Intense relaxation: John McTernan and the freedom to not pay tax

Businessman pocketing cash - Image Copyright: <a href="http://www.123rf.com/profile_zestmarina">zestmarina / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Peter Mandelson famously declared himself “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich, as long as they pay their taxes”. His successors now appear intensely relaxed about the wealthy not paying their taxes at all. Senior Blairite John McTernan has responded to last weekend’s Panama Papers revelations by reassuring Telegraph readers that “tax avoidance is an expression of basic British freedoms.”

It also appears to be an expression of the basic Russian oligarch freedom to transfer huge kickbacks out of their country, and the inalienable right of dodgy Middle East politicians to set up shell companies in jurisdictions with banking regulations so light touch that they would make Gordon Brown blush, but let that pass.  Continue reading

Destroying the Labour Party in order to save it

Inside Labour CorbynWe had to destroy the village in order to save it’; that maxim – a paraphrase of words famously uttered by a US Army major to a journalist during the Vietnam war – now stands a metaphor for the perspectives of a sizeable chunk of the Labour right. Cast aside pious invocations of the interests of ‘those that need a Labour government the most’, a staple of boilerplate anti-Corbyn polemics throughout the summer.

Maximising our chances of forming the next administration is but a secondary consideration when jobs for life are at stake, and a number of Labour rightwingers are openly proclaiming their readiness to terminate Corbyn’s career with extreme prejudice. Continue reading