Omigosh – what a contest; and what a dilemma for us all! Your eyes flit desperately between them, and for many people it will be an eerie feeling: the first time they have ever been tempted to side with Brussels over anything. Margrethe has made an extraordinary demand. She wants Apple to pay the Irish state an infarct-inducing sum in back taxes – between $8 and $16 billion, and I know that many of you will egg her on. Yee-hah, Margrethe, you will be saying. Go on, darling. You fine them. You tax them. You show those overmighty Yankee tech giants that someone, somewhere, will finally stand up to them.
I’ll happily bet dollars to donuts (just thinking about it, that’s a rather old phrase now, isn’t it? Given that donuts do actually cost dollars now?) that it’s not going to be anything like that. Couple of hundred million to cover a decade, perhaps. But billions? Nope.