So Jimmy Carr is immoral according to that upright PR-man turned politician with, presumably, ambitions to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury, David Cameron. For the benefit of my foreign readers, to say nothing of antediluvian, old farts like me, who have never heard of Jimmy Carr, he is a very popular comedian on British TV. Apparently, he is wise enough to employ some shrewd, slippery tax-advisors who suggested he set up a scheme called K2 to avoid paying the Taxman a penny more than he absolutely had to. It works like this: you set up a company off-shore which then offers you a contract of employment paying a fairly low salary but also provides you from time to time with loans which can be off-set against tax. All perfectly legal and above board - and I wish I'd known about it back in the day!
But according to 'Bishop' Cameron, a man who has never told a lie, or even a teensy-weensy fib, in his whole career as a PR-man and politician, this activity is immoral. Somehow, and I expect it was due to the pressure of events like beating up that poor Argentinian lady or trying, James Bond-like to avoid those deadly knives hidden in the shoes of 'Rosa' Merkel, 'Dave' must have forgotten the, er, 'arrangement' by which his own father, a stockbroker by trade, had invested the family fortune in off-shore tax-havens such as Panama and Geneva. According to the report by Gavin Lumsden on the CityWire site, Cameron inherited £300,000 on his father's death two years ago. I assume he immediately offered that to Her Maj's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as a part-repayment for the tax his "immoral" father had avoided all those years and which helped, I guess, put young David through Eton at vast expense.
Taking a lead from their Holy Prophet in Downing Street, HMRC appear to be trying to get into the morality business themselves, as far as I can see from Mr. Lumsden's article. Instead of laying down laws which can be tested in court, albeit, usually by some dim-witted 'Cocklecarrot', they are now taking the approach of laying down certain 'general principles' and, you will not fall down in shock to know that they will be the arbiters of whether or not your tax avoidance scheme matches their Holy writ. This system of law is known as 'making-it-up-as-you-go-along-but-making-sure-we-win'. It sounds better in Latin, I'm told. In fact, when it comes to my advice to 'Dave' the next time he feels the need to prate about morality that, too, sounds better in Latin but, alas, I do not have it so I will stick to the old Anglo-Saxon - shut the fuck up!
I cannot preach this lesson often or loud enough: governments at their worst are evil, and at their best they are greedy and stupid beyond belief, and they are all these things on the back of our money! Far from being immoral, tax avoidance should be praised and admired. If this, or any other, government had more than 7.6 brain cells between them they would institute a flat tax on all income however, or where-ever, derived. At the stroke of a parliamentary quill pen you could fire two thirds of HMRC staff, and several thousand tax accountants and lawyers would be out of work. Street parties would be thrown throughout the land and the Holy Prophet Cameron might stand a slight chance of being re-elected. (Oh, dammit, there's always a down-side to every good idea!)