The Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive adopted by the European Union on 20 June 2016 sent a cold chill up the spines of the rich, elite and powerful who own and run Britain.
The directive setting out rules against tax avoidance within the internal market went further on 25 October 2016 by adding an anti-abuse measure to prevent companies from exploiting variations in national regulations to avoid tax.
The Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive contained five legally binding anti-abuse measures, which all member states would by law have to apply from 1 January 2019.
- Controlled foreign company rule: to deter profit shifting to a low/no tax country.
- Switchover rule: to prevent double non-taxation of certain income.
- Exit taxation: to prevent companies from avoiding tax when re-locating assets.
- Interest limitation: to discourage artificial debt arrangements designed to minimise taxes.
- General anti-abuse rule: to counteract aggressive tax planning when other rules don’t apply.
Tax Avoidance Trickery
Britain joined what was then called the Common Market in January 1973 under Conservative Premier Edward Heath. For close to forty years, free movement of goods and people within Europe had appeared to be to the advantage of everyone – businessmen, exporters, importers, scientists, tourists, students …
When Europeans first talked seriously about fighting tax avoidance in 2013, the rich with their offshore trusts and canny lawyers began having sleepless nights. Headlines about the EU making laws detrimental to the sovereignty of the United Kingdom suddenly began to appear in the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Express, the Sun and The Times. They told us immigrants – code for black and brown people – were piling into our overcrowded small island to take advantage of our welfare state and generosity.
The true battle was for the soul of the Conservative Party – the moderates with their streak of noblesse oblige and the swivel-eyed extremists with their libertarian hatred of rules, regulations and the welfare state. To end the war tearing the party apart, David Cameron conceived the Brexit referendum. From the fields of the Eton Ball Game to the dreaming spires of Oxford to the polished door at No 10, he had never in his golden life envisaged nor imagined defeat.
Cameron’s lacklustre campaign was countered by an endless stream of brilliantly calibrated perjury and distortion repeated ad infinitum in the media – an extra £350 million a week for the NHS, 80 million Turks with the right to move to the UK, a bonfire of red tape and bravura performances by beer-swilling Nigel Farage, Liar King Boris Johnson and his personal Rasputin Dominic Cummings, who came up with with the ambiguous slogan Take Back Control.
The Feared Foreigner
Working people downtrodden by years of Tory neglect and deceit thought they were taking back control of their hopes and dreams, their life chances, when their rulers and owners, liberated finally from the oversight of the European Union, would take control of every law and bend it to their own advantage – the right to strike, the right to congregate, human rights, working rights. The only red tape on the bonfire was that protecting working people.
After Brexit, according to Will Hutton in The Guardian, the government had greater powers of voter suppression, the ability to ensure all trustees and chairs of public bodies were Conservative, the end of ministerial accountability ‘and all couched in a language of defiant nationalism so that critics can be dismissed as un-British friends of the foreigner and outriders for wokedom.’
Millions who voted Leave did so convinced that it would stop black and brown people arriving on our shores, when Brexit would only control free movement of people within Europe. Immigrants from Africa and the Middle East were not affected by the change and the same two routes remained available to them: applying for a visa or risking their lives clinging under trains, in the back of refrigerator lorries and in rubber boats across the Channel.
The success of the Leave Campaign in the referendum on 23 June 2016 came three days after the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive became law in Europe.
Those who breathed a sigh of relief were the Russian oligarchs, South American drug lords, American hedge fund managers and ex-politicians on the run with suitcases full of cash. As did Rishi Sunak, Jacob Rees-Mogg (who moved his company HQ to Dublin), the billionaire 4th Viscount Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail, Australian-born, American based Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Sun and The Times.
In ‘the money-laundering capital of the world’ it was business as usual. Lax laws for the rich. Harsh laws on the poor. The continued destruction of the NHS, always despised by the Brexit extremists, the evisceration of the BBC and Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘… known for his eccentric anachronisms and far-right views,‘ signing a contract to host his own TV chat show on GB News against, of course, the Ministerial Code.
The nurses, teachers, firefighters, social workers, supermarket workers, probation officers, street cleaners, delivery drivers and all the people who work hard and care for us have been silenced in a sea of lies while Tory politicians and the rich tax dodgers who support them have turned Britain into the ‘Poor Man’ of Europe with millions of poor men and women earning too little to feed and support their families.
The money that shifts through cuts and austerity measures from the poor to the rich does not trickle down, it gushes offshore to the Cayman Islands, Panama, Belize, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Channel Islands …
Why there aren’t riots in the streets up and down the country is a mystery.
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