Informal Drinks, Libertarian Home Meetup Thursday 5th May

As many of you will be aware Simon has been very busy organising the Benevolent Laissez Faire conference. Also a group of Fascists… sorry I mean the Police… have booked our usual spot at the Two Chairmen in Westminster.

As a result we’ve decided to revert back to an Old Skool meetup of just drinks and a chat. Due to popular demand, AKA Andy’s continuous complaints, we will be holding this meet up at the Crown Tavern in Farringdon — see the map below.

Take a look at our Meetup Event, let us know you’re coming, and to confirm the details… May 5th, 6:30 till late at the Crown Tavern near Farringdon Station.

We hope to see you there for a beer, a wine and chat about Brexit, what a twat Osborne is and whatever else takes your fancy…

Normal service will resume in June. And remember to get your tickets for Benevolent Laissez Faire

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The Panama Papers Tell Us Nothing and We Have No Solutions

What exactly do the Panama Papers tell us? Nothing, absolutely nothing. There is nothing surprising in the Panama Papers at all.

The Guardian have made a good job of the whole shock horror, class war, what about the poor millenials thing, but ultimately there is very little to say.

Is anyone surprised that wealthy people like to keep hold of their money? That maybe they don’t see handing it over to an incompetent State as the best option available to them? Or that crooked tyrants from Russia to China to Africa and even Icelandic Premiers use these tax schemes? The answer to all these questions is no! Not a single person should be surprised by any of this.

One interesting aspect to this story, that Nico raised in his post, is why this leak occurred, who was behind it and who benefits from it. It certainly isn’t Dave the Lorry Driver from Dagenham…

Of course something must be done about the Panama Papers and all this tax haven stuff. If something isn’t done what about the children..?

There have been calls for greater transparency, light is the greatest disinfectant and all that… It’s not by the way, I believe Dettol is… Either way, ‘transparency’ is a typical look at John with the new BMW, not at me policy. Transparency is a ‘great idea’ if it just applies to large corporations and the rich… But imagine if we all had to be transparent. Imagine if we all had to reveal what we were earning. How difficult would it be to work out that Steve and Janice across the road were living off their credit cards? I mean, a big house, two new cars, 3 kids, a holiday in Lanzarote and only earning 40k. Who are they kidding..?

Transparency is a terrible idea because it means the end of privacy and absolutely everyone has something to hide. The only proven method of reducing evasion and avoidance are flatter, simpler, lower taxes. Russia implemented a flat tax of 13% in 2001 that has been very successful, it even increased revenues God forbid… The reason flatter, simpler, lower taxes work is because they reduce the need to avoid or evade tax — the risk is no longer worth it. They also make it far easier for authorities to administer and enforce them — just look at Estonia.

No one I’ve seen however is suggesting we move to flatter, simpler, lower taxes. There are obvious reasons why no one is suggesting this. It would entail a significant reduction in the size of the British State. And as we know our money is the cocaine our State thrives on…

However we could move to a flatter, simpler system that removed all other taxes, even if that meant we had for example a two rate system based on income of 40% and 60%. Now those rates may not be high enough to cover the largesse of the British State, but even if we had to set the rates higher it would still solve a lot of problems.

Despite the obvious logic of a simpler tax system it hasn’t happened and doesn’t look like it will. The reasons for this isn’t necessarily obvious at first. However it’s rather simple, it’s all to do with image. The reality is our government and politicians like and benefit from our complicated tax system. It’s politically convenient and it looks good — it looks progressive. On the one hand politicians can claim they’re redistributing wealth via taxes and at the very same time they can leave open or create various loop holes to keep their system ‘competitive’.

There is also a myth that persists which states that you can tax a legal entity. When I say legal entity I of course mean a company, it’s why we have Corporation Tax and Sales Taxes. We like to pretend we can tax companies. I mean we can’t just let them do their evil work here and not pay any tax, that would be outrageous!! Sadly though all taxes ultimately fall on the individual — higher costs, lower wages, etc, etc…

The reason we have taxes like Corporation Tax is because it looks good, it seems fair. Companies must contribute something to our green and pleasant land… However as most contractors know, myself included, our ‘companies’ pay all the taxes and we pay as little as we can as individuals. This though is simply an accounting trick, a little bit of magic. I am the one who goes out and earns all the money for my company, every penny of tax paid by my company comes out of my labour. The legal entity doesn’t just magic the money and tax out of thin air, I have to work for it, it’s not as if I work for Goldman Sachs…

A simpler system would just tax the income I take from the company. Then there would be little need for any trickery and company directors would pay the same amount of tax as the company cleaner.

There is though another reason governments like our current tax system. It obfuscates how much Tax we actually pay. People don’t notice tax so much when it’s 20% here on your income, 20% on the TV you just bought and 10% in ‘National Insurance’. Our current system reduces the direct impact of our State’s largesse. Imagine if we actually had a flatter, simpler tax system like the one outlined earlier and this meant all income over 20k was taxed at 50% and over 40k at 70%. People would be furious, the next elected government would deliver austerity on speed. Both the government and the electorate prefer to rob and be robbed quietly over an extended period of time, not upfront and in your face like some sort of Mafia gangster…

If we actually want to reduce tax evasion and avoidance we need to move to a simpler more competitive system. Continuing to complicate our current system with more rules and regulations simply won’t work and we will see more and more Panama Papers.

Christopher Snowdon [@cjsnowdon] Releases the First EU Nanny State Index

Christopher Snowdon of the IEA has released the first EU Nanny State Index and it makes depressing reading for those of us in the UK. According to the analysis, that assesses the tax and regulation of ‘sins’ such as smoking and drinking, the UK is rated 3rd worst — far, far behind places like Germany!!

This is important work by Chris so go check it out and share it far and wide…

nanny_state_index

#BrusselsAttacks Are Not an Excuse for Arresting an Idiot

As many of you will be aware earlier this week a group of crazed jihadists brought death and destruction to the streets of Brussels. They killed over 30, injured hundreds and damaged important infrastructure.

After incidents of this nature emotions often run high and some people react in stupid ways. One example is Matthew Doyle from South Croydon who supposedly confronted a Muslim women and asked her to explain the attacks. He allegedly posted to Twitter…

I confronted a Muslim women yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said “Nothing to do with me”. A mealy mouthed reply.

As a result, according to the Daily Mail, he has been arrested, charged and held in custody…

A talent agency boss alleged to have posted a controversial tweet about confronting a Muslim woman over the Brussels terror attacks has been charged with inciting racial hatred.

The tweet, said to have been posted by Matthew Doyle, 46, from south Croydon, sparked social media outrage and countless parodies after it went viral in the wake of Tuesday’s atrocities in Belgium.

Doyle, who attended private Wellington College, was arrested on Wednesday, and police today said he had been charged with with publishing or distributing written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, likely or intended to stir up racial hatred, under the Public Order Act.

A spokesman said he was being held in custody, and was due to appear at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

There is little doubt that My Doyle potentially posted something stupid, some may even find it deeply offensive — it’s certainly something I wouldn’t do. However it is an outrage that this man has been arrested and charged.

It seems that there is no actual evidence that he did what he said he did in his Tweet, which explains why he has only be charged with making “racist comments”. Quite how someone can be charged with “racist comments” when the target of his idiocy was a global religion is beyond me though. Remember there over 1 billion practicing Muslims worldwide and the country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia. It is a non-racially defined religion just like Christianity.

But enough quibbling, the true outrage is that we have a law that can be used to lock people up for “publishing or distributing written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, likely or intended to stir up racial hatred”. The important point here, and I’ve stated this before, is none of these things are objective, they are all subjective and open to interpretation.

What someone finds threatening, abusive or insulting is entirely down to them. When a drunk man in a pub recently called me a “boring ginger bastard” it didn’t particularly bother me, I was more concerned that he was harassing my friend’s wife. I certainly wouldn’t want to see him locked up for a drunken remark. I just wanted him to F the F Off…

This sort of law places untold power in the hands of the prosecutor, AKA the state, as it could be applied to almost any scenario. For example, imagine I shouted at someone in the street, “F*** off you McDonalds eating pleb!”. Is that not insulting or abusive? Yes it is. Should I be locked up for it? In a free country, no. Under this law though I probably should be, because associating someone with McDonalds may be very distressing…

It seems a little pointless to me to claim that the ‘Free World’ is fighting the scourge of Barbaric, Anti-Freedom, Salafist Jihadism when the ‘Free World’ criminalises certain forms of Free Expression. Even if that Free Expression is completely idiotic. In a free society you allow society to deal with the idiotic, not the state.

As one Twitter user proved, social ridicule is often the best ointment for the idiotic…

Confronted a self-service machine in Tesco, Asked it to explain Brussels. It said “Please place items in bagging area”. Mealy mouthed reply.

Update 2016/03/26: It would seem the CPS have seen sense and forced the police to drop the charges. The fact that the police have the idea that they can arrest people for this sort of thing is very worrying though.