for secular Britain to repeal the protection to the conscientious war objector?'

Further, can either Manning or Snowden be protected on a point of principle while simultaneously execrating those who follow precisely the law, but fail to exhibit enthusiasm for offering additional financial support to the state?

Let us, however, begin by considering the position of the much maligned 'under-payer' of tax.

Suppose an individual regards the expansion of the state's share of the national output as wrong in principle: imagine they believe that they can do more good in allocating resources to the needy. Allow the possibility that such a taxpayer further takes the view that nations may prosper up to a point where government expenditure reaches around 37% of GDP, but thereafter there is a correlation between exceeding that percentage, and economic decline.

Surely, given that clear mindset and desire to see his/her country prosper, such a taxpayer is not only reasonable, but thoroughly moral in refusing to pass away control of wealth that he/she believes is better retained within the free choices, control, and perhaps less wasteful ambit of the private citizen's decisions.

In this scenario, our hypothetical subject is certainly not a malevolent evader to be censored, but an 'economic conscientious objector', actively pursuing what he/she genuinely regards as the promotion of the public good. They may be moving against the cultural mainstream, but so, then, is the war resister or the self-appointed leaker of secrets.

There is an interesting difference between such an economic objector, and the pacifist or leaker. The economic objector is fulfilling his/her civic obligations fully to the letter of the law. He/she seeks no extension of immunity under the law; only that there be no complaint that he/she should do more than is required after due legislative process. They render to Caesar as Caesar requires, but do not wish to send him an undeserved bonus. The conscientious war objector/leaker is rather less egalitarian, for he/she is deliberately doing less than his/her fellow subjects who, moreover, may even give their lives to protect and preserve the objector's claimed privileged position.

Lest readers think the idea of the economic conscientious objector is entirely a figment of Brother Ivo's imagination, consider the position of the Amish Community in the USA. They conscientiously reject all participation in the state and its apparatus. They make no claims on the wider community and accordingly have been granted the right, based upon their cultural and religious beliefs, to pay no tax. They have become a self-reliant, industrious and well-regarded group adjacent to society. Their presence is by no means unproductive or malign.

It is doubtful that many in 'modern', 'progressive' Britain would be as generous in spirit towards such a section of society. Equality of sacrifice would be demanded: we have already seen freedom of conscience trampled underfoot in the case of those conscientiously opposed to conducting same-sex civil unions. More examples are likely to follow.

As the equality agenda appears to be increasingly asserted, shall we not inexorably and logically reach the point where conscientious objection to war must rationally be seen as 'outdated', founded, as it is, upon a religious premise that the 'modernisers' laughingly reject?

If the 'economic conscientious objector' is not to be valued and respected for his/her lawful challenge to the opinions and priorities of government, why should the war resister, the contract breaker, the ignorer of oaths, be allowed to shirk his/her societal responsibility?

If we approve or disapprove of such controversial figures as Manning or Snowden based purely upon our notion of approval or disapproval, we have left the realm of principle and entered that of the populist.

Christians will know that Barabbas will always have his supporters.

When conscientious objection was founded and accepted within its original religious context, even those who profoundly disagreed with the objection could acknowledge and respect the status. At present, we seem to have the Big Brother approach to such matters: a 'conscientious objector' may be nothing more than a traitor with good PR and a celebrity following.

Brother Ivo is not terribly interested, for these purposes, on the detailed political merits of the Manning or Snowden cases: he is trying to understand the underlying principles asserted once one departs from the clarity previously present when conscientious objection was rooted in its original religious context.

There needs to be some objective reasoning in these matters. When a Quaker, Buddhist or Amish claimed immunity from war service, one could, with a fair degree of certainty, recognise that attachment to principle with some confidence. In a post-religious world, that becomes much less identifiable.

Unless the secular philosopher can address this problem, he/she runs the risk of losing all claim to principle, leading to the position whereby allowing such a conscientious anachronism to continue is contrary to the notions equality and fairness to which we are all now required to subscribe as the highest priority. And that would never do, would it?

(Posted by Brother Ivo)

98 Comments:

Blogger David Hussell said...

Excellent piece Brother Ivo.Thank you for that.
I wholeheartedly support the questioning and probing behind it.
Having in the past started and run a number of smallish businesses in my own name, I have been pondering and questioning the validity of the moral force being attached, especially by the rather intolerant political leaders like Cameron, to the lawful lowering of ones taxes. However you have crafted a chain of argument that I doubt whether I would have been able to achieve with such cogency.

Although the surface froth of our cultures
, in adverts. for example and what have you, projects individualism it is in fact the herd "individualism" of teenage fashions, and nothing more than a mindless, breathless conformity which will swing about following celebrity and populism, and having no root in itself. It is from this leftist conformity, and a fear of individual success that the much of this current tax judgmentalism springs, I believe.
Only God can set us free.

26 June 2013 at 08:16  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

David Hussell,
Having run a small business myself , I can vouch that the hand of the state is usually against you - however scrupulously you stick to the rules.

The local council leaned on us with trumped up environmental complaints. We found that a councillor worked for the property company which owned much of the surrounding area which was becoming "ripe for development"

When we found an employee had been defrauding us, the police did not want to know. It was a "civil matter" they said. What really hurt was that they obviously thought that , as a businessman, I was a crook too.

The Inland Revenue assessed us for £500 of "benefit in kind" which I knew was not due. But to tight the assessment would have cost more than that, apart from the time taken. It was obviously a practised technique which allowed the inspector to score his brownie points. So he got away with it. It was just as much a theft as shoplifting. The state was demanding money with menaces - and getting it.

Giving money to HMG is like giving a teenager plenty of alcohol and the keys to the car. They misuse it. The waste is phenomenal as the Taxpayers' Alliance has recently demonstrtated. The German Taxpayers' Association has come up with the interesting idea of personal civil and criminal liability for politicians and officials who waste money. Wouldn't that be lovely?

26 June 2013 at 09:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

If property is theft, what is taxation?

26 June 2013 at 09:44  
Blogger Bob said...

Brother Ivo,

Are tax-avoiders simply economic conscientious objectors?

Perhaps some are. I think it more likely that most are using reasoning like this to justify their attachment to money, and to the worldly security it brings them. But can one really justify such grasping greed when one considers the terrible poverty and suffering in the world?

:)

Peace.

26 June 2013 at 09:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

"They believe they can do more good in allocating resources to the needy." C S Lewis did that by giving the proceeds of his writing directly to charity, and bypassing the system.

A while back, I remember reading that part of our £1 billion aid contribution to the EU had gone to fund a dance group in Mali. (That's Mali,Bob, not Marley.) If we're going to do that, I'd rather it was at least one of OUR ex-colonies: rather than France's, or whoever's.

26 June 2013 at 10:10  
Blogger Andy Baxter said...

Of course it is "economic conscientious objection". I always thought that this is a given.

If government only extracted a reasonable amount of tax sufficient to provide certain essential protections for the country's citizens then there would be far less "avoidance" or even "evasion".

However, we see our government throwing many billions at all kinds of projects and causes - many of which may well be actually or potentially harmful to a person expected to fund it or completely at odds with their own stance on a certain issue.

And there is no "perhaps" about it - people will spend their own money far more effectively than when government take it to spend on their behalf.

This is certainly true of businesses who need to account for every penny or go bust.

The very fact that tax can only come from profits a company makes is evidence that those businesses know what to do with the money they have at their disposal.

The very fact that even with a "captive market" and the ability to set their own "prices" which are enforceable by law, governments can still somehow manage to report a £120 billion deficit (loss) shows how poor they are with money.

So, yes, having worked so hard to obtain their money, many people take a principled stand to protect it from the profligate clutches of government.

Quite right, too.

26 June 2013 at 10:52  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Brother Ivo:

I quite agree with you that the key is to understand the underlying principle.

Are tax-evaders conscientious objectors? No.

Is Edward Snowden a conscientious objector? No.

Why? Because both seek to evade the consequences of their conscience. They are not making a principled stand on which they are willing to stake and sacrifice their own life, they are making a stand and then hoping to avoid the penalties associated with it. In the case of tax-evaders, they invariably hope to avoid detection - even where their activities are "perfectly legal".

There shouldn't be any easy dichotomies though. Just because the answer to those questions is "No", doesn't mean that by implication either are malign. Snowden isn't a conscientious objector - but that doesn't automatically make him a traitor. Tax-evaders aren't conscientious objectors - but that doesn't automatically make them feckless enemies of the community. Those are questions that need to be examined individually and on the merits of each case.

"One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."

(Martin Luther King Jr.)

26 June 2013 at 11:21  
Blogger IanCad said...

Quite the epistle here Brother Ivo; in fact, enough for several good editorials.

Deep stuff indeed and far too much to ponder in one day.

Although I am no supporter of Nigel Farage I applaud his initiative in awarding to Ceasar his due and nothing more.

The tax codes are a result of corruption. Particularly those in the USA.where the the current Federal Income Tax rules now run to almost seventy five thousand pages.
In our own fair land things seem somewhat less warped but still give evidence to the suspicion that politicians have fared very well through the largesse of lobbyists.

It seems totally unfair in any way to malign those who avoid income taxes.
Avoidance is not evasion. Indeed, publicising the high profile cases--Amazon, Starbucks, Google-- may bring even more contempt upon those who write the insane regulations.

Follow the money!!

26 June 2013 at 11:22  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

IanCad:

"Avoidance is not evasion."

What is the difference? One is legal, and one is not. If this is the defence (as it so often is - cf. GMG, Google, Starbucks etc.) then what does it say?

It says that the law is the arbiter of what is right and what is wrong. But that isn't what many of the defenders of "tax-avoidance" think or say: like you they defend "avoidance" on the basis that there is a key element of conscience.

If that is so - then the legal definition should be a moot point. That it isn't says more about how willing tax-evaders are to be held to account for their "conscience".

26 June 2013 at 11:30  
Blogger Andy Baxter said...

"What is the difference? One is legal, and one is not. If this is the defence (as it so often is - cf. GMG, Google, Starbucks etc.) then what does it say?"

If you have, say, £3,000 cash which you deposit into your bank account and they pay your interest (yes, I know... bad example but bear with me) then, if you are a taxpayer, you will have that interest taxed.

If you put that same £3,000 into an ISA then the interest earned is tax-free.

This would make you a tax-avoider.

If you took that £3,000 cash, told no one about it and stuffed it under your mattress, you are a tax-evader.

26 June 2013 at 11:42  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Andy:

That's not really the point I was getting at: in the situation you outline (I actually don't have enough money to put anything in my ISA, which has had £45 in it for the last six years), it does indeed make financial sense to use that facility. Likewise, it makes good financial sense to use offshore accounts - you get to keep more of your money.

But that's it: you keep more of your money. It's not a conscientious objection - it's just a sound financial consideration from the perspective of the individual.

My point was that if we want it to be something more - if we want it to be a point of virtue then it has to meet some higher standards.

Likewise, if it's a point of virtue, the legal definitions are moot. Either it's virtuous to refuse to give over the money - whether that's via the Cayman Isles or your matress - or it's not. If virtue in this instance simply means "obeying the letter of the law" in order to maximise personal finances, then it would cease to be virtuous the minute the government closed every loophole.

But I don't actually hear anyone advancing that logical extension of the argument.

26 June 2013 at 12:57  
Blogger The Explorer said...

AiB

That point in your last paragraph, about it being virtuous not to give over money.

Doesn't Andy Baxter @10:52 third paragraph to some extent address it? And, in an implicit way, my point about C S Lewis?

26 June 2013 at 13:10  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Explorer:

The confusion comes from conflating that which makes it virtuous with the act itself.

If people genuinely believe that refusing to give money to the State is, in and of itself, a virtuous act, then the means by which it is done shouldn't make a substantial difference. Evasion or avoidance - both would be as virtuous by reason that they deprived the State of money it considers that it is owed.

C.S. Lewis' argument is different - that there may be ways of putting that money to more virtuous use than the State may. In this case - were the State to employ that money in the same way that C.S. Lewis would like it to be employed, evasion/avoidance would cease to be virtuous.

There is a sort of middle ground where the State is understood to be incapable of behaving in a truly virtuous way - in which case you're into Ammon Hennacy terrain, where the virtue derives principally from the use of money (as per C.S. Lewis) but understood in such a way that depriving the State of it (by reason of its misuse of money) is also virtuous.

Of course, because Hennacy understood that he was acting on conscience, he was quite prepared to go to prison to exercise that conscience. He wasn't seeking to evade the consequences of his conscience - or using "conscience" as a rhetorical front to the desire to maximise personal autonomy.

26 June 2013 at 13:54  
Blogger Corrigan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 June 2013 at 14:02  
Blogger Corrigan said...

There is something uniquely (and, occasionally, endearingly) English about this blog, and this column pretty much nails it, for only an Englishman could equate tax-dodging with consciencious objection. To understand what's happening, it is necessary to understand the difference between "English" and "British".

Britishness is, of course, an imperial construct. It didn't exist before the Napoleonic wars (the English were still straightforward enough back then to proudly admit they were just colonists in Scotland, Ireland etc;), but was something which was created as a kind of useful fig-leaf for expansion. During the Victorian era (a somewhat misunderstood period, though far from being a perfect one) Britishness came greatly to the fore as it jived with the Victorian passion for reform and genuine public service. Under the banner of Britishness, Englishness was generously extended to the less fortunate Celtic periphery, and indeed, a lot of us bought into the fantasy. As the Empire receeded into history, however, Britishness was no longer of necessity and the component parts of the UK began to reassert themselves. The Irish went first, and now the Scots are straining at the leash.

What is not always appreciated, however, is that the English themselves have been reasserting their own identity as the scaffolding of the UK comes down, and the unique and salient characteristic of the English (as opposed to the British) is an incredible ability to be both obsequious and a mob at the same time. I don't know of any other people who can manage this. Obsequious, because of their deference to anyone with a pound more than them and a mob in their visceral distrust of "foreign" ideas, like the egalitarianism.

Ivo's column is a classic example of this. It is beyond belief that he can seriously equate tax-dodging with consciencious objection (as he apparantly does here), and if he cannot see what is wrong with his argument, I can only explain and hope that the lecture takes.

There is nothing wrong with paying only that tax which you are liable for; the problem comes with how we make ourselves liable. If you need a dozen higly skilled tax accountants at £100 per hour plus a firm of City of London lawyers at twice that cost to help you set up a tax dodge in which the minimum buy-in is £500,000 pounds, that immoral because it's not open to Joe Bloggs to do this (to put it in Catholic terms, it is against the principle of solidarity). If, on the other hand, you set up a pension fund whereby you can write off a certain amount of your tax against your investment, that's ok because Joe can do something comparable himself, though probably not with anything like the same amount of money. The key here is equality (that foreign concept of egalitarianism), which is the problem for the average Englishman. They don't understand it. They don't get it. I can only assume it goes back to the old (and, in some subtle ways, perhaps not so old) English class system. The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly and ordered their estate. Thus, for the true Englishman, tax-dodging is fine, so long as somebody richer is doing it because that is the order of things. It's like that old John Cleese sketch, really.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mURhNIjc-Kw

26 June 2013 at 14:06  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Corrigan, your argument would be more persuasive if there wasn't a surplus of non-English advocates of the virtues of tax-evasion, nothwithstanding the fogginess of quite where that virtue is vested.

"...the unique and salient characteristic of the English (as opposed to the British) is an incredible ability to be both obsequious and a mob at the same time. I don't know of any other people who can manage this."

Oh I'm sure if you strain hard enough you'll find it in your heart to extend that appellation to the Jews. You usually do.

26 June 2013 at 14:14  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Uhhhh...okayyyyyyyyy, AIB. Didn't know we were Avi-baiting today, but you go first and I'll be sure to follow. Trust me. You don't need to look around for me...

26 June 2013 at 14:18  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

The strange thing is you won't be able to take the money from that tax haven or trust with you when you die-unless you are,say, an ancient egyptian- in which case you'll be tomb robbed anyway- time for a quick curse of the mummy anyone?...

Speaking of curses, I see our Corrigan is off on one again. A neat little dig at the English/British. Except that the Irish, Welsh, Scottish were every bit the empire builders as the English. Perhaps a few names give this away, such as Nova Scotia, New South Wales... let's not forget the numerous Irish communities in the US, Australia and Canada who successfully colonised lands from the native peoples there(and the French, let's not forget them either...).

26 June 2013 at 14:33  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Corrigan,

Where did the selling of indulgences come into this 'solidarity'?

26 June 2013 at 14:35  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

PS- putting money under the bed isn't the same as putting it into an account or an ISA (or avoidance/dodge)- you won't get any monetary interest from what's under the pillow... in fact in 'real terms' inflation will devalue your money...- currently 5% per year.

26 June 2013 at 14:38  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Well, David, anyone could buy an indulgence. I mean, whatever few pennies you had would do. Sounds pretty solid to me.

26 June 2013 at 14:41  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Aw Corrigan, I was just giving you the opportunity to mix up your usual argument by swapping around the various nationalities you hate.

Of course tax-evasion is part of the warped sense of virtue that Englishness possesses. We would never see a liberated Ireland make a virtue out tax avoidance would we? Or have a string of tax-evading corrupt leaders? I mean - even if we did, that wouldn't be as a result of their Irishness would it? They'd probably just have been infected with Englishness.

No wonder you thank your lucky stars you aren't English on a daily basis.

26 June 2013 at 14:42  
Blogger Mark In Mayenne said...

Tax avoidance is a practical result of the moral imperative to look after one's self and family before the government.

26 June 2013 at 14:49  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Corrigan,

It seems slightly odd for you to advance the argument that there is a difference between the English and our Celtic cousins ( many folk are a mixture). I doubt The Irishman Burke or the Scots Adam Smith would have much truck with big state liberalism, and your notion that the English are obsequious to those who are better off is nonsense.

Stick a pin in a History book and you will encounter Tyndale, Pym, Hampden, Cromwell, Wilkes, Priestley Wliberforce, to say nothing of the founders of the USA who have been described as the only successful English revolutionaries. England has been the seedbed of intellectual freedom and its consequences stand in creditable contrast to the European radicalism that gave you the Terror, Bonapartism, Marxism Fascism and Bolshevism.

We develop our changes with a moderation, that is neither violent nor obsequious.

The fact that Marx and Engles, Ho Chi Minh, Ghandi, Nehru, all came to these shores indicates that the Englishness you seen to alternately patronise and denigrate is recognised as a culture where one has - or had - the freedom to think clearly and express opinion freely.

If you read the piece again you will see no defence of " tax dodging" only a contrast between those who are criticised for full compliance with the law applicable to all citizens and conscientious objection to war which does not accept equal sacrifice.

Given the clamour for " fairness" the basis for the discrepancy is surely worth exploring?

26 June 2013 at 14:52  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

For corrigan; the spanish empire provided a fig leaf for roman catholic imperialism. Discuss.

26 June 2013 at 14:56  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Ah, Whataboutery, God's greatest gift to the English. As it happens, Hannah, I don't think much of the Spanish either, but at least the Church managed to mitigate their savagery somewhat.

26 June 2013 at 15:20  
Blogger Corrigan said...

I'm away from my sources at the moment, so could you tell me which of those great Britons you mentioned were executed and which were tyrants? Cromwell's a gimme, of course.

26 June 2013 at 15:23  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Sorry, that last is for Ivo.

26 June 2013 at 15:24  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hmmmm, well burke was a philospher, smith was an economist, wilberforce an MP who saw through the abolition of the slave trade.... Pym was the MP who challenged the divine right of kings.... Corrigan's not doing too well so far....

26 June 2013 at 15:48  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Corrigan,

Don't get confused.

You suggested that the English are either obsequious or a mob. That is a difficult claim to stand up.

Whatever Cromwell's faults, his standing up to the King was anything but obsequious, and his standing up to the Diggers and Levellers showed he was no lover of the mob either.

Each of the illustrations embody in varying ways the independence of thinkers working within a stable but evolving tradition that is admired by lovers of liberty throughout the world.

26 June 2013 at 15:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

AiB @ 13:54

Yes, that's exactly right about Lewis. He was happy to give his money away, but wanted to make sure it went to deserving causes (eg, he funded the fees for at least one of his undergraduates).

I think at the back of all this there may be a worry about state encroachment: even making our decisions about charity for us. I know I feel that way.

A for instance. Some houses on the Suffolk or Kent coast (I forget which) became dangerous because of coastal erosion. The owners could not stay, and could not sell in order to move elsewhere.

The Labour government did absolutely nothing to help. The present government gave the owners half the notional value of the properties. Only half: is that all we could afford when billions can be given in overseas aid?

I have no wish to be uncharitable: in any sense of the word. But the State in this example feels to me like an irresponsible parent: lavishing largesse for show on other people's children: and neglectful of its own.

26 June 2013 at 15:57  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

I think cromwell also allowed jews to come back to england as well.

26 June 2013 at 15:58  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Sister Hannah ,

To say nothing of Thomas Clarkson ( Secretary of the Abolitionist Society) Elizabeth Fry ( Prison Reformer) Lord Shaftesbury (Children/ Factory Act reform) the Tolpuddle Martyrs ( Trades Unionism ) or Lord Mansfield ( see Sommerset's case)

From high and low, Englishfolk's orderly challenge to the established order and attachment to Fair Play confounds Corrigan's prejudices.

26 June 2013 at 16:04  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

Corrigan,

I am sure many people would like to know how to find that first class tax accountant at £100 per hour!

You certainly wouldn't find one in London!

I think you would have to go to a charge out rate of at least 4 or 5 times higher if it was anyone from one of the big firms - and much more for a partner.

They work for the government for a great deal of the time and so have got used to charging pretty well what they like.

Then they go back to work for private clients, using the knowledge acquired in working for the government.

Isn't life grand?

26 June 2013 at 16:07  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Corrigan:

Whataboutery would be pertinent if I were trying to defend tax evasion. In fact I am not, and the article from Brother Ivo is not.

In this case, you have made a specific allegation that the view on tax evasion is intrinsically connected with the national identity of the English, explicitly contrasting it with a more enlightened Celtic outlook.

Well let me direct: the Republic of Ireland is a tax evader's haven. It is the home of the "Double Irish" move - it has been described as being thoroughly embedded in the international tax evasion network, and it looks very strongly like members of her government have connived to enable such evasion.

If someone suggested that this was the result of the fecklessness of the Irish, or indeed, that it all stemmed from Irish Catholicism, you would be the first to (rightly) cry bloody murder. It is the fact that you only appear to be able to view issues through the narrow lens of your nationalistic obsessions that I find specious.

26 June 2013 at 16:30  
Blogger IanCad said...

AIB<

Forgive me if I have it wrong but are you assigning to "Avoidance" the same perjorative dimension that only the word "Evasion" should attract?

Perhaps we should moot about the idea that it is only via a consumption tax that equity can met.

Getting rid of capital gains, income and corporate tax is essential if we are to inject fairness into the system. Or at least levy a flat tax on all sources of income which would simplify the mess.

Andy Baxter,

Why would keeping your money under the mattress make you a tax evader?

26 June 2013 at 16:35  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi corrigan the empire of spain is a fact of history as is the fact the Pope divided the new world into spheres of influence(not that the english or dutch or french cared). So dont jump on english/british as colonial jackboots and think of imperialism as a particular british thing... Especially given those who trace ancestory from ireland who now live in what were british colonies, america, canada, australia etc... Shouldnt they go back to ireland and end this occupying 'colonialism'?

26 June 2013 at 16:42  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi brother ivo, well i did pay attention in my history class at school , the joys of private education eh!:)

26 June 2013 at 17:00  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

In respect of the actual topic, i think that people and companies should pay the tax. The law might allow a tax dodge, but is this moral? Of course if there was a flat rate of income tax at15%; starting at 30 k and corporation tax at the same percent, then there would be more money for the tax collection and less of a need for tax havens....

26 June 2013 at 17:17  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Two observations

It is far easier to avoid tax in the UK than many other countries.

Certain industries seem particularly favoured for both tax dodging and subsidies. My farming friends seem to be able to charge most things "to the farm" and on top of this the rest of society seems keen to pay for their mistakes and or natural disasters. I don't know any other industry who gets compensation when the market finds no value in its products.

Phil

PS My spell checker seems convinced that it is tax dogging rather than dodging. Maybe the next Snowdon type revelation?


26 June 2013 at 17:18  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hannah @ 17:00

I knew you were posh totty!

26 June 2013 at 17:20  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

IanCad:

I was a bit naughty in not making clear my own opinion. My point was more about the reasoning behind why not paying tax (to use as generic a term as I can think of) might be considered virtuous.

Some of the reasons given - namely that leaving money in the hands of the private individual, or that the State is intrinsically wrong to take it (taxation as theft) - are more or less mutually exclusive with using the legal distinction between avoidance and evasion. It's about testing what the virtue that is claimed actually means.

So to answer you directly, I am not generically assigning or ignoring the distinction between avoidance and evasion - I am simply saying that their relevance depends on the argument behind why not paying tax is "conscientious objection".

I would still veer from describing avoidance as conscientious objection - as, being legal, there is actually no objection being issued.

26 June 2013 at 17:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Don’t try telling this man that the Inland Revenue can’t extract tax from an operation on UK soil. Yes, clever accounting can make it appear the company is running at a loss, but cleverer government accountants will be able to see through the fog, or at least they should be able to, and nail the truth down.

One suspects it isn’t being done because 1. The really clever guys, who work for the private sector, are beyond a civil servants pay banding. And the government has no intention of paying a premium for the best. 2. Where do you think former MPs end up in. The boardrooms of charities and not for profit concerns ???

It’s not being done because it is not in the interest of the people who should be doing it. And that is that !





26 June 2013 at 19:11  
Blogger LEN said...

Why go to the bother of trying to extract tax from the vastly wealthy when you can extract it much more easily from the poor the pensioners and those on benefits.

This Government is paid to protect the assets of their[financial] masters.

26 June 2013 at 19:42  
Blogger Nick said...

The title of this blog is "Are tax-avoiders simply conscientious objectors?"

The implication of this statement is that those who find legal ways to avoid paying tax are doing so out of conscience or principle. I would need more than a few examples of such people to be convinced of this argument.

I am inclined to agree with Corrigan on this issue. My English compatriots have a remarkable skill for understatement, believing this somehow sweetens an upalatable truth. A mass-firing of employees is a "down-sizing" for example. This is a spin-off of the political correctness culture.

Tax avoidance is a way of keeping more of your money in you pocket: no more, no less. It is legal, it may be moral (just about), but it's not conscientious objection.

26 June 2013 at 19:49  
Blogger LEN said...

Corporate greed is the motive for tax avoidance to pretend anything else is a nonsense.

'Greed is good... greed work`s' as the man said.

Corporate responsibility (indeed any sort of responsibility) or accountability seem to be lost in the stampede for profit margins and investors returns.


26 June 2013 at 19:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Can’t see Jesus saying “give everything you can to Caesar”. The big question is why should you do this anyway. Why must government expenditure win out. A good example is that unneeded high speed railway between London and the north. If it had any merit, let private enterprise pay for the lot, but it won’t. And no, this man is not anti rail growth. When the Victorians saw their two lines of a railway were inadequate, they quadrupled the route. Damn sight cheaper than £40+ billion, what !

26 June 2013 at 20:16  
Blogger Nick said...

Inspector

Exactly. What is a Tory government doing spending (wasting to be precise) taxpayers money like a profligate Labour administration?

The problem is there is now no dividing line between any of the parties. It doesn't matter how you vote, you get the same EU-driven collective dictatorship

26 June 2013 at 20:29  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Dash it all chaps and chapesses, do I note the dead hand of socialism in some of the comments? Now, Jesus said give ceasar what is his etc... so is one motivated by mere greed or for other purposes? Is putting the land and property of Lavendonian Castle into a Trust, a tax 'dodge' or not?

Or is it retaining a listed building and farm land of our beautiful island home,for future generations, without the begging bowl of the national trust and is it not better to retain my extended and no related family (modern version 'employees'; old term 'servants') on a decent wage or let the whole show be taken over by middle class 'volunteer' oiks?

I personally think motivation is a key factor here.

True greed is wrong, but there are all sorts of ways one can avoid paying tax. An example; one can put above £3,000 into a bank account and get charged on the interest. Or one can buy £3,000 of gilts (UK debt, but which is tax free) and earn, say, 5% tax free....

26 June 2013 at 20:39  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

I see Corrigan is on top form with his 'Maximilien de Robespierre' theme of the Irish verses the English and with the natural blessings of his papal ideology, which is in no way 'socialist'....

Of course indulgences were one of the parts of the corruption of the Church of Rome- a rich man can 'buy' his way into heaven??! And what need does God have of gold and money?

26 June 2013 at 20:43  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Inspector,

Now £40 billion could (according to Hannah) build a moon base, rather than that wretched railway system!

Blasted so called 'conservative' government!

Vote UKIP!

Now imagine, we could send the criminals, illegal immigrants and other militant chaps to the moon for that!

26 June 2013 at 20:46  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Men, one thinks it’s understandable the Tories are spending more than Labour due to what Labour did. Private Finance initiative comes to mind here you know. Have to keep the payments up, as with the old ‘never never’, if you default, you lose everything in the regards of what you’ve paid for the damn thing to date. Remember the obscene cost of the new GCHQ building. Built using fairy tail finances and under PFI.

Lavendon old chap. Glad to see you are still with us. You are right, that man. When it comes to individual wealth, too much bolshie talk about delivering it straight to the soviet, what !

Jesus would weep...


26 June 2013 at 21:04  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Nick,

You are close to agreeing with Brother Ivo's thesis.

Where he seeks to move you a tad closer is that without a religious underpinning, war conscientious objection is more "unfair" / less moral than the lawful disinclination to pay more to the Government than is absolutely required.

26 June 2013 at 21:44  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Inspector,

Indeed old chap, I see you have been stout in your vigil against SSM; now the Lords would never I sometimes surface like the great old whale that I am (90 in a couple of days).

Now I have no problem with you Roman chaps, just Corrigan's version (anti-capitalist, anti Jew, anti English) or all the 'boxes' that raise my blood pressure. Speaking of raising blood pressure, I am just watching a documentary on the 'westbro baptist church'...

26 June 2013 at 21:49  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

To the socialists, what of the the words of Jesus himself ? :

"14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 25:14-30
King James Version (KJV)

26 June 2013 at 21:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I say Lavendon, Corrigan’s a character, what !

Seriously, a man must speak what’s on his mind. That way, you’re free to have a go back, should you wish to challenge him. We live in an age where lesser types obey today’s received wisdom, to wit, not being controversial. We need more Corrigan’s around. They are out there, they just don’t realise it yet...


26 June 2013 at 22:13  
Blogger Nick said...

Lord Lavendon

While I am always happy to hear the Bible being quoted to Socialists, we should remember that the talents referred to in this parable are to symbolise Gods gifts. I would not be happy to interpret this parable as meaning we should all put our cash in an ISA instead of keepiing it under the bed to avoid tax.

26 June 2013 at 22:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

hmmm. Forty years ago, a ‘talent’ was a particularly attractive young lady...

26 June 2013 at 22:28  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 June 2013 at 22:41  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer,

'Posh Totty' to you perhaps, but to others here I am nothing more than a daughter of a 'third world' Iraqi Jewish mother, incidentally whose family was quite rich, but who were chucked out of a country they'd lived in for, oh only about 3 millennia, along with (clearly justified by some comments here) anything they couldn't get into a 'paddington bear' suitcase,'appropriated' (stolen)by the state because of the 'Jewish zionist crusader government'...

26 June 2013 at 22:43  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Phil Roberts,

But surely it is much better that the Patrician families, the Squires and the 'gentleman farmers' managed the rural parts of our country than imposing collectivist designs; look at how such experiments lead to the slaughter of people in Soviet Russia under Lenin and Stalin, China under Mao and Cambodia under pol pot.

26 June 2013 at 22:49  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Yes, it's a sad story, Hannah. I could not imagine living millenia in one's own country and then being driven out at the point of a gun by some bunch of thieving douch bags. Clearly, neither can you.

26 June 2013 at 23:03  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Lord Lavendon,

I think that fellow commentator Nick is quite right when he says 'Jesus [wasn't] all put our cash in an ISA instead of keepiing it under the bed to avoid tax'.

From an outsiders viewpoint -and I am feeling quite ecumenical here- Jesus realised that putting money into an ISA or under the bed was a non-brainer, what with the best ISA's giving less than 2% and the money under the matress loosing 5% per year.

So clearly,he foresaw a time when we have stock markets and bonds, hence why he says 'Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury'.

Or invest in a stocks and shares ISA, a SIPP, a Unit Trust Fund, Private Equity Firm or Investment Fund...

And Jesus also foresaw the dread of every investment manager out there in the city :

'And cast ye the unprofitable servant [mod version 'Fund Manager'] into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

26 June 2013 at 23:07  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

I see Corrigan has surfaced and has given us this delightful post:

'I could not imagine living millenia in one's own country and then being driven out at the point of a gun by some bunch of thieving douch bags. Clearly, neither can you'

Do some research on the plight of Iraqi Jews before and after 1948 then & not your usual 'sources' of whatever anti-semite trash you usually trawl and find & present here as fact.

PS- I'm told according to Catholic traditions that the 'wise men' who visited Jesus were Jews from Babylon (Iraq-Persia).... hmmm perhaps me and Hannah could be related to said Magi?

26 June 2013 at 23:16  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

For things first. The gov't could eliminate all these problems by implementing a very simple tax scheme. But the gov't likes to use taxation to reward and punish, to incentivize and disincentivize. That is what allows clever accountants to find legal ways to avoid taxes. If everyone paid a flat rate, this wouldn't happen. But the gov't doesn't want to lose that powerful tool of social control.

carl

26 June 2013 at 23:18  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

PS, lest I get hounded my post at 23.07 was firmly tongue in cheek...

26 June 2013 at 23:21  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Tell me, David - have you ever run across any Goy who wasn't an anti-Semite?

26 June 2013 at 23:34  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Corrigan,

Actually I could. However, given that you are so dismissive of us Jews, let's look at a few facts here :

1) From Wiki :

'The Jews in Iraq ( Yehudim Bavlim)... is documented from the time of the Babylonian captivity c. 586 BCE. Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities.

The Jewish community of Babylon included Ezra the scribe, whose return to Judea in the late 6th century BCE is associated with significant changes in Jewish ritual observance and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Talmud was compiled in Babylonia, identified with modern Iraq.

From the Babylonian period to the rise of the Islamic caliphate, the Jewish community of Babylon thrived as the center of Jewish learning'.

In the 20th century, Iraqi Jews played an important role in the early days of Iraq's independence, but the Iraqi Jewish community, numbered at around 120,000 in 1948, almost entirely left the country due to persecution following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Most of them fled to the newly founded state of Israel, and today, fewer than 100 Jews remain in Iraq'

26 June 2013 at 23:42  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Continued -

2) From the Jewish virtual library :

'By World War I, [Jews] accounted for one third of Baghdad’s population. In 1922, the British recieved a mandate over Iraq and began transforming it into a modern nation-state.

Iraq became an independent state in 1932. Throughout this period, the authorities drew heavily on the talents of the mall well-educated Jews[i.e. my family] for their ties outside the country and proficiency in foreign languages. Iraq’s first minister of finance, Yehezkel Sasson, was a Jew. These Jewish communities played a vital role in the development of judicial and postal systems.

In the 1936 Iraq Directory, the “Israelite community” is listed among the various other Iraqi communities, such as Arabs, Kirds, Turkmen, Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and Sabeans, and numbering at about 120,000. Hebrew is also listed as one of Iraq’s six languages.

Yet, following the end of the British mandate, the 2,700-year-old Iraqi Jewish community suffered horrible persecution, particularly as the Zionist drive for a state intensified. In June 1941, the Mufti-inspired, pro-Nazi coup of Rashid Ali sparked rioting and a pogrom in Baghdad during the Jewish Feast of Shavuot. Armed Iraqi mobs, with the complicity of the police and the army, murdered 180 Jews and wounded almost 1,000 in what became known as the Farhud pogrom.

Immediately following, the British Army re-entered Baghdad, and success of the Jewish community resumed. Jews built a broad network of medical facilities, schools and cultural activity.

Nearly all of the members of the Baghdad Symphony Orchestra were Jewish. Yet this flourisng environment abruptly ended in 1947, with the partition of Palestine and the fight for Israel’s independence. Outbreaks of anti-Jewish rioting regularly occurred between 1947 and 1949. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Zionism became a capital crime.

In 1950, Iraqi Jews were permitted to leave the country within a year provided they forfeited their citizenship. A year later, however, the property of Jews who emigrated was frozen and economic restrictions were placed on Jews who chose to remain in the country. From 1949 to 1951, 104,000 Jews were evacuated from Iraq in Operations Ezra & Nechemia (named after the Jewish leaders who took their people back to Jerusalem from exile in Babylonia beginning in 597 B.C.E.); another 20,000 were smuggled out through Iran.

In 1952, Iraq’s government barred Jews from emigrating and publicly hanged two Jews after falsely charging them with hurling a bomb at the Baghdad office of the U.S. Information Agency.'

.....

'In response to international pressure, the Baghdad government quietly allowed most of the remaining Jews to emigrate in the early 1970’s, even while leaving other restrictions in force. Most of Iraq’s remaining Jews are now too old to leave. They have been pressured by the government to turn over title, without compensation, to more than $200 million worth of Jewish community property.

The government also engaged in anti-Semitic rhetoric. One statement issued by the government in 2000 referred to Jews as “descendents of monkeys and pigs, and worshippers of the infidel tyrant.”'

26 June 2013 at 23:42  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Corrigan,

'Tell me, David - have you ever run across any Goy who wasn't an anti-Semite?

Off the top of my head, I can say the answer to that question is yes :

1. My uncle and his wife
2. My 5 cousins
3. My 5 cousin's children
4. My business partners
5. My wife's Welsh family
6. My brother's Norther Irish family
7.My sister Ruth's family
8.The local Roman Catholic Priest
9. The local Anglican Rector
10. My neighbour across the road.
11. Mr Chan, who runs the local shop, whom I get my cigs from.
12. The many people whom I come across day to day.

On this blog :

1. Our Host, Archbishop Cranmer
2. Carl Jacobs
3. Ernsty and Tiddles
4. Bluedog
5. Peter D/Dodo
6. Albert
7. Old Jim
8. Cressida De Nova
9.Mr Anon In Belfast
10. Explorer
11. Len
12. Inspector
13.Brother Ivo
14. Sister Tibs
15. Phil Roberts

And anyone else I've failed to mention!

26 June 2013 at 23:59  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Hannah,

Alas Corrigan will always be of the view that Israeli Jews should be relocated to florida & pick oranges for a living (as he said once).

PS- Corrigan, what is the UN going to do with the Irish who colonised various parts of the world and helped themselves to the land, from the indigenous of Australia, the US, Canada etc etc? Should they have to go to Florida as well to pick oranges as well (perhaps room for those noble Roman Catholic Spanish Conquistadors?).

If not, aren't you a bit of an imperialist?

Or Perhaps, as Mr Belfast has suggested you apply double standards to those people you despise (The English, Jews, Protestants)?

27 June 2013 at 00:09  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi David,

And Danjo and Jon (even if they *do* think our religion is ball-o -cks...).

And before Peter D feels the need to quibble about the term 'goy' to us it refers to those who are not Jews or gentiles, although a few people like to make out it is a derogatory term, alas it is the same people who call us 'Kikes' who like to say that.

27 June 2013 at 00:46  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

bROTHER iVO

" ... that without a religious underpinning, war conscientious objection is more "unfair" / less moral than the lawful disinclination to pay more to the Government than is absolutely required."

Does the term "moral" have meaning in a nation where laws have no moral underpinning? Certainly, objecting to war on "moral" grounds would increasingly have no protected status - just as objecting to homosexual marriage will have none.

Legal tax avoidance is legitimate. The law and morality, in the sense of absolute and transcendent right and wrong, are not the same thing in a liberal, secular state.

As for "a tolerance born of Protestant individualism", doesn't this lead inevitably to the erosion of the authority of the Christian Church? Tolerance and individualism are surely the parents of secular, pluralistic liberalism.

Peter D.
(AKA Dodo)

27 June 2013 at 00:48  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Brother Ivo

Apologies for the error in typing your name.

27 June 2013 at 00:49  
Blogger Manfarang said...

No Bruv.

27 June 2013 at 04:58  
Blogger Dorset Rambler said...

david kavanagh

" what is the UN going to do with the Irish who colonised various parts of the world and helped themselves to the land, from the indigenous of Australia, the US, Canada etc etc?"

I can only write confidently of Australia. Agree wholeheartedly that the aborigines were and are abominably treated.

But accusing the Irish of "colonising" the land of my birth is rather like saying that the Tolpuddle Martyrs could only blame themselves for being transported.

27 June 2013 at 08:44  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

We no longer live in that God-fearing, individualistic and tolerant state
OXYMORON

God-fearing automatically means intolerant bigot, I'm afraid.
Prime examples:
Benedict, Calvin, Luther.

All of whom cruelly murdered or encouraged the killing of their opponents.

27 June 2013 at 08:57  
Blogger The Explorer said...

G Tingey:

If 'God-fearing' means 'intolerant bigot', then presumably we can reverse it so that 'intolerant bigot' means 'God fearing'.

On that basis, are we to assume that that Nietzsche (he of the "sickly European herd animal"), Lenin, Zhdanov, Stalin, Pol Pot and Idi Amin (he who expelled the Ugandan Asians) were all God fearing? Ever read 'The Black Book of Communism', and its estimated death tally?

Your "I'm afraid" - you've used it before - puts you in a position of superiority to the rest of us: to whom such thoughts have apparently never occurred. What is the basis for your superiority: unless you think anyone who disagrees with you must either be simple or wrong?

That seems to me pretty much the definition for an intolerant bigot.

27 June 2013 at 09:22  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Brother Ivo,
Back to Tax avoiders.
I knew a Pastor who said you should pay your tithe where you worship. You don't eat at one restaurant he said and then pay the bill at another.
Likewise, a corporation which makes its fat profits out of the British public should not pay its tax in Switzerland or anywhere else it chooses in order to pay less tax.

27 June 2013 at 10:15  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Dorset Rambler,

Oh I'll agree that is a stupid argument, I am aware of the reasons why Irish settled in New York, Australia and Canada, given I do (on my father's side) have Irish heritage.

Thankfully that argument about Irish colonisers is not mine, but that of the person it was addressed to, namely Corrigan... you see Corrigan likes to maintain this historical illusion between the cuddlesome celts (Irish/Scottish- the Welsh don't count in his view) verses the imperialistic English.

You can see that theme in this thread; nonsense of course because 'the british' as a whole founded, led and ran the Empire.

But what our Corrigan also does is to transpose this theme into the Arab-Israeli threads we often discuss here i.e. Jews (the evil English Imperialists of the modern middle east) verses the Arabs (the cuddly celts of the middle east) with Jews in role of the 'colonizers' regardless of the reasons, whys and wherefores of how they arrived in Israel and how Israel came about.

Now from what I can see of your argument, it is stating that the Irish who settled in Australia were not colonisers because they had no choice on where they went and presumably they were not colonisers in New York either, because they were fleeing from famine and bigotry.

I would agree with that and therefore note the parallels with the Irish history of settling America/Australia, with the Jewish return to Israel. European Jewry,homeless and famine ridden, which had only a few years before had been subject to a mass genocide & middle eastern Jewry, which as Hannah's example above shows, also fled due to persecution, not through choice.

So if the Irish weren't colonisers despite settling Australia, Canada and the US, because of the lack of choice and because of the reasons why they ended up there, neither are Jews in Israel colonisers.

27 June 2013 at 10:46  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Even if I accepted your argument, David, may I just point out that the Irish have stopped colonizing; the nasty Zionists haven't. If I steal from you, that would not entitle you to pick Cranmer's pockets to make good your losses. Your beef is with me, not him.

27 June 2013 at 12:44  
Blogger LEN said...

Well the question might be phrased as to whom does the land of Israel belong?. Indeed the whole World?.

So ultimately those who oppose Israel oppose God. The Land of Israel was given by
God to the descendants of Abraham. The Lord appeared to Abram and said,
"To your descendants I will give this land" (Genesis 12:7). The living
God further said to Abraham: I will establish My covenant between Me
and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for
an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after
you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of
your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession;
and I will be their God (Genesis 17:7-8).

(How can this be made ANY clearer?.)

27 June 2013 at 15:55  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Try reading beyond Genesis.

27 June 2013 at 16:40  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Its a way off the main point I think Ivo is making but I do believe there is a strong case that taxation beyond a certain point is theft. And furthermore that government borrowing to fund unearned and unaffordable consumption- to buy votes-is immoral.

But what are honest men and women to do about either iniquity when they are outvoted in a jerrymandered electoral system in which knaves seek power by courting fools for their votes?

I fear that liberal (small l) western civilisation is doomed, and not least due to excessive taxation. If an honest obituary comes to be written it will include a reference to the saying about one person one vote democracy only surviving as long as it takes for voters to believe they could award themselves unearned pay rises. And of course a political class sufficiently depraved to indulge them in this wicked and suicidal conceit.

27 June 2013 at 18:17  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Inspector,

Oh indeed Corrigan is a 'character', as most socialists are.

28 June 2013 at 00:27  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Nick,

There is no atheist socialism in God's good Bible! Now on the subject matter of gifts from God, I think there is clearly a place for wealth creation as a particular gift. Or should we all live in mud huts or whatever?

An ISA is not tax evasion, but merely means that the blood sucking government cannot tax the interest on the savings, furthermore savings encourages thrift, which is put to productive use. The money saved can be loaned to the young folk to buy their first house.

Unlike socialism, which seeks to steal from the better off and waste in on God knows what, our capitalist system allows for all boats to be lifted in the tide.

Wealth generated all round, what?

28 June 2013 at 00:34  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Corrigan,

Jews going to their God given homeland (as Len has told you above) is not 'colonisation', but quite the reverse, I would suggest that the real indigenous population of Israel is simply coming home and attempting to reclaim what had been theirs thousands of years before... no different to you wanting the 'English' out of Ulster eh?

28 June 2013 at 00:40  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 June 2013 at 01:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Corrigan

may I just point out that the Irish have stopped colonizing

They did? When? Did they cease to colonize because all the Irish 'colonizers' returned to Ireland from America? I hadn't noticed a mass migration back to Ireland but perhaps I missed it. The whole 'Law of Return' issue must have bee difficult - deciding who was sufficiently Irish to let back in. Or did they cease 'colonizing' because they ceased to be Irish and became Americans instead? Which is sort of a technical way to avoid the issue.

Now I realize you probably meant "We aren't exporting large groups of our population to foreign lands anymore." (Which I am sure is exactly how the Irish colonizers of the US would have described their situation in 1840.) But I ask because you call the Israelis 'colonizers' whether they were born in Israel or not. So logically the Irish who came to the US in the 19th century should still technically be colonizers.

Perhaps then you should demand we return the North American continent to the Sioux, et al and send everyone else back to Europe. Or Africa. Or Asia. But then where would you put the Jews after you run them out of Israel .. oh, I mean .. build that unitary state of happy coexistence?

carl

28 June 2013 at 01:23  
Blogger Corrigan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 June 2013 at 12:02  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Carl, two points. First, I've already said that the solution I favour for the Israeli problem is a one state solution - like the US. That means that Zionists will have to give up their assumption of racial superiority and entitlement - like the US. Second, you're a creationist; ever since you made that admission, it's been very hard for me to take anything you say seriously.

The initial claim, often submitted by Zionist representatives, that they have a 'right' to Palestine, based on an occupation of two thousand years ago, can hardly be seriously considered
King-Crane Commission, 1919

Lord Lavendon,

Two points for you also (we'll, ahem, count them on our fingers, holding them up like so...)

First, see the quotation above.

Second, selective choice of scripture based on the bias of the day being a Protestant vice, see the quotation below.

And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?


Luke, chapter 23, verses 27-31 (King James version, of course)

So, should we not be blowing up their mountains? You tell me - you're the biblical literalist.

28 June 2013 at 12:06  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Corrigan,

'Zionists will have to give up their assumption of racial superiority and entitlement'

Utter cock of course, given that the first thing the peace loving Hamas would do is to slaughter Jews in Israel, if it ever got control of that area.
'you're the biblical literalist'

Unfortunately for you, I am a wishy washy Anglican; God's own English Church, non of this foreign Italian Church nonsense for me!

I am sure that you do not need my opinion, that is why you have your Priests and Cardinals, so you can be told what the correct meaning is without thinking it through yourself.

Besides which you chaps claim wafers and wine literally become body and blood and that Peter was made the first Pope by Jesus because a single part of the Bible, so one need not take your horror at biblical literalisms too seriously.

Now it is quite gracious of you to be concerned about my use of hands and fingers. Thankfully for you one still raise two fingers quite well, especially making a "v" sign at petty oiks such as yourself, despite some early arthritis.

In fact I am giving you the "v" sign right now.

28 June 2013 at 12:27  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Corrigan

First, I've already said that the solution I favour for the Israeli problem is a one state solution - like the US.

Yes, I mentioned that, you know, right there in my post. As in ...

But then where would you put the Jews after you run them out of Israel .. oh, I mean .. build that unitary state of happy coexistence?

I would favor a money tree growing in my back yard. That doesn't mean I can grow one. You can't hide your position behind an unrealizable objective. There isn't going to be a unitary state solution that doesn't involve a Jewish slaughter. So do you have a second option? Or are you content with the 'Jewish slaughter' outcome?

Second, you're a creationist; ever since you made that admission, it's been very hard for me to take anything you say seriously.

No, no, no, Corrigan. You just don't get this at all. You don't waste a good insult like that on a minor thread like this. You save a line like that for the next time you try to defend Ireland's indefensible war record. It would be ever so much more effective than your usual tactic of sputtering impotent rage.

carl

28 June 2013 at 14:34  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Corrigan,

Well given how you define Jewish immigration to Israel as 'colonizing', I'm guessing the Irish are also still 'colonizing' as well, given the outflow of Irish citizens to various parts of the world, e.g. 300,000 since 2009.

28 June 2013 at 15:03  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Yeah, David, there may be thousands of us "colonizing" the world, but the difference is, we're usually welcome. Maybe that's because we're not stealing anybody's land these days.

As for you, Carl, you really need to get over it and face the fact that we Irish managed to out-American the Americans over the issue of neutrality. As hard as you tried, as desperately as you worked at it, those nasty Axis types just dragged you, kicking and screaming, into the middle of it, didn't they? You shouldn't feel bad about it. I mean, your efforts kept you out of it for two long years, and you never would have gone in at all if the Japanese hadn't bombed you in. Even then, Hitler had to declare war on YOU before you'd take on the Germans. No, you have nothing to feel ashamed of here. You did your best; it's just that we were better at it then you, that's all.

Now, if you ladies will excuse me, I've given you a long enough audience. I'm off on my hols tomorrow, taxi coming at four o'clock in the morning to bring me to the airport so you won't be hearing from me for a couple of weeks. Try to bear up; it's won't be forever.

Sing it with me, folks,

...we're all goin' on a summer holiday...

28 June 2013 at 19:57  
Blogger LEN said...

(Sigh of relief)

Hope he`s not going to Israel.

30 June 2013 at 09:31  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

I trust Corrigan will have a good holiday in Israel then... (!).

30 June 2013 at 23:00  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Corrigan,

Enjoy your break. Here is an alternative song for you to sing :

'As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east.An eye still gazes toward Zion;Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.'

1 July 2013 at 00:15  

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