If I were a lefty

I think I\’d ask Eoin to stop blogging you know. Here\’s the latest.

I have chosen to look at the profit of 8 major UK corporations. In the chart above I focus on HSBC, Vodafone and Barclays. These companies provide safe storage for your money, they loan you credit or in the case of Vodafone they sell you phone and internet access.  Collectively, they made nearly £30bn profit last year but they only paid c.£1.85bn of Corporation Tax.



Double hmm. Looking at the HSBC accounts I can see that the \”tax expense\” is 486 something (page 16), but it looks to me like it\’s 4.8 billion, not the 480 million that Eoin seem to think it is. Or perhaps Eoin is thinking only of the corporation tax which is actually paid to the UK Treasury….a much smaller sum of course  because HSBC is an international company and thus pays tax, as it should, in many different countries. You know, profits made in the US are taxed in the US, not UK?

But do you know why, if I were a lefty, I\’d be begging Eoin to stop blogging?

Look at those two companies at the bottom, Boots and Arcadia.

These are the two companies that UKUncut have been civil disordering about. You know, they\’re the ghastly horrible shits that dodge their due and honourable taxes and thus we should protest about them?

But from Eoin\’s figures they seem to be paying tax at 30%, just as they\’re supposed to.

I really would be having a quiet word with him behind the woodshed you know, I really would, if I were purportedly on the same side as him.


21 thoughts on “If I were a lefty”

  1. What bothers me more is this:

    “Cadbury, Diageo and other companies paid incredibly little tax for various reasons that I do not wish to bore you with. It is more important that you grasp the portion of profits being paid towards tax.”

    This encapsulates so much that is wrong with the way many of the left conduct their debates. It’s effectively saying ‘I’m telling you this is bad. I’m not going to tell you why.. don’t worry your pretty head about that.. just trust me, I know best, and this is bad’

  2. Tim,

    I happy to enter dialogue with you but before I do you need to demonstrate that you can admit when you are wrong.

    You have yet to admit you were wrong about this: when you do, then I will most willingly respond. But until you do, you inspire little confidence that dialogue with you would yield anything but partisan point scoring.


    In fact, it might be nice of you to admit to your readers that your personal targeting of my blog commenced after you lost the argument in the discussion you and I had in the link provided.

    Tim adds: As I’ve said before when you’ve brought this specific point up. I’m absolutely delighted for people to go and look at that comments thread. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest that you want to crow that “you won”. The evidence is there for all to see. From the source you yourself pointed us to, the WHO, the US spends a larger portion of GDP on public sector health care than does the UK. Which is what I said and you denied.

    As to my starting to make fun of your pretentions about then, quite probably. It was that post which I think brought your blog’s existence to my attention I think. I could hardly make fun of you when I didn’t know of you now, could I?

  3. “…you inspire little confidence that dialogue with you would yield anything but partisan point scoring.”

    As opposed to conversations with the likes of you and Richard Murphey..?

  4. …before I do you need to demonstrate that you can admit when you are wrong.

    The arrogance of that statement is astonishing. So Tim must prove himself a worthy moral equal before Clarke will deign to engage with him? Mind-, as Tim says, gargling.

  5. Well, I’ve read the thread and Eoin, in the name of the holy hamster, stop digging. You cannot use estimated spending as proof of spending; it is so wrong that Wrongy the wrongington from Wrongingtonia would consider it foolishly wrong.

  6. Eoin can do anything.

    My own personal favourite is comparing average expenditure with bottom decile income as an evidence that the bottom decile can not live on their income

    (If nothing else it makes you wonder what he thinks the top income decile does with the difference between their income and the average spend)

  7. Unimportant Quibbler

    I really, really don’t get it. Bearing in mind that even a PhD in Irish Feminist History isn’t handed out like confetti, and requires significant investment of intellectual faculties, research-gathering, and argument-crafting.

    Yet the comments thread that Eoin repeatedly links to, presumably because he thinks that it vindicates him in some way and proves that Tim is a tosser who won’t admit when he’s wrong, appears to me to show the opposite.

    I wouldn’t say it was a comprehensive factual demolition of Eoin’s points by Tim (unlike this blog entry, which is a slam-dunk) but Tim makes a good case, and backs it up with hard figures. He doesn’t prove that Eoin is utterly wrong, but does show that there is at least one other viable perspective on the issue, as well as calling the consistency of Eoin’s figures into question, revealing a hole in Eoin’s argument that he never quite manages to patch up (although I suspect he could do so if he went back to carefully scrutinising his own figures, rather than getting into an ad hom smileyfest of an argument).

    In the past, I’ve seen Tim admit when he is wrong. More frequently, I’ve seen him admit that a counterargument is plausible, or that one of his bolder statements requires a degree of qualification. It’s balls to claim that Tim is incapable of rational debate.This is one reason I keep coming back to Tim’s comment pieces, even though I am rarely in agreement with them.

    On the other hand, I have sometimes seen Tim IMO getting figures wrong – generally on matters of interpretation rather than accuracy, but sometimes data quality on stats from non-official sources lets him down (a flaw he makes up for by having a FAR better grasp on ONS and OECD figures than most journos seem to) . I would have no problem with saying Tim had his numbers wrong, if he did. But in the conversation that Eoin keeps linking to, I’m afraid he was flat-out right statistically.

    So if Eoin wanted to try to make the point that Tim is a dimwit, incapable of rational argument or handling real data, and then resorts to personal attacks to avoid talking about the weaknesses in his arguments… there would be FAR better ways to do it than repeatedly linking to a discussion in which Tim stays on-topic and makes a strong argument relying on unequivocally high-quality statistics, to expose weaknesses in a poor argument by Eoin which is based on dodgy statistics. And in which Eoin then resorts to ad hom in order to avoid talking about the holes in his case.

    Repeatedly broadcasting that episode as if it were a high-point in his post-doctoral intellectual career is pure pillock behaviour. Is the man simply incapable of perceiving when he’s making a half-decent case, and when he’s struggling to find a leg to stand on?

  8. Dr Clarke has brought that blog argument up before, and I’m puzzled as to why he thinks it helps his cause.

    Tim used one set of data (WHO) to support his argument, Dr Clarke used another set of data (OECD) that gave a different result. Both sets are from reputable organisations.

    How this is supposed to prove that Dr Clarke is right and Tim is wrong, I don’t know.

    That sort of thing happens often, and we have to examine which dataset is the more reliable for the purpose we’re trying to use it for. But whilst Tim gave reasons why he believed his dataset to be the better, Dr Clark doesn’t even try to do so.

  9. I read the comment thread, and I would say that on the very narrow point they were arguing on , Tim just about edged it, because he showed why his figures were more accurate. Dr Clarke made no attempt to address why the two data sets gave different results.

    Of course the more substantive points are completely against Dr Clarke – if you compare US total spending on healthcare vs UK total spending, they outspend us massively. But who on the left considers the US healthcare system to therefore be ‘better’? Similarly Dr Clarke never addressed the points of why purely extra State spending is ‘good’, with no allowance for what that spending achieves. If all teachers were paid double what they are now, would academic achievement double for example?

  10. While Dr Clarke is here, I wonder if he could explain the data in one of his other posts?

    He has one on “10 economic facts”, number 2 being that the UK had higher growth than the US over the period 1990-2010.

    But the World Bank data says that the US growth was higher over that period, by quite a considerable margin (US growth a third higher than the UK’s).

    Data here (warning; it’s a big, slow file):

    Figures here:
    UK grew from 1.35tr to 2.00tr (48%)
    US grew from 7.97tr to 13.17tr (65%).

    All figures in 2005 dollars (if they aren’t in the same currency, they aren’t comparable).

    So if the World Bank says that US growth was considerably higher, what GDP data is Dr Clarke using to say the opposite?

  11. Why these companies? It wouldn’t be because they happen to fit the dreary left-wing narrative about how companies dodge taxes, would it? Why ignore other large companies in the FTSE-100. It wouldn’t be because they contradict that same narrative?

    This is the very opposite of empirical research. It’s shabby, it’s lazy and, frankly, it’s pathetic.

    And Llolyds? LOL indeed.

  12. *But until you do, you inspire little confidence that dialogue with you would yield anything but partisan point scoring.*

    Partisan point scoring, on the internet.

    Why I never!

  13. *But until you do, you inspire little confidence that dialogue with you would yield anything but partisan point scoring.*

    Partisan point scoring, on the internet.

    Why I never!

    Isn’t that the point of the intertubes? That and pron.

  14. “Quite frankly, as soon as I saw Eoin using multiple smilies in his post, I began to suspect that there might be flaws in his approach to argument.”

    A classic line if ever there was.

  15. So Tim, I read that Liberal Conspiracy article and the comments below….

    Glad to see Eoin can perform a perfect lefty double salco –
    i.e. I’ve put my fingers in my ears, I’m shouting lalala and indulging in Ad hominems when I’m caught bare faced making shit up…

    Still Richie sets the bar so low for competence in economics, I’m sure a guy who’s uni thesis was “Women and Irish Republicanism” can add significantly to this debate…

  16. and how much money does HSBC make in the UK? It is so focused on Asia=-Pac that its UK activbities are a sideline, which is why it survived the UK banking meltdown so effortlessly.

    Similarly, how much of Vodafone’s profits are made outside the UK?

    At the risk of sounding racist, Eoin should go back to his potato farm until he learns about international commerce.

  17. Well, I tried to ask a question on his blog to clarify a point of information (Just a question, politely asked).

    And my comment “disappeared”, says all I need to know about the bloke.

  18. In less than a minute’s googling I could find a number of posts where Timmy not only admits he’s wrong, but updates the original post to point out his wrongness, rather than leave it languishing in the comments.


    So, on to the substantive?

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