Candid neoliberalism of the day

MarkB says:
December 20 2015 at 8:18 pm
Suggest that the Observer learn the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion..

What criminal activities by corporates have gone unpunished?

Why should we want to limit ‘Tax avoidance’ if that avoidance is entirely consistent with the tax rules set out by Parliament?

Reply
Richard Murphy says:
December 21 2015 at 8:34 am
Go and read the General Anti-Abuse Rule

William Gates says:
December 21 2015 at 8:56 am
You didn’t answer MarkB’s question – what criminal activities have gone unpunished?

Richard Murphy says:
December 21 2015 at 10:56 am
When someone’s morality is defined by the law you know they have ceased to be a moral agent

Yeah, but criminal activity is defined by the law.

33 thoughts on “Candid neoliberalism of the day”

  1. Ritchie rants at Apple today…

    “PS I abandoned Apple when buying my latest phone”

    So unless he’s gone back to a Nokia 3310, I assume he’s on something running Google Android or Microsoft phone? Which company does he hate the least?

  2. dearieme

    A ‘moral agent’ in this context is someone who agrees wholeheartedly with everything Richard Murphy says or does, and is not bothered by vague details like ‘the Law as it is’ but rather concerned with Murphy’s conception of what ‘civil society’ should be.

    Examples of moral agents include the ‘Big four’: Andrew Dickie, Ivan Horrocks, Howard Reed and Carol Wilcox. However, if you look hard enough through the comments sections you will see other examples – Erich Mielke, Manuel Pineiro and indeed Baxter Basics MP. Arguably the leading example of a ‘moral agent’ in the Murphyite context, the late Lavrentiy Beria:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavrentiy_Beria

    he was unfortunately removed from the comment pages by the nefarious activities of one of Murphy’s pet stool pigeons but he was nevertheless a classic ‘moral agent’ who believed in both ‘The Courageous State’ and ‘The joy of tax’ in equal measure……

  3. Morality is a matter of opinion. For example some people think sex outside marriage is wrong others don’t.
    What is important is what is legal.

  4. There is a process to turn what you believe is unfair into illegal. Until then the actions are permitted. It’s the very basis of English Law.

    Adding religious and moral dimensions to tax is as reprehensible as evasion. And the key word in Ayrshire is ‘honestly’. Use of the tax system is honest.

  5. “When someone’s morality is defined by the law you know they have ceased to be a moral agent”

    Vigilante Murph

    Aha – Murphy is Batman! I knew it all along.

  6. “So unless he’s gone back to a Nokia 3310”

    Well, I have. You can buy reconditioned ones on Aliexpress for about $11 shipped.

  7. “PS I abandoned Apple when buying my latest phone”

    Funny really. Murphy calls for boycotts of things he wouldn’t buy anyway, like Starbucks coffee. If, however, he would use it, then he discovers they are MONOPOLIES and indeed basic goods one cannot do without. He would if he could you understand, but he can’t. It seems that Amazon and it’s ebooks functions (through which he judt so happens tonsell his own book)come into this category.
    Apple similarly fell into this category; it may still do so in his shed. Curiously though his IPhone, on which he wrote his blog from his hospital bed, has ceased to be a monopoly. I wonder when this monopoly was broken, and how that happened.

  8. “When someone’s morality is defined by the law you know they have ceased to be a moral agent”

    Did he define his morality by the law? Has Murphy dodged the question with yet another strawman here?

  9. Let’s be clear about what he has been demanding, quite expressly: he has recently been demanding that HMRC subject the representatives of Large Business tonpresecutions. So the question ” what criminal activity?” is highly pertinent. The answer is to hurl abuse at the questioner and to bang on about ‘morality’.
    From this we can see he intends criminal prosecutions against hose who have committed no crime.

  10. The perspicacious and excellent Van Patten nails it.

    The Big 4 he refers to and Murphy and others of their fascist and intolerant ilk need to face a modern version of the Nuremberg trials.

  11. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Like most totalitarians, he believes that actual guilt is immaterial in assessing whether a conviction should be brought. He’s effectively asking for show trials.

  12. BraveFart

    Thanks for that – the fact that he is currently strutting impotently on the sidelines following the Corbynites even having second thoughts about engaging with him should not blind people to the danger he poses. He is as power hungry as anyone I have seen on the contemporary political scene.

    Bloke in Costa Rica

    As I said to the Stool pigeon I referenced in my first comment on another thread, I think a quote from Beria sums up his philosophy quite nicely:

    ‘You find me the man, I’ll find the crime’

  13. “When someone’s morality is defined by the law you know they have ceased to be a moral agent”

    So can we assume he will by voting for Tyson Fury as the sports personality of the year.

    Surely the point of all anti-discrimination law is that you can’t just apply your personal moral views. So Ritchie is arguing there shouldn’t be discrimination laws, though I suspect that having to face not thinking this through he will decree it only applies to some laws.

  14. Call me old fashioned, but didn’t laws stem from morality?

    Not the morality that changes on an hourly basis as issued by a fat little cunt from Norfolk, but the general consensus?

    Isn’t that why slavery and homosexuality were illegal and then not? Didn’t our views and hence our morality change?

    What Murphy is saying, as he does incessantly, is that people should do what he tells them. Everybody. All the time.

  15. Logically wouldn’t this mean he believes those calling for sharia law are moral agents and those who disagree with them aren’t?

  16. Maybe no-one’s picking up the bills for his iToys, these days…
    One can see how he might see that as a considerable moral issue.

  17. “When someone’s morality is defined by the law you know they have ceased to be a moral agent”

    Now there’s a dangerous sentiment..

    “The Law” imperfect as it is, is at least a concensus construction that approaches the average of sentiments regarding quite a number of “moral” issues.
    Get the important bits of it wrong, and you’re looking at it being ignored in lieu of more practical solutions at best, bloody revolution at worst.

    “Morality” is not a universal truth, or universal altogether for that matter. It’s Personal Opinion.
    And placing your personal opinions above the law has names, none of them pretty, or without rather inevitable results.

  18. BiCA:

    No indeed, I agree with you.

    But if morality doesn’t cause laws to happen, what does?

    Still, the point I was trying to make, albeit not very well, is that different peoples have different laws because they have different morals.

    And it is not incumbent upon the fat tax man to tell the rest of the world what morals they should adopt.

  19. But if the law says what you have done is illegal (as it often does in cases of attempted tax avoidance) what should the penalty be? Currently there is no penalty.

  20. oldgreenfascist:
    I can’t speak for the UK situation, but in this former colony, the penalties for illegal activity in tax filing and claims can be significant. According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):

    “For the period April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2014, the CRA convicted 1,508 taxpayers. This involved approximately $223 million in federal tax evaded and court sentences totalling $118 million in court fines and 4,692 months of jail time. Of these total conviction results, for those with links to monies or assets held offshore, the CRA convicted 62 taxpayers for tax evasion involving $20 million in federal taxes evaded, court fines of approximately $12 million, and 701 months of jail time.

    That seems a far cry from “Currently there is no penalty.”

  21. And another (minor) note – on $223M in federal tax, there would have been a further ~$110M or so in provincial or territorial tax also due.
    How much was collected was unknown, but CRA has pretty sweeping powers to seize assets.

  22. I still have and regularly use a Nokia 1100, which I found to be a big improvement on the 3310 I had previously.

    The battery seems to last much better, though I don’t know why this is (not just a longer time it can survive without charging, but very little degradation in performance over a decade, whereas after a few years my 3310s became inanimate bricks once detached from the charger).

  23. “And placing your personal opinions above the law has names, none of them pretty, or without rather inevitable results.”

    Hang on a minute… Richy may be a twat, but surely none of us decide what is right and wrong by merely looking up what is legal and illegal. What sort of individual does that? Christ, it’s not like there’s any shortage of nonsense on the statute books.

  24. Hmm, yes, Mike.

    So we have a little table we can all construct for ourselves (examples only):

    Illegal and immoral – murder, rape etc.
    Illegal but not immoral – some traffic offences, smoking, “conscientious objection”*, “nonsense on the statute books”
    Legal but immoral – cheating on significant other, abortion, careerist politics.
    Legal and moral – lots of stuff

    The problem is that Ritchie is calling for prosecutions for his interpretation of the third category. Stuff that is blatantly legal. And, being the absurd statist that he is, his morals are an awful lot less laissez faire than for most people.

    Note that this is, of course, tautological in this context – if you think it is immoral, you are using your conscience to object.

  25. As the year end approaches, I was wondering if anyone could refer me to a “moral accountant”. I mean my clients all have regular accountants who can calculate their exact tax liability according to the law, but they are finding it difficult to locate someone who can give the “correct moral tax liability” number to put on a check to the revenue authorities.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    BTW: I would have posted this on Mr. M’s website as I am sure he has a # of moral accountants (including himself?) to refer. Alas I was banned long ago. Maybe some of our more clever posters who is not above using a non de plume can assist.

  26. oldgreenfascist:

    Tax avoidance is not illegal, so attempts at it are also not illegal and hence not punishable.

    Saving money in an ISA is tax avoidance.
    Buying second hand goods instead of new is tax avoidance (VAT).
    Getting on the ferry to France and buying 50 bottles of wine for Christmas is tax avoidance.
    Giving up fags because of the cost is tax avoidance.
    Filling up your petrol tank before Budget Day is tax avoidance.

    I think you meant tax evasion.

  27. David S L

    I think you need the stamp of approval of civil society that the remarkably cheap Fair Tax Mark gives.

    I would suggest you Google it, but using Google would probably disqualify you from the award of this kite mark of knobheadedness.

  28. Stolen from a chap from Devon on another forum:
    “Perhaps we should talk about law avoidance when people we don’t like do something we don’t like but don’t break the law. Could be a whole new way of oppression.”

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