Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

changing the status of the UK to treasure island...


Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have been accused of trying to turn the UK into a haven for tax evaders and money launderers after the Tory leadership rivals each backed the creation of “freeports” on the east coast.

Under proposals being considered by Johnson, Teesside, Aberdeen and Peterhead could become economic zones, considered independent for customs purposes, that charge no taxes or tariffs on imports.

These zones, known as freeports, are typically used to store high-value items such as valuable artworks, precious stones or antiques. They were heavily criticised by a European parliament report last year for facilitating “illegal activity” such as tax evasion and money-laundering.

Freeports were also at the centre of the Bouvier affair, the term for a flurry of high-profile lawsuits that have rocked the art world, involving allegations of fraud and money laundering linked to expensive paintings.


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already a tax haven...

In July 2017 director Michael Oswald’s latest film, The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire was premiered at the Frontline Club in London. It has since had several screenings in London and public screenings can be organised from November onwards.  This fascinating interview just published in Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten explores what inspired co-producers Michael Oswald and John Christensen to make a film documentary about London’s role as the world’s pre-eminent tax haven.  Oswald and Christensen also talk about how London might develop once Brexit kicks in, exploring the possibility of deepening the City’s tax haven role through further tax cuts for the rich and more rolling back of financial market regulation and other social protections.

The key inspiration, according to Michael Oswald, was Nicholas Shaxson’s best-selling Treasure Islands, which explained the way in which the formal British Empire morphed into a spider’s web of tax havens gathering financial wealth from across the world and funnelling it through to the City.  As Oswald explains, this helped to re-establish London as the financial capital of Capital:

At the time of the British Empire, Britain structured its economy not around manufacturing and productive sectors, but around finance. City of London banks provided the financing for the Empire and the colonies would pay interest to the City.

As Britain’s Empire declined, City of London institutions were increasingly confronted by circumstances that limited their ability to function and make a profit. It was out of this need that various financial interests sought to fashion for themselves spaces in which they could continue to operate and profit. In order to create these spaces they used the expertise developed during empire and the territorial remnants of the Empire, such as Britain’s dependent territories, financial expertise and networks established during Empire and the knowledge of how to establish, run and benefit from an international financial system.”

Much of the expertise built up during the final decades of the formal empire was focused on ways to avoid paying taxes both in the colonies and in Britain itself.  In the 1920s and 30s offshore companies and trusts were increasingly used to avoid and evade paying taxes.  In the 1950s, with the emergence of the London-based Eurodollar market, international banks found themselves able to operate in a virtually unregulated financial market which the authorities – in this case the Bank of England – treated in a totally laissez-faire fashion.


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The view from Martin Rowson...

this is not applying to the two idiots vying for UK suprem...

California became the first state in the US to ban discrimination over natural hair on Wednesday.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace (Crown) Act into law, prohibiting employers and schools from enforcing rules against hairstyles including afros, braids, twists, and locks. Workplace policies that prohibit such styles have serious economic and health consequences, especially for black individuals, the bill said.

“In a society in which hair has historically been one of many determining factors of a person’s race, and whether they were a second-class citizen, hair today remains a proxy for race,” the bill said. “Therefore, hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination.”


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Read from top.

or a circus for clowns...

During last night's live TV debate on ITV, British Prime Ministerial candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt clashed over Brexit and a political scandal around leaked memos by the UK Ambassador to the US, in which he described President Trump as “inept”. 

UK Prime Ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson has pledged to do his best to help get Britain off the “hamster wheel of doom” and deliver Brexit in three months.

He made the promise during Tuesday’s live ITV debate with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as the two men vie to win the Conservative Party’s backing in a postal vote that will decide who replaces Theresa May in Number Ten Downing Street.

Focusing on Brexit in his speech, Johnson warned that the UK “faces a momentous choice” and that the government may “continue with the same old, failed, can-kicking approach, destroying trust in politics, sapping business confidence”.

“Or else we can change, get back our mojo, restore this country's reputation around the world and put ourselves on the path to long-term success”, Johnson emphasised, berating Hunt’s reluctance to stick to a firm deadline to withdraw Britain from the EU.

“How about by Christmas?" Johnson jokingly said, describing Hunt as a "defeatist" with a "papier-mache deadline" for Brexit.

Johnson also concentrated on the current diplomatic row between London and Washington over leaked memos by UK Ambassador Kim Darroch, in which he called President Donald Trump “inept” and “incompetent”.


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