So now we know we’re dealing with an ill informed idiot

In some ways the duchy appears to be acting like a commercial machine rather than a quaint ancestral estate. Things were simpler when the Queen came to the throne in the early 1950s. For a start, profits were modest (£100,000 in 1952, compared with £19.2m in 2017) and the rules of the game clearer.

£100k in 1952 is around £8 million today. Sure, depends upon which inflation index you want to use. But not even noting that is idiocy, no?

If you take your investments offshore, don’t be surprised if eventually you sail into some choppy waters. A growing swell of criticism threatens to swamp the Queen’s financial vessel after the Paradise Papers revelation that the Duchy of Lancaster – her private estate – had invested more than £10m in the tax havens of Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

The MP Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the public accounts committee, said she was “pretty furious” with the Queen’s investment advisers for sullying her reputation, while John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has demanded that they give evidence to a public inquiry into offshore tax havens.

I have spent months investigating the duchy for a new book on the Queen’s wealth, and believe the public would expect the sovereign to act to the highest standards over her financial investments. The head of state must be beyond reproach.

Yes, OK, head of state beyond reproach. The head of state of the Caymans and Bermuda should not invest in a place she is head of state of?

22 thoughts on “So now we know we’re dealing with an ill informed idiot”

  1. “I have spent months investigating the duchy for a new book on the Queen’s wealth”

    Well, if this bilge is anything to go by- the book will be a corker

  2. Bermuda is a totally respectable insurance and financial centre and had been approved as having insurance standards as at least equivalent to the EU’s new standards even before the EU bureaucrats had finished niggling about the small print therein!
    A few British Insurance companies redomiciled (themselves or a subsidiary) to Bermuda because they couldn’t wait for the EU bureaucrats before issuing some multi-year contracts and didn’t want to risk changes retrospectively making them incompatible.
    Anyone who says Bermuda is not respectable is either abysmally ignorant or a downright liar.

  3. “If you take your investments offshore, don’t be surprised if eventually you sail into some choppy water”

    Like the BBC’s own pension fund?

  4. Talking of wihc, here are the top 4 direct equity investments that the BBC pension fund owns….

    Amazon.com Inc £55.7m

    Alphabet Inc £51.2m

    Tencent Holdings Ltd £48.5m

    Facebook Inc £48.1

    Alphabet is of course the owner of Google.

    Tencent Holdings is a Chinese investment holding company. Specialises in internet based services.

    Suppose you were a BBC reporter who wanted to run up and down the street out side the registered office of the 4th largest direct holding investment that your pension fund held, shouting innuendos and making unverifiable and meaningless allegations and accosting unsuspecting members of staff?

    Where would you have to go?

    You’d need to go to Cricket Square, Hutchins Drive, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

    Yes.

    The BBC Pension fund’s four biggest single company investments are Amazon, Google, Facebook and a Cayman Island registered Chinese holding company.

  5. Blogs like this are doing good work in countering this lying shite but the MSM is still noising leftist lies abroad far too successfully .

    If we had decent leadership then we could look to a PM who would have televised weekly “fireside chats” in which facts, reason and evidence would demolish the lying socialist wheeze of the week.

    With the BluLabour trash we have how long will it be before the stupid cow starts apologising for non-existent “tax evasion”.

  6. I’m thinking that a full apology and pardon is in order to anyone who broke a tax law 50 years ago that has since been repealed.

  7. As soon as you see anything like “profits were modest (£100,000 in 1952, compared with £19.2m in 2017)” you know you’re in “ignoramus or cretin?” territory – are they just not aware that’s a huge sum of money for the 1950s, not aware of inflation calculators, or are they actively intending to mislead?

    Ticks me right off either way.

  8. “In some ways the duchy appears to be acting like a commercial machine rather than a quaint ancestral estate.”

    Well, that’s a fucking scandal: the queen running something that appears to work, rather than her estate comprising mud huts, burnt tyres and rickettsia.

  9. “The MP Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the public accounts committee, said she was “pretty furious” with the Queen’s investment advisers for sullying her reputation”

    One of the most cynical statements I have ever read.

  10. John Square, that’s as may be but the wealth isn’t hers.

    Liz smokes? Her Majesty has just gone up another notch in my estimation.

  11. HC- and she’s fond of Beefeater Gin.

    No word as to whether she’s a salted or dry-roast kind of gal, though.

  12. “The Queen has no wealth. It all belongs to The Crown Estate.”

    No, I think that’s wrong. It’s true that when newspapers make a fuss of the Queen’s Huge Wealth they are always lying and ought to be referring to the Crown estate, but she’s still got some personal wealth. For instance people like to say she owns Balmoral and I presume that either she does or that a Windsor family trust does. Unlike the Crown Estate Balmoral doesn’t belong to the nation. Ditto Sandringham and some other spots.

    The of Duchy of Lancaster’s own website says “Founded in the 13th century, the Duchy of Lancaster is a unique portfolio of land, property and assets held in trust for the Sovereign in His or Her role as Duke of Lancaster.” So it sounds to me as if the trustees own it for the benefit of the Queen, and each of her successors in turn. On the other hand I also read “The Duchy of Lancaster is a private estate owned by Her Majesty The Queen, as Duke of Lancaster.” So, clear as mud.

  13. Ah bloody ha. “Some 300 years later, under the Crown Lands Act 1702, it was decreed that the Sovereign should only receive income and not capital from the Duchy. And so it remains to this day.”

    So, it presumably is held on trust, the capital being preserved or grown and the income handed to Her Maj. I wonder what happens to the income? Perhaps just put into the pot to cover outgoings? Or does she save some of it against a rainy day? Or use it to subsidise members of her family? Dunno. Don’t terribly care.

  14. WKPD:

    In the financial year ending 31 March 2015, the estate was valued at about £472 million. The net income of the Duchy is paid to the reigning Sovereign as Duke of Lancaster: it amounts to about £16 million per year. As the Duchy is an inalienable asset of the Crown held in trust for future Sovereigns, the Sovereign is not entitled to the portfolio’s capital or capital profits. The Duchy of Lancaster is not subject to tax, although the Sovereign has voluntarily paid both income and capital gains tax since 1993. As such, the income received by the Privy Purse, of which income from the Duchy forms a significant part, is taxed once official expenditures have been deducted.

    The Duchy is administered on behalf of the Sovereign by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a government minister appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, … the Chancellor is answerable to Parliament for the effective running of the estate.

    That last point will be why Mrs May has yelled from the housetops “I was us wot dunnit, not the Queen”. Hasn’t she?

  15. More from WKPD:

    “Balmoral is a private property and, unlike the monarch’s official residences, is not the property of the Crown. It originally was purchased personally by Prince Albert, rather than the queen, meaning that no revenues from the estate go to Parliament or to the public purse, as otherwise in accord with the Civil List Act 1760 would be the case for property owned outright by the monarch.

    Along with Sandringham House in Norfolk, ownership of Balmoral was inherited by Edward VIII on his accession in 1936. When he abdicated later the same year, however, he retained ownership of them. A financial settlement was devised, under which Balmoral and Sandringham were purchased by Edward’s brother and successor to the Crown, George VI.

    Currently, the estate is still owned outright by the monarch, but, by Trustees under Deeds of Nomination and Appointment, it is managed by a trust.”

    I don’t fully understand that last para. Does it mean that Balmoral really is owned by the Queen in the sense that she can sell it if so moved?

  16. Dearieme

    “I wonder what happens to the income? Perhaps just put into the pot to cover outgoings? Or does she save some of it against a rainy day? Or use it to subsidise members of her family?”

    I reckon her and Phil are just letting it build up in the joint account

  17. @john77, November 8, 2017 at 9:58 am

    A few British Insurance companies redomiciled (themselves or a subsidiary) to Bermuda because they couldn’t wait for the EU bureaucrats before issuing some multi-year contracts and didn’t want to risk changes retrospectively making them incompatible.

    iirc Hiscox was one.

  18. “The MP Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the public accounts committee, said she was “pretty furious” with the Queen’s investment advisers for sullying her reputation”

    One of the most cynical statements I have ever read.

    This

  19. “The head of state must be beyond reproach.”

    Seriously. Bitching that an old lady needs to be ‘above reproach’ while not caring one whit that the people who actually wield the power of government are running wild?

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