So, the Paradise Papers haven’t created revolution then

The street-level response to the Paradise Papers, the mighty follow-up punch to last year’s Panama Papers, has been curiously tepid. This is probably not what many activists, and the 100 media organizations involved in the leak, expected to happen.

In striking contrast to the bombshell release of the Panama Papers in mid-2016 that immediately triggered a 10,000-person-strong protest in Iceland leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the Paradise Papers have thus far made many headlines but no uprisings.

There’s a reason for this you know.

The fundamental lesson of the Panama and Paradise Papers is twofold. First, the people everywhere, regardless of whether they live in Russia or America, are being oppressed by the same minuscule social circle of wealthy elites who unduly control our governments, corporations, universities and culture.

We now know without a doubt – thanks to the incontrovertible evidence provided by the Panama and Paradise Papers – that there is a global plutocracy who employ the same handful of companies to hide their money and share more in common with each other than with the citizens of their countries. This sets the stage for a global social movement.

Second, and most importantly, these leaks indicate that our earth has bifurcated into two separate and unequal worlds: one inhabited by 200,000 ultra high-net-worth individuals and the other by the 7 billion left behind.

The reason being that’s not what they show. Rather, the vast majority of all of these people are obeying the law and paying their taxes. Sure, there’s a few actors trying it on with their pay for a TV show. A jet lease looks a little odd. And everyone else is coughing up as hey should do.

This is not the stuff of which revolutions are made.

25 thoughts on “So, the Paradise Papers haven’t created revolution then”

  1. The hysteria the Guardian and BBC is trying to whip up is of course dampened when you look at their own tax affairs. The Guardian’s tax affairs are full of healthy tax planning and the BBC’s own pension fund had over £200m invested in Google, Amazon, Facebook and a Chinese internet giant registered in the Cayman islands.

  2. Actually, lots of people don’t like it, but (and lots of politicians and media are bad at this), no-one cares that much.

    What people care about is tax being low, pot holes in roads, bins being emptied, schools and hospitals functioning.

  3. From the Grauniad home page, the week of yellowish photos seems to stopped so I presume after a week that’s it. 100s of ICIJ journalists, terabytes of files have been searched and all they’ve found is Bonio buying a bit of a shopping centre in Lithuania, some VAT dodge by Lewis Hamilton which seems the biggest story, and a few bob invested by people acting for state agencies controlling the top royals assets for the state.

    Nothing mega, the only amusing thing was being so desperate for a story they had to begrudgingly include Lefty Lineker’s stamp duty dodge, which seems to have blown some minds on the left making them claim “all the tax that was due was paid” without irony at all.

  4. Pull quote from link:

    “The ultra-rich live in a different world but activists must ensure that there is nowhere to hide.”

    Or, in English-

    “People who have much more money than me live different lives, and even though I haven’t found any evidence they’ve broken the law, we should form a mob and hound them anyway. Who’s for rich white male heads on sticks?!”

  5. so desperate for a story they had to begrudgingly include Lefty Lineker’s stamp duty dodge

    This was my favourite. Poor Gary, all those years saying all the right things, for naught!

  6. The take-away lesson is that tax evasion has been practically eradicated for anyone rich and famous or who isn’t a criminal in other ways. All they have left is low-level avoidance.

  7. John Square, I know some people loathe Jeremy Clarkson but in one of his Sunday Times columns a good few years ago he summed up the difference between the UK and the US as follows:

    In the US a bloke sees another bloke in a fancy car and thinks to himself if I work hard and be successful I’ll be able to afford one of those. In the UK a bloke sees another bloke in a fancy care and thinks to himself: how did he get that then? I’ll have that off him.

    Doesn’t that just sum up the thinking of the left? It never occurs to them to work hard to get on in life. Always the victim, never their fault; cf. Scousers, Violet Elizabeth Reed, Richard Murphy.

  8. Two things about this. First, the real tax dodging is mostly done by the little guys – people with businesses small enough that they can either hide them completely or underreport earnings, everything from the neighbor’s kid who babysits to a plumber who’s willing to do some jobs off the books for a discount.

    And this sentence: “First, the people everywhere, regardless of whether they live in Russia or America, are being oppressed by the same minuscule social circle of wealthy elites”

    We know what the solution to this is, don’t we?

    “Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”

  9. “….being oppressed by the same minuscule social circle of wealthy elites who unduly control our governments, corporations, universities and culture.”

    I’m pretty sure Uncles Joe and Adolph thought the same thing……..

  10. Why get worked up about tax dodging when MMT says we can just print all the money we want? Ritchie has fucked his own argument.

  11. @aaa
    You haven’t been reading your Murphy assiduously enough. The tax is to curb inflation. Because without tax the rich people would have more money to spend on washing powder & Iceland readymeals & shoe repairs & bus tickets. And push the prices up, denying them to the poor.

  12. @Henry Crun.

    My thoughts and JC’s are on the same page.

    Also- this whinging about the wealthy and consumerism: I can’t be the only person who views it as an admission by the whiners than not only can they not now afford stuff, but that they are so useless they’ll never be able to, and therefore no one should have nice things.

  13. Tim, you missed out the most hilarious part of the article

    Then Brexit happened, alt-right nationalism surged and Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. In other words, the Panama Papers protests, and leftist activism more generally, were quickly overshadowed by a dramatic string of victories for the criminally rich who now figure prominently in the Paradise Papers.

    That is why I want you to entertain the possibility that this time around the absence of predictably reactive street protests that dissipate as spontaneously as they erupt – and quite frankly, have not yielded systemic change in recent years – is a positive sign.

    The absence of protest is a sign of protest. Or not protesting is more effective than protesting

  14. The proposed solution in the article is:

    From this point forward, protesters must frighten the uber-rich with a sophisticated movement to establish a new binding global legal regime dedicated to prosecuting financial crimes against humanity.

    If the rich and powerful control governments and trans-national bodies how exactly will this come about?

  15. Reminds me a friend invited me to see the rusty rockets thing entitled revolution is coming or summat. We went on opening night and he was very excited about Russell appearing afterwards for a Q&A. In the run up my friend was excitedly advising me to dress down and what to do if there was trouble. He was actually envisioning people storming out of the theatre and burning the nearest gated residence. No such thing happened in the slightest. At the end everyone got up and left just as if we’d just watched sense and sensibility. I still laugh and laugh at the dawning of his face that while a percentage of people find Russell witty, so they’ll go along to see him but he inspires absolutely zero people to break the law. Of course my freind wouldn’t dream of doing it either so its pure projection to expect others to do it because of a comedian.

  16. Pleonasm alert:

    our earth has bifurcated into two separate and unequal worlds


    There is a succinct word for Gary Lineker, synonymous with a lady’s front bottom. Apart from everything else, he peddles junk food which is clinically proven to increase blood pressure and all the evil consequences thereof.

  17. @Bloke on M4,

    “What people care about is tax being low, pot holes in roads, bins being emptied, schools and hospitals functioning.”

    Certainly, they are all concerns to me, along with the country being emptied of foreign undesirables, and the defence of the realm being taken seriously.

    However, I’m not sure that ‘people’ being interested in low (income) taxes means ‘everyone’, as it is logical that for ‘people’ who pay no income taxes, (a) the rate charged on the others is of no matter, and (b) there is always the fear that lower rates of income tax will require a shift towards consumption taxes, so they’ll be hit.

    My solution to this is not a large tax-free sum, but instead, a low starter rate of tax for all (maybe 5%) together with the promise that income tax rates all go up together (or down) so that everyone has ‘skin in the game’.

  18. Bloke in North Dorset

    If the plutocrats have go such a lock on the world how come the (non) story was carried and hyped up by every media outlet in the democratic world?

  19. Hallowed be – always the militants want someone else to do the damage, get arrested, cause deaths etc. They can wring their hands and say they regret the deaths and the damage – while secretly cheering it on.

    It would take a LOT to start a revolution in Britain. Could be done, with quite a bit of background work and preparation.
    Successful revolutions around the world tend to involve quite a bit more than simply leave a building and start rioting.

  20. Gamecock
    “After they kill the 1% . . . there will be a new 1%.”

    Yes, they want to be the 1%. Just as every Socialist secretly wants to be Stalin, they all want to be richer, but without the hard work and sacrifice.

    Well not their hard work and sacrifice, yours will do.

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