Monday, March 01, 2010
This Ashcroft malarkey
I rather feel the fuss about Lord Ashcroft (BBC) has passed me by. I knew about the story, of course, but people have been saying Lord Paul is a non-dom on Labour's side, and the Lib Dems have had their own dodgy donor stories: no-one has much of a leg to stand on here. Why Ashcroft is being singled out rather baffles me.But what baffles me even more is the arguments about the principle. I just heard the BBC say that Ashcroft 'has admitted he pays no UK tax on his foreign earnings'. I should blinking well hope not, too. I'm looking at jobs in the US at the moment: did the copywriter think that I ought to be taxed twice, once in the US and then once in the UK for good measure? Or again, say I'm working in the US for a few years and earning money there: does that mean I oughtn't be allowed to support UK political parties?I'm genuinely puzzled about this, but perhaps it's just my lack of knowledge of our tax laws. All the same, I can't quite see what the major issue of principle is. I can see why you'd think that people taking seats in Parliament ought to be tax-resident. I can see why you'd think that a single individual, or even organisation, being responsible for 5% of Tory party income is newsworthy (and let's talk about Labour's reliance on trades unions, shall we?). But why there's a fuss over the principle of a British citizen who is not tax-resident supporting the political party of his choice is rather beyond me. And that's why I feel a little left out of the cock-a-hoop jigs /dire grimness (delete as appropriate).