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How cruel of The Guardian

Only a single day after Ritchie cancels his subscription to The Guardian because it is now too right wing the paper responds!

In the space traditionally reserved, and hallowed by tradition, for a piece of Ritchiebollocks, a quote from the Lord High Tax Denouncer himself, we now have an imposter!

Tax campaigner Jolyon Maugham QC welcomed the proposals, saying: “HMRC have arrived at the conclusion that there is only so much that they can do with the law. They want to change the way businesses think about their tax obligations. They are thinking about non-legal pressures on companies in engaging in socially destructive behaviour.”

The government is expected to take similar steps to discourage aggressive tax planning by wealthy individuals and their advisers, said Maugham.

Ehu fugaces, tempus fugit and black is the new black, eh?

71 thoughts on “How cruel of The Guardian”

  1. They are thinking about non-legal pressures on companies in engaging in socially destructive behaviour.”

    The government is expected to take similar steps to discourage aggressive tax planning by wealthy individuals and their advisers . . .

    What the feth are you guys *doing* over there?

  2. I suppose it really would be far too simple simply to rewrite the tax code so it fits on one piece of paper, and then sack 100s of thousands of non-value-adding tax lawyers, consultants, accountants and above all revenue men so they can go and do something useful instead such as digging holes ion the road and filling them up again.


  3. Ritchie has written a further post on the same theme this morning, this time mentioning the editor directly
    Something has happened for sure.

  4. “HMRC have arrived at the conclusion that there is only so much that they can do with the law.”

    If that’s where you start talking, you can just fuck right off.

  5. Is it possible that Our Murph of Sainted and Hallowed Memory refused, in a fit of ill-placed pique, to give the neoliberal rag a quote?

  6. Some good comments on his blog from yesterday:

    “Oskar Groening says: July 23 2015 at 7:19 pm I like the way Corbyn talks to Sinn Fein and Hamas etc. For him life seems to be about letting go of the sins of the past. If only we had a German Prime Minister who was so forgiving, life now would be so different.”

    Roger Mellie says: July 23 2015 at 2:54 pm Corbyn would be an excellent leader. He comes across well on TV.


  7. “Big businesses should agree to renounce aggressive tax planning, says HMRC”

    Should? And if they don’t?

    “…sign a voluntary code of conduct on tax….Big businesses would also be obliged to publish an annual tax strategy…”

    Ah. There we go. Partially voluntary, until its not. Is this document a “legal” one, in the sense that they *must* adhere to it, or is it more akin to a forecast or sales brochure? As in “not legally binding”.

    “still a small number of businesses which simply do not play by the rules – persistently engaging in tax avoidance or highly aggressive tax planning”

    A masterclass on contradiction contained within a single sentence. And again – collective punishment to capture the “small number” of miscreants.

    “seek to work in accordance with the spirit – in addition to the letter of the law”.
    No really HMRC. I totally intended to hand over that £500m in employee contributions. But you know….Best laid plans etc.

    “publish whether the UK group has an effective tax rate, what that rate is, and what measures the business is taking to maintain or reach this target”

    Tax rate Target?

    “Those who refuse to publish a tax strategy would face sanctions.”
    Ah – there it is.

    “HMRC will consider whether the tax returns and claims received from a business are in line with its strategy, and if they are materially inconsistent”
    Comparing indivdual trees to the forest. Good job they have the resources to…oh. Better increase the budget please, Dave.

    “HMRC believes having companies publish their tax strategies could bring in about £65m a year in extra receipts.”
    Not from me the wouldn’t, if I ran something with a turnover >£200m. That strategy report, from overseas consultancy firm, won’t come cheap.

  8. “having companies publish their tax strategies”

    If I ran a company its tax strategy would be to pay all tax that is due under the law.


  9. The consultation HMRC published on this is absolutely ridiculous and this article that follows is simply following that absurdist trend.

  10. Jolyon is an admitted leftist, but it is nice to see that the Guardian has a columnist who really can be called a tax expert.

  11. Benford’s Law will flag up dodgy or “optimised” tax returns pretty easily. You don’t need 60,000 taxmen, you need a big computer. Which HMRC has already got.

  12. Ironman

    I think you are definitely on the right track here – he has obviously thrown his toys out following a dispute with the paper! However, it does illustrate he is really in the realms of ‘conspiracy theorist central’ now – the idea that the Guardian is ‘neoliberal’ really is so absurd that anyone holding it needs to be straitjacketed and sectioned, as much for their own protection as that of society – batshit insane – even by TRUK standards.

  13. I was just reading about Oskar Groening – certainly according to wikipedia (yees quite), he seems to have been not altogether a dishonourable or evil man, quite the opposite of Mr Murphy who is a loathsome excrescenecne (or something I am sure you understand what I mean)

  14. Can you be sure that Jolyon Maugham really exists? If he really is a barrister why would anyone use his services? It would be like employing as a defence counsel someone who wants to put you behind bars. Also, can someone that stupid be a qualified lawyer?

    The idea of a lawyer who doesn’t believe in the rule of law confuses me. I know that being lefty requires stupidity and a desire to control other people’s lives and possessions, but how can he handle the contradiction of being a lawyer who doesn’t believe in the law without suffering some kind of mental breakdown?

  15. Jolyon Maugham QC

    What a wonderfully English name.

    I expect him to star as a bumbling, but kind-hearted, barrister in a gentle Ealing comedy.

  16. They are thinking about non-legal pressures on companies in engaging in socially destructive behaviour. There go all the Green energy levies then.

  17. @Jack C

    Murphy not spotting Bree is yet another example of Murphy’s disconnect with the real world as inhabited by most of us. If it was just her then fine but Roger Mellie and so many others.

    I can imagine him having no social conversation at all. The kind of bloke you can’t wait to get away from at a party or in a pub.

  18. “The idea of a lawyer who doesn’t believe in the rule of law confuses me.”

    Don’t know what Maughams qualifications are but I don’t think you have to be a lawyer to become a barrister.

  19. Jonathan, you do. (You can do a degree in wymyns studies if you wish, but then you have to do a one year post grad law course before Bar School.)

  20. It’s almost worth it for me to start to revisiting Murphy’s site but only to see the comments and posters’ names that he’s failed to spot are piss-takes – almost.

    I really hope I’m witnessing early onset senility there.

  21. As has been noted before, Ritchie has a habit of seriously pissing off what ought to be his natural allies, probably by being a complete self-absorbed twat even when amongst what briefly pass for his friends. I suspect the same thing has happened here.

  22. BraveFart

    I did wince when someone put Luis Garavito on the comments – that’s close to the knuckle!

  23. VP

    LOL! I had to look up Luis, but who with any reasonably wide common knowledge could fail to spot that Bree’s comment below is a wind up? His blog is descending into utter farce! Maybe Murphy Richards is finally making a return in a different capacity?

    Bree Olsen

    They talk of the greasy pole. Well, Jeremy has both hands on it and is giving it a good yank. I think he could pull it off.

  24. Eh, I just assumed all of the comments on Lionel’s blog were from trolls.

    Like a competition to see who can get the stupidest remarks past his moderation.

    Where is Arnald anyway?

  25. AndrewC’s earlier comment is spot on. It would be fascinating to see HMRC applying sanctions to a company which has fully complied with its tax strategy of “paying 100% of the tax required to be paid under UK law”.

    The letter of the law should, in theory, be precise and objective and if it is not that is the fault of the lawmakers. The spirit of the law is a nebulous, subjective concept meaning different things to different people, who gets to decide if the spirit has been complied with?

  26. “Bree Olsen says: July 23 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I usually look for some BBC action at these times. I wish!”

    Hahahaha I almost fell off my chair. Missed that first time round!

  27. DocBud

    That is the whole crux of his argument – that while Amazon (for example) are abiding by the letter of the law they are clearly not abiding by its spirit (whatever the F*&k that is?) It’s pure ‘law of the guillotine’ stuff – in answer to your I imagine hypothetical question – Murphy is the arbiter – as the representative of ‘civil society’.


    Sadly the ‘big four’ – Horrocks, Wilcox, Dickie and Reed – all approvers of mass murder, are not trolls and are deadly earnest about their contentions that, for example Len Mccluskey is ‘the political centre’ , communism was ‘an unfortunate series of small mistakes’ and other such contentions!

  28. Also from Bree:

    “This is that while support for Corbyn is rooted in a thorough and objective analysis of the facts, the disgraced and disgraceful neo-liberal lickspittles on the other side can only offer name-calling and insult.”

    This, truly, is sledge-hammer irony. I’m quite chuffed it got through.

  29. Jack C,

    TW doesn’t allow only personally approved posts to be published; all appears to be fair game. So the joke wouldn’t be on him anyway.

  30. He’s on to Bree sadly.

    Today’s Tox Dadger front page has:

    “British Based. British Owned”

    Will they come out for UKIP soon?

  31. Are you sure you’ve got cause and effect the right way round? Maybe he heard through the grapevine that an article was being published with someone else’s quote, and that’s why he threw a hissy fit.

  32. Anyone taking the credit for the piece by Bella Cohen on the Green New Deal post in TRUK – absolutely priceless! He really does not have a clue – about anything!

    I truly feel he is on the verge of having a final stroke which will lead to his actual demise – I don’t think have ever seen a more thin-skinned, hot tempered individual even amongst the Legions of Twitter trolls and SJWs – truly a remarkable man!

  33. I think this exchange is a true classic:

    Jolly Farmer: Very amusing. You advocate an education that enables people to express themselves clearly in one of the most poorly written pieces I have encountered for a considerable time. – See more at:

    Murphy: I agree it wasn’t my best

    But there will be 2 million reads of this blog this year

    I am not panicking

    Murphy: I doubt Jolly Farmer has a book deal with Random House

  34. But now on Twitter RM arm in arm with Aditya Chakrobortty, against J Maugham, on DFID and spending.
    So some parts of G may not have gone over to the Dark Side.

  35. He’s getting 65 grand a fucking year in grants now. Jeez, someone has been suckered in big time!

  36. “Both make provision for me to engage assistance to undertake the work. Both organisations have agreed that an appropriate income benchmark for my work is that of a UK university professor.”

    One guess who that will be!

  37. @Noel Scoper

    Nauseating isn’t it. Who’d have though spouting ignorant shyte could be so lucrative. I bet he doesn’t even return it as taxable.

  38. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Christie: either that or Arsenald got Murphy’s knob out of the back of his throat long enough to stitch them up.

  39. @AndrewC

    His funders seems to also fund NEF and The New Weather Institute (Andrew Simms) so spouting this stuff is easily funded.

    Amusingly, the rules for Provident Friends of whatever say that can’t fund individuals (so the LLP is not for tax avoidance, but for grant acceptance, or maybe the reason to fund Prem Sikka as well) and also they can’t fund work already done. Since Ritchie’s work is all cut and paste, that requirement should fail as well.

  40. “Will you also be adhering to the expected standards of a UK professor – publishing source data, explaining methodology, engaging with critics?

    Richard Murphy says:

    You clearly have not noticed what I do, all the time”

  41. BiCR

    mops wine from keyboard…

    His latest thread – where he says he’s not going to bother to moderate for a while?

    Does that mean no one can post, or that anyone can post?

  42. PF

    What a tool – he has turned the comments off. I predict It will last about two days. Without the adulation of ignorant lickspittles like Arnald (or’Lawrence of Guernsey ‘) what is his purpose?

    That said it’s a superb effort by people on this site – his pretensions to free speech, already absurd are exposed as a total sham here! Great work by all involved!

  43. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Perhaps it’s a Prague Spring kind of thing, so counter-revolutionary elements and splittists feel able to come out of the woodwork, and then they can be identified for purging.

  44. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Argh, VP, crossed in the ether. No fawning toadies to stroke his vanity for 48 hours? I imagine him sat in a corner somewhere sweating and shivering and hugging himself as the withdrawal symptoms set in.

  45. There is of course the pleasure of imagining him running the names of apparent fawning toadies and lickspittles through Google to discover yet another mass murderer or sexual perversion.
    And although Sue Queef has been banished, her cousin Fanny Fart is ready to take up the baton when things have settled down a bit.

  46. Diogenes, I tried to follow up with another comment but it seems that I am barred. No explanation.

    Does a crap writer know that he/she is a crap writer?

  47. He’s been down this route before: switching off comments and banning people. Thing is, he only has about five regulars. He’ll be denouncing them as neo-feudalists before the week is out.

  48. Bloke in Costa Rica/ GlenDorran

    That is an amusing mental image – the idea that unless a comment is from an innocuous name he will have to Google them all to see if they are either from the Profanisaurus or some Courageous State functionary of old, however he is in a quandary. Furthermore, his reading of this blog has been exposed by the ‘holiday for the trolls’ post as well as the response to Maya Forstater, despite Tim being banned for life from TRUK.

    It puts him in a fearful dilemma. He claims ownership of the title ‘leading economics blogger in the U.K.’ (I’d say Frances Coppola would be that now if her Forbes reads are factored in to Coppola comment) but that is entirely dependent on the various sycophants who litter the comments board (GlenDorran -probably about ten, excluding the ‘Gang of four’ – Horrocks,Wilcox, Dickie and Reed) so either he puts the comments up and he will undoubtedly be ‘trolled’ -but if he failsto put them up, it defeats the object of his absurd but much vaunted comments policy. As I say, a great victory for this site and others opposed to his appalling ‘vision’ – he is exposed as an even more pathetic figure now, for example, than he was on his famous excursion into the Maugham blog where comments from Tim, Pellinor, Christie and ironman blew his arguments out of the water. Now he is unable to even cope with supportive comments, lest their author be revealed as pseudonymous – truly great work.

  49. @VP

    “Now he is unable to even cope with supportive comments”

    This seems to be true, a couple of posts in innocuous names, but fawning in their support of the Ritchie line have been deleted. The new blog comment policy is “if your name’s not down, you’re not coming in”.

  50. It is interesting he states “deliberate trolling” rather than simply just “trolling” which suggests he considers anyone who genuinely disagrees with him as a troll.

    Also Ritchie… there hasn’t been an increase of it of late, it’s just that you have only just found out about it you fucking thick potato headed tosser.

  51. Chez Ritchie:

    “I’m going to make us some tea”

    Mrs Ritchie: “no thanks, I’d like a coffee”

    “Neo-liberal troll! Your disagreement is revealing your true beliefs! Future comments will be ignored!”

    Mrs Ritchie: “go have a lie down dear”

  52. Have you ever said Ritchie’s comments about “deleting” people in a Dalek voice? it works well. he’s like a tax Davros.

  53. @Interested

    Thanks, I didn’t know that. It’s just that I have a barrister drinking acquaintance and I know his degree was English.

  54. I understand that Mrs Ritchie is not currently practising as a GP for health reasons. Maybe he needs to get someone else in to administer his Largactil/rectal Diazepam as required.

  55. Ms Sue Queef is thinking of sending a valedictory postcard to his home address. I wonder if any other of his discarded friends are similarly minded . . .

  56. Now that the Guardian aren’t paying him any more I wonder if he will start criticising their tax planning?

  57. Jolly Farmer, the question is who has the gig to draw pornographic drawings for his forthcoming wank classic, The Joy Of Tax?

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