Monday, 1 March 2010

Blue Arrangements

Can't say I'm as shocked as Toby Helm is about the Ashcroft admission - surely today's announcement only confirms what everyone suspected all along? - but he does a pretty thorough job of explaining just why it matters. His article also highlights the extent to which senior Tories simply 'don't get it'. (See the Zac Goldsmith affair for another case study).

About time the Electoral Commission got its act together to decide whether Ashcroft's company is a valid donor too, or is it just a front, through which Ashcroft's overseas money is channelled? And just what influence does Ashcroft have on Tory foreign policy? Questions, questions... Shame Cameron and Gordon aren't going head to head at PMQs this week, but I imagine Harriet will have a few things to ask Mr. Hague.


SteveL said...

I'm pretty unhappy with the whole story, but you have to agree: better to come out before the election.

One question though, don't MP's avoid paying tax on some things too? Like MP salary, or is it just beer and wine in the many parliamentary bars?

Kerry said...

Of course we pay income tax on our salaries, and are also taxed on any assets we acquire with our allowances, e.g. in my first year as an MP I paid hundreds of pounds in tax when I bought extra computers for the office, even though they're not my property and I can't keep them. Beer etc is taxed in normal way.

I'm told by a West Midlands MP that the price of a pint in the Strangers Bar is the same as in his local Labour club - £2.10. 50% of that would be profit. So it might be cheap compared to Central London tourist traps, but it's not tax-free.

SteveL said...

OK, so it's only the royal family and some members of the House of Lords who get away with special arrangements with the Inland Revenue. I shall remember that.

Of course, our local councillor, Shirley Brown, probably doesn't pay UK tax either, on account of her being in the US for most of the year. She may have to pay US tax on any UK income.

Glenn Vowles said...

We need further and more radical changes in the rules on party funding. Small numbers of very rich individuals should not have undue and unfair influence on the democratic system.

Edward Green said...

Whenever I am confronted with tabloid views of who should be 'allowed into the country' I always reply with a cutting remark about non-dom's.

Taxation is a part of citizenship. I am proud to pay my taxes and be part of a social democracy. For those of us better off (being above UK average household income) this is only the begining of our social responsibility, as One Nation Tories also recognise. I am aware that such Conservatives share my distaste for Ashcroft's arrangements.

I can't make any judgement over Ashcroft's generosity to social causes, but paying taxes that support education for all, infrastructure, health care and much maligned but vital social services surely should be part of our civic duty in a democratic society.

Ashcroft must decide if he wants to be part of it or not.