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Friday, April 06, 2012

Tax and politics

It is arguable that the current row between London Mayoral candidates amounts to the further Americanisation of British politics, in which the personal always seems to trump policy. However on further examination, Ken Livingstone's problems with his tax bill appear to be no more than an old-fashioned case of being caught out as a hypocrite.

As Dan Hodges points out in the Telegraph, 'one moment (Ken Livingstone) was claiming that tax avoiders were “rich bastards” who should “not be allowed to vote”; the next he was questioning why anyone “would vote for a mayor that pays more tax than they have to”.'

Now that the other candidates have published their tax returns, Livingstone's position seems indefensible. He has decided to publish only the dividends he received from his tax vehicle company. He is now saying that he will only give full details of his earnings if others agree to disclose information concerning spouses and partners.

How Ken Livingstones hopes to retain any credibility after this is difficult to see. Ed Miliband must be so proud.
Whereas screaming obscenities in a lift is acceptable practice. Hmmm.
Says who?
This opening-up of personal tax assessments of candidates was inevitable once Livingstone made it an election issue, but I fear it will lead to demands from the media that national politicians will have to follow suit in future election campaigns.
Not sure this opening up of candidates person tax affairs is a good thing. There are enough dis-incentives to seeking public office without the prospect this. Lets leave it to the IR to ensure everyone pays the proper amount.
Regarding Ken's credability;he has been written off many times but keeps confounding the pundits.
For me its not his tax affairs but the fact he looks so tired that makes me wonder if he is still capable of doing a good job as Mayor of the greatest city on earth
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