Just to be clear about Richard Murphy and the £120 billion tax gap

Just so that everyone knows where this number comes from.

Richard Murphy was hired by the union which junior level HMRC workers belong to. In order to produce a report which justified the reversal of the cuts in the number of HMRC employees which Gordon Brown had ordained following the merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs.

This was the point and purpose of the report and of the hiring of Murphy. It was nothing at all to do with how to make the economy function better, nor how to close a deficit or anything at all like that.

Purely, find a way that we can argue that the merged organisation should not have fewer staff.

Thus all of the recommendations about how to close the tax gap contain “hire more people at HMRC”.

And that really is it.

75 thoughts on “Just to be clear about Richard Murphy and the £120 billion tax gap”

  1. Not sure he was claiming “how to make the economy function better, nor how to close a deficit or anything at all like that.”

    Man gets hired by organisation to write in favour of that organisation.

    So?

  2. “So?”

    It’s now being used as a possible way of closing the deficit, paying for he NHS, delivering the land of milk and honey and a thousand more things.

    Murphy is not the only one doing this. Every lefty from the shadow chancellor down is bleating “tax gap, tax gap”.

    Therefore it is important to know the provenance of the report.

    That is the “so”.

  3. I don’t pay much attention to Murphy’s meanderings all over the economy to invent spurious figures with no basis in fact or in reality, but does he include things like the effect of capital allowances?

    The recent batshit mad report of the 93bn cost of “corporate welfare” produced by that lunatic leftie sociology lecturer Kevin Farnsworth does contain the cost of such tax reliefs.

    In other words, could Murphy’s tax gap be understated if you added in these costs and so will Corby and co add Murphy’s 120bn to (some of) Farnsworth’s 93bn to arrive at an even bigger and more lunatic number?

  4. But this isn’t some genius insight by Worstall. I mean every one knows he has been commissioned by PCS several times.

    abba

    Is it rent-seeking? Please explain.

  5. “Everyone knows” Really? A lot of people treat him as an impartial and unbiased researcher. Even Murphy says that his payment from PCS doesn’t influence his writing.

    BraveFart: someone linked to a Times article which steps through his method. It’s paywalled so I haven’t read it, but apparently it includes double-counting of VAT and use of the wrong tax rate, amongst other howlers.

    God alone knows how much will eventually be quoted as tax avoidance/abuse/subsidy.

  6. @Arnald,

    It’s rent-seeking for the union to go and pay someone to produce “research” used to lobby on behalf of the union to employ more people in the organisation whose staff the Union represents, and thus to gain more members (and money, and power) for the union.

    Surely that’s obvious?

  7. Everyone knows?
    He holds himself out as impartial and unbiased and I’ve not come across him referencing being payed by PCS recently so no declaration of interest on his part.
    He’s claimed when pushed that he hasn’t read farmsworth’s report in any detail so using that number in his writings/pronouncements on his blog the way he has isn’t good. If he used the number in a report he was commissioned to write without studying it then that says a lot about his level of professionalism.

  8. It says on his About page that he has had funding from PCS mainly on the tax gap work.

    It still is politically unbiased.

  9. soarer

    It’s obvious that he is still not willing to ‘fess up and accept that his terminology was bollocks!

    “corporate welfare budget” / “corporate welfare claimants

    I would suggest he’s an idiot but defending his lunacy may in fact be a lot more accurate?

  10. Good to see Lawrence defending the indefensible again – haven’t been to TRUK to see which socialist criminal made it through the comments filter…

    Soarer

    The Farnsworth article is truly desperate stuff – I am pleased to see these clowns floundering after less than fortnight however. The Murphy post on ‘Does the deficit matter’ was a stonker even by his low standards – this is a man who is practically salivating at the prospect of global meltdown – the only chance his policies have of being adopted unless external factors intervene (an invasion by a Courageous State for example) Was watching a clip the film ‘Demolition Man’ which happened to be on a Youtube link at the weekend:

    The line – ‘He’s evil in a way you’ve only read about’ I thought was apposite….

  11. Let’s imagine Murphy is being interviewed on TV as economic adviser to the Leader of the Opposition, and is asked:

    “But isn’t your work on the so-called ‘tax gap’ simply a result of your being hired by HMRC’s trade union to write a report concluding that HMRC needs more staff? This is just lobbying by HMRC staff for more jobs at public expense, and you’re their mouthpiece, isn’t that so?”

    Does anyone think he might respond with anything along the lines of:

    “Well, this is hardly some sort of secret. Yes, I was hired by an organisation to write in favour of that organisation. So what? Everyone knows I’ve been commissioned by PCS several times. It says on my own website that PCS pay me to write this stuff. What’s your point?”

    And you know, not that he ever would say that, but, if he did, that would be a perfectly reasonable reply — up to the moment he became economic adviser to the Leader of the Opposion and started touting his ideas as broad economic policy to address all of society’s ills.

  12. Tim,

    Hahahaha…. You just got dismissed (almost Murph style – “I’ve already pretended to answer these points”) by some financial guru err – sociologist…:)

    Sorry, but it was actually quite funny – that poor chap really does not have a clue!

    Also – freddiededreamer > farnsworth

    “I’m guessing you’ve never run a business, I’m also guessing you haven’t even worked in the real world of business.

    It’s the only thing that could explain eighteen highly selective paragraphs of total bollocks, written with the ignorance knob deliberately turned up to eleven.”

  13. By politically unbiased I mean he is not affiliated to any political party. Sure, he’s left wing, but he’s also a gun for hire.

    Murphy is not a “mouthpiece” for PCS. He merely produced a commissioned report. The PCS has it’s own communications person.

    Just because there is a report, and he stands by that report, does not mean he is lobbying for anything. He isn’t in the PCS. What they do with the report is their business.

    S2

    “a perfectly reasonable reply — up to the moment he became economic adviser to the Leader of the Opposion and started touting his ideas as broad economic policy to address all of society’s ills”

    What has the PCS commissioned report got to do with being an adviser to anyone? So the Corbyn team jumped on a few ideas. He is not part of the Labour Party. Would any on that ‘economic think-tank’ detailed today join the Labour Party, even though they are advising them?

    Surely Worstall would have his gun hired given the opportunity.

  14. Arnald, thanks for that tittle you just gave me. You can be so naive when it suits you, and so cynical when the same facts apply to a different person.

  15. @ Arnald
    “Politically unbiased” in English English means that someone approaches a political topic or discussion or debate in an objective disinterested, but not uninterested, manner.
    Your description of Murphy as “a gun for hire” is altogether too flattering – a gun for hire is risking his life so he has some courage and any surviving member of that category also has some skill.

  16. @Arnald

    So you can be in favour of every policy of the Nazi party, right up to and including the ‘final solution’ and maybe even suggest improvements to the combustion process but so long as you don’t actually belong to the Nazi party you can claim to be politically unbiased?

    That really is descending into the bowels of Murphyisms. You define political neutrality as not belonging to a political party (a definition few would accept) and then hey presto Murphy is politically unbiased.

    Jeez. Hope you’re composing a ballad to the downtrodden tax campaigner unfairly accused of political bias simply because he spent the whole of Corbyn’s campaign to be Labour leader with his tongue so far up Corbyn’s arse that they probably needed a crowbar to prise it out after the election.

  17. “he’s also a gun for hire”

    Nah. To be a gun for hire he’d have to be good. A bad gun for hire won’t last long.

    A cheap whore on the other hand. There’s always a market for a whore, no matter how skanky.

  18. @Arnald.

    Nah, wasn’t comparing you or Murphy to the Nazis, just asking if the same rules applied. So long as you don’t actually BELONG to a party, you can support its ideas and criticise its opponents and still claim to be ‘politically neutral’.

    Is that how it works?

  19. Serwotka –PCS leader– is a Marxist twat. No way in hell would he hire someone to get any result other than the political result he wanted to get ie “greedy rich running massive rip-offs”. If anyone competent had looked at the mess Brown has made of HMRC the report would have been a killer. Neither Murphy nor Serwotka gave a shit about that. Their aim all along is the “rich corporations aren’t paying their fair share ” shit–ie politicking. Serwotka finances his organisation and his sharp suits with his members contributions but when it comes to helping or representing them he is next to useless. His only interest is political meddling and boosting socialist lies. Hence his adoption of a clown like Murphy–who will sling the shit his paymaster wants slinging.

  20. Murph was on the news at 10, described again as an economist. Calling for higher government spending. He actually said “print the money”.

    McDonell gave a dog-whistle speech and ranted about “Amazon, Starbucks, Google, Vodafone and all the rest”.

    But Murph is non-political. Oh yes.

  21. Arns:

    that was a jolly nice try but, forgive me, a bit far fetched.

    If I want a post of mine to slip through Murphy’s net, then I have to butter him up but not too much. And I need to choose an alias that isn’t too outrageous (and all credit to you, you have made that a bit trickier through your remedial re-education programme, if indeed it was you).

    But you really owe it to yourself to be more elegant than to say Murphy is politically neutral if you want to elicit interesting reactions.

    Have we now reached peak-Murphy? I don’t know but we shall miss him when he is repudiated by those who once took him and his sloppy bonkerisms to their bosom and whose party affiliation he ABSOLUTELY DID NOT share.

  22. McDonell gave a dog-whistle speech and ranted about “Amazon, Starbucks, Google, Vodafone and all the rest”.

    Heard that on the radio. It’s brilliant.

    Corbo and his crew are making my wildest dreams come true.

    Mondeo Man – the non-mental section of the population that gave Blair three election victories in a row – ain’t going back to Labour. They’re rubber ducked.

    Their constituency is now limited to the public sector, immigrants, dole scroungers, and the sort of politically correct student wankers who are triggered by Mexican hats. Except in Scotland, where they have their own batshit insane leftist party and show no signs of warming to the weirdy beardy Islington vegetarian.

    Corbyn makes Ed Miliband look like electoral viagra. You could imagine Ed running something – maybe regional manager in a building society. He’d be mocked behind his back by the girls in the office, but he’d probably be quite good at Powerpoint presentations

    Corbo and co. are more like Wolfie Smith as reimagined by Jim Henson. Unless Cameron gets caught with a dead girl or a live pig, Labour’s out of power for another decade at least.

  23. Farnsworth now says he wants.an “informed debate line-by-line. Well, leaving aside that an INFORMED debate would exclude him, what exactly does he think has been going on between ministers, the Treasury and HMRC since…forever?

  24. Re that Farnsworth article. I really don’t get how sociologists, historians etc get away with being taking seriously writing on economics, business or finance.

    I’ve written about footwear tech in industry publications but if I decided to write about medicine or quantum physics or whatever then no one would take me seriously and quite rightly as it would most likely be bollocks.

    What is it about economics, business and finance that makes any fool think they are qualified to write about it?

  25. Ritchie is getting a good education in some things though. In the “Can John McDonnell pull it off” post there was this comment and reply (according to the Google cache):

    Laurence Sybian says:
    September 28 2015 at 10:18 am
    Hey Richard, how come you’re not in the Labour economic advisory committee? You should have been a shoe-in for that given your contribution to Corbyn so far! A terrible missed opportunity to have you drive through your ideas!

    Reply
    Richard Murphy says:
    September 28 2015 at 12:13 pm
    I am entirely happy with John’s choice

    Seems that has now been deleted. His face must have been a picture when someone told him about that name!

    Anyway, i would have thought he would answer something like “I need to stay independent”. No, he just wasn’t chosen. The self proclaimed author of Corbynomics wasn’t chosen to advise Corbyn on Corbynomics.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:M2Egb5xUXnYJ:www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2015/09/28/can-john-mcdonnell-pull-it-off/comment-page-1/+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=hk&client=

  26. Seems like the Telegraph has it slightly different:

    “Richard Murphy, a former tax adviser who claims to be the architect of Corbynomics, has meanwhile told the Telegraph that he turned down the chance to serve on the Panel, adding somewhat grandly: “I’d rather be back in my garden shed thinking big thoughts about the big issues facing the economy.”
    And that, we must hope, is where they will remain.”

    Of course he’s being modest. It’s not a shed. It’s an self contained annexe to his house. An annexe that it took hard tax campaigning from myself to get him to pay council tax on.

  27. “What is it about economics, business and finance that makes any fool think they are qualified to write about it?”

    As long as they say the approved things, they are qualified. See the Pope on “Climate Change.”

  28. > What has the PCS commissioned report got to do with being an adviser to anyone?

    Report commissioned by PCS recommends policy to help PCS: fair enough.
    “Wasn’t this report commissioned by PCS as rent-seeking?”
    “Yeah, and?”
    : Also fair enough.

    Report author then starts claiming that same policies will fix everything for everyone and make the world a better place; policies are adopted by Leader of the Opposition not to help PCS but to fix the country: still fair enough.
    “Wasn’t this report commissioned by PCS as rent-seeking?”
    “Yeah, and?”
    : No. At this point, you need more justification.

    And, to be fair, Murphy recognises this, which is why his response isn’t “Yeah, and?” Yours is.

  29. @Sam Jones,

    No, it’s definitely an annexe. I proved it to Ritchie by showing him the plans for the conversion from a garage by the previous owners. He finally agreed with me and registered it as an annexe for council tax with his local authority – check the VoA site, the annexe is listed there (but only after I challenged him on it).

    The business rate argument is whether its for business use or home business use.

  30. He finally agreed with me and registered it as an annexe for council tax with his local authority

    Nice one 🙂

    Isn’t it interesting though how hard it is to get “tax justice campaigners” to pay the amount of tax that is due?

  31. Arnald,

    > One has to ask why you bothered. You’re a bit creepy. A bit Stasi.

    If pushing for one person to pay the correct legally due amount of tax is a bit Stasi, what is campaigning for tens of thousands to do so?

  32. Hi Larry,

    Just using the information on public record to check someone is paying all the tax that’s due. Y’know, like Ritchie insists of everyone else. Plus I knocked £400 a year off the tax gap!

  33. I’m with S2 on this – I’m sure he realises that he owes Noel big time.

    Someone with his kind of profile simply has to be seen to be getting these things right. He obviously inadvertently slipped up, but which of course – had it continued – would have been no excuse when it came to dealing with HMRC.

    Noel, he must owe you a very large pint down at his local…

  34. PF I think Murph’s views on the various tax amnesties that have been offered by HMRC in the last decade have been that they are a scandal, disgrace etc and getting your tax wrong should be a strict liability offence – ie no attempt to assign blame or responsibility, the mere fact of not paying tax due is an offence no matter how it happened. In this spirit, I am sure that he paid the back council tax for all the years he was in error and imposed penalties and interest on himself in addition.

  35. Well for a start the transparency wouldn’t include individuals snooping on others. That’s what’s creepy about you. It’s obvious from all Scoper’s posts that he’s utterly fixated on Murphy, hell bent, to the extent of rooting through records on some fucking building improvement in his garden..

    Do you do this type of thing a lot? To other people.

    Worse than Daily Mail curtain twitching.

  36. @ Arnald
    Transparency would include your answering my comments. Oh dear, is that too difficult!
    The other point is that most of us hate hypocritical cheats (lots of us hate all kinds of cheats – in one of the local veteran athletics leagues that I attend a few times a year, some of us got so annoyed with a guy who was cheating that the league organisers asked an Olympic-level judge to come to the next meeting, which she did. He stopped cheating in that event and after a year-and-a-bit dropped out of that event while continuing in another event where he wasn’t cheating). It seems OTT to get a national, let alone Olympic, judge to a veterans event but sportsmen (and semi-retired sportswomen) hate cheating.

  37. John77 (your IQ, obviously)

    You rambled:

    @ Arnald
    “Politically unbiased” in English English means that someone approaches a political topic or discussion or debate in an objective disinterested, but not uninterested, manner.
    Your description of Murphy as “a gun for hire” is altogether too flattering – a gun for hire is risking his life so he has some courage and any surviving member of that category also has some skill.”

    You haven’t asked me a question, just some pendantic shit. I don’t give a toss what you type.

  38. @ Arnald
    Can you read? I said “comments” not “question”.
    It appears that you can read when you choose to do so, and your deliberate choice not to read it correctly shows that you lack integrity

  39. number 77

    Are you that full of yourself that you think I should answer some comment made by an anonymous poster.

    you said “answering my comments”

    There is nothing to answer.

  40. Noel Scoper

    I’m almost bowled over by the irony of ‘Lawrence from Guernsey’ describing you as ‘a bit Stasi’ – anyone remember the exposure of the supportive comment on TRUK of one ‘Lavrenty Beria’? I forgot that Arnald doesn’t do irony, or humour, or indeed anything beyond rather witless abuse.

  41. I do all of those Vain_Pathy, except the abuse isn’t witless.

    Spying on an individual is weird. If Worstall put up a post about someone probing into an individual’s private life, you’d all be up in arms.

    Hypocrites.

  42. > Spying on an individual is weird.

    But demanding that the state spy on millions of individuals for exactly the same reason isn’t?

    > If Worstall put up a post about someone probing into an individual’s private life …

    Really? You’re saying that how much tax someone is due to pay is their private life? Not the state’s business, then? That’s interesting.

    Quite apart from tax, buildings aren’t your private life. That’s why there are planning laws. Go on, try building a four-storey tower in your garden without planning permission and then telling the state it’s none of their business because it’s your private life.

    > … you’d all be up in arms.

    Would we? I’m pretty sure I would in some cases and not in others. Depends. In this particular case, we’re talking about a man who publicly attacks others for their failure to pay either the amount of tax the law says is due or, more often, the amount of tax he thinks the law ought to say is due, who demands prosecution and punishment of all such individuals. Checking whether he’s paying his taxes seems fair enough to me. Especially since he wasn’t.

  43. Lawrence

    If you think your bizarre output is either ironic or humourous then you need to up the dose on your meds – as ever your ‘argument’, such as it is, is nonsensical drivel.

    Run along now, I think you need to check Erich Mielke hasn’t been posting on TRUK

  44. S2

    There is no suggestion that the state would spy on individuals. You’re making stuff up. The amount an individual pays in tax is predicated by the democratically elected government. We vote on their manifesto (notwithstanding u-turns and lies and things).

    Individuals expect, rightly, that their affairs remain private to other individuals and only available to the relevant authorities and only within the structure as determined by a democratically elected government.

    Democratically elected.

    The state should have access to information pertaining to companies.

    My complaint against Scoper is that he could be bothered, obsessed as he is with Murphy, to seek out whatever information there is in the public records.

    And Murphy only attacks the systems that can be used to circumvent the democratic mandate. He never has to snoop.

    Like Worstall, he reacts to media stories.

    Some of you are so rabid, poisoned, that you retch at the slightest opinion. Look at the dating Mr X – just look at his output. That’s you, that is.

    So I claim Scoper is odd because he can be bothered to sift for information in order to cast aspersions on another individual.

  45. Lawrence

    On a serious note – why even bother posting here? You know you’re going to be battered and humiliated by your sympathy for a grade one ignoramus masquerading as an expert.

    Your beliefs don’t have a single sympathiser here. You have failed to at any point win a single substantive argument against anyone and are subject to serious (and usually merited) abuse. Much of your writing seems to be (how can I put this charitably?)in need of a proof read prior to it being posted, or is flat out wrong. What is your motivation? Are you some kind of modern day ascetic longing for flagellation?

    Of course (unlike on TRUK) you are free to indulge yourself here with no restrictions – I’m just curious as to why you would put yourself through that? What could you possibly hope to gain?

  46. > There is no suggestion that the state would spy on individuals. You’re making stuff up.

    Actually, I’m not. It was you who described this behaviour as Stasi-like spying. I’m making the case that it isn’t.

    > Individuals expect, rightly, that their affairs remain private to other individuals and only available to the relevant authorities and only within the structure as determined by a democratically elected government.

    Yes, and?

    > My complaint against Scoper is that he could be bothered, obsessed as he is with Murphy, to seek out whatever information there is in the public records.

    In the public records? You mean, within the structure as determined by a democratically elected government?

    What Noel did is not spying. It is checking public records to determine how much tax an individual should pay. This is exactly the same as what HMRC do and what Murphy wants them to do more of. Either it’s spying or it’s not. I say it’s not. You say it’s just like the Stasi.

    I suppose you could make the case that only the state may enforce the law and individuals must never do so for some reason. Thing is, though, you didn’t compare Noel to a stalker or a gangster; you compared him to the Stasi. So it was, again, you who explicitly made the comparison with government behaviour.

    As for leaving law enforcement to the authorities… well, friend of mine’s a special constable. I don’t think she’s Stasi-like either. It always struck me as more of a positive thing, to be admired. Sense of civic duty, you know.

    > Look at the dating Mr X – just look at his output.

    Honesty, I’d rather not. If you can stand to read it, OK, go for it. Enjoy. I don’t.

    > That’s you, that is.

    I think Ecks actually agreed with me about something the other day, and he pointedly commented at the time that that was highly unusual. I have to wonder what weird vantage point you’d need to stand on to see him and me as essentially the same. We disagree about almost everything. I think you’re just displaying a massive failure of basic reading comprehension here.

  47. For the record, I disagree with VP. A forum full of people telling each other how right they are would be terribly boring. Glad to have Arnald here, and anyone else who disagrees with any of us about any things.

    He’s right about terrible writing, but then that applies to some of the right-wingers here as well.

  48. Squander Two

    I agree with you – I don’t want an echo chamber and make the point that unlike TRUK there is no comments policy to eliminate dissenting opinion- my point on Lawrence being all he seems to contribute is wholesale abuse, odd attempts at humour and badly edited non sequiturs. He then gets a barrel load of abuse and made to look an imbecile. What is his motivation?

    That’s the point that I was making – I agree the relative variety of comments makes this forum far more interesting than TRUK, even if most of them are from the Right side of the political spectrum – the one thing I would say is that when the target is Murphy you will tend to get a lot of comments agreeing, partly on the grounds that almost every utterance from him is so idiotic it would be a strange person indeed that would agree with it!

  49. Van_Pants

    Hardly humiliated you pompous fool.

    Again, my writing is correct, save for the odd omitted word or typo, we’re all guilty of that, it is the reader who fails to understand. But then you’re so staid, it’s to be expected.

    I have no real motivation, but I do enjoy a bit of brangling and fratching, and also laughing at the more deranged of the posters here.

    Bigotted libertarians. Who have thought?

  50. PF

    We’re really not talking about the security services.

    S2

    My point I’m making is that it’s still an effort that cries out obsessive simply for a cheap attack. I find it odd. So what?

    HMRC do not have the right to impinge on individuals privacy without the necessary authority.

    And for christsakes I said “it’s a bit Stasi”.

    The dating Mr X is Mr Ecks, obvs.

  51. > And for christsakes I said “it’s a bit Stasi”.

    And, for Christ’s sake, I replied to what you wrote.

    > I find it odd.

    Is that what you think the thing about the Stasi was? That they were odd?

  52. Lawrence

    If you can come out of the numerous exchanges here thinking you have retained much dignity I can’t cure you of that derangement.

    Still, whatever floats your boat I suppose – on this blog at least comments are permitted. For that you should be grateful.

  53. S2

    I didn’t say it “is just like the Stasi”. So you didn’t respond, you didn’t understand. I was using Stasi as an adjective. I’ll give you the ‘spying’ pedantry, but the adjective implied prying with malicious intent. It’s not fucking difficult.

    “Is that what you think the thing about the Stasi was? That they were odd?”

    You know damn well I didn’t say that. It’s perfectly clear what I meant.

    Van_Dervalk

    blah blah comments policy. blah blah isn’t Worstall great.

    Dignity? 99% of the posters here hide behind their anonymity. Is it dignified to be a coward? What do I have to lose. The fact that you can think that there are “winners” and “losers” on a forum populated by who knows who, shows you up as feeling superior. Are you like that in real life? Idiot.

    And yes, I post using a handle, but I was outed nearly ten years ago by some fucking snooper in Guernsey who didn’t approve of me saying that there were significant regulatory failings in the finance industry.

    It was a bit Stasi, especially as they contacted my boss and lobbied to get me sacked. But that’s Guernsey for you.

    I would be intrigued if any of you cowards would stand by your historical comments if you posted under your real name.

  54. Arnald,

    You say a colleague disclosed your name 10 years ago.

    It’s obviously not my business, but anyone can change their on-line “bits” any time they want? Job done.

    And if you don’t care, ie, happy to continue using Arnald, then why care originally? My apologies if I am being slow?

  55. > I didn’t say it “is just like the Stasi”. So you didn’t respond, you didn’t understand. I was using Stasi as an adjective. I’ll give you the ‘spying’ pedantry, but the adjective implied prying with malicious intent. It’s not fucking difficult.

    The adjective implies prying with malicious intent by the state on thousands of people. What else can it imply? Even without the numbers, it obviously implies by the state. And you, while making this criticism, have no problem at all with the state doing the exact same thing — in fact, you approve. If you objected to anyone doing it, the state included, it would be a reasonable choice of words. Since you don’t, you picked a really bad adjective.

    I refer you to my original answer:

    If pushing for one person to pay the correct legally due amount of tax is a bit Stasi, what is campaigning for tens of thousands to do so?

    There is also a difference of degree. It’s like describing a date rapist as “a bit Japanese in Nanking”. Some people might say that was so hyperbolic it was offensively ridiculous. But they both raped, right? So what’s the difference?

    > I was outed nearly ten years ago by some fucking snooper in Guernsey who didn’t approve of me saying that there were significant regulatory failings in the finance industry. It was a bit Stasi, especially as they contacted my boss and lobbied to get me sacked.

    For the record, anyone who does that is a cunt. There is at least one person round these parts who seems to delight in crowing “Ha ha ha, I found out your real name and I’m going to keep telling everyone!” and I have no hesitation in agreeing with you that that person is an arsehole. And I’ve told them as much before.

    > I would be intrigued if any of you cowards would stand by your historical comments if you posted under your real name.

    Been there, done that.

    Incidentally, I use the name “Squander Two” for the opposite of anonymity: there are millions of Jos and Josephs, but only one Squander Two.

  56. S2

    I use Arnald for the same reason. There can’t be many (maybe in Scandinavia).

    As for adjectives, I’ll agree and disagree. People do say “a bit rapey” or “a bit paedo”. The “a little bit Stasi” was aimed at one person who was curtain-twitching and snitching. You are inferring something that really isn’t there and being far too literal. It was meant to be insulting, but I’ll agree that if it causes you to meander along the lines that I’m referring to GDR crimes, then yes, it’s a bad adjective.

    But that’s my prerogative, as it is yours to over-complicate things.

    I don’t know of anyone who condones the actual Stasi, and certainly I don’t approve of poking the state’s nose into private affairs. I’m repeating myself on this. I’m not sure where you get that from. It’s companies that need to be transparent, individuals can be innocent until proven otherwise. I still don’t know why you are supporting someone who’s motives are borne of spite. It was hardly an altruistic act. Yeah, yeah funny consequence, but that wasn’t the intention and you know it wasn’t.

  57. > I still don’t know why you are supporting someone who’s motives are borne of spite.

    Supporting him? I said he’d done Murphy a huge favour — in other words, it was bad idea.

    Murphy has chosen to make himself a public figure. He’s a tax campaigner, who attacks and publicly criticises the tax affairs of others. So his tax affairs are fair game. He made them so. By choice.

    I also think it’s generally no-one’s business what others get up to in their bedrooms, but a preacher who publicly condemns and campaigns against immoral sexual practices makes himself a completely legitimate and fair target of kiss-and-tell rent-boy sting operations. Although, of course, kinky sex mostly isn’t illegal. Unlike tax-dodging. Perhaps an anti-drug crusader who does a bit of coke would be a better comparison.

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