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Why Britain should declare war on Jersey | Mark Thomas | Comment is free | The Guardian

Why Britain should declare war on Jersey | Mark Thomas | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Mark Thomas is joking of course, but the joke makes no sense unless you believe that companies relocating to Jersey would be forced to stay in Britain if the option were removed. Other choices such as Switzerland, Asia or the Americas (or just going out of business) do not occur to him. He has been touring Britain asking audiences for suggestions for government action with disturbing results;

One of my favourite ideas was the simple proposal that "Britain should invade Jersey". Now that TV's Bergerac is just a distant memory this policy has become truly popular, not least because Jersey is one of the tax havens that have become the legal pirate coves of the 21st century. The Tax Justice Network (not to be confused with the rightwing Tax Payers' Alliance) estimates the UK loses about £18bn a year in tax revenue due to "corporate tax efficiency" ie companies moving offshore. The Iraq war cost at least £8bn. So war with Jersey would not only be morally right but self-financing too. In fact we could probably do a bond issue for the invasion to pay for everything up front with the promise of a steady yearly return for investors.

Unless people are enslaved, they can always relocate themselves and their businesses. Rolex was a British company until the words "Made in Switzerland" on a timepiece acquired such cachet that they couldn't compete. Mark Thomas presumably thinks it would have been better for the company to die, wrapped in the Union Flag. When did Colonel Blimp get his commission from the KGB?

Note how, in accordance with the Guardian style book, the Tax Payers' Alliance cannot be mentioned without the damning words "right wing." Note also how easily the contradictory words "legal" and "pirate" sit together in a Guardian sentence, as long as the "pirates" make wealth, rather than take it by force in the traditional manner, as governments do. Note also that all wealth not collected in tax is deemed "lost" to the nation, as opposed to merely being spent or invested by those nasty grasping types who made it.

I strongly suspect that Jersey would be even sleepier, and there would be many more, and more prosperous, businesses in mainland Britain, if our taxes were reduced to levels that would shock Mark Thomas and his audiences. God knows how much wealth is truly "lost" to Britain because never generated in the first place due to the disincentive of excessive taxation. We shall probably never know as long as Mark Thomas and his audiences are such fools.

Comments

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Autonomous Mind

Perhaps the reason Thomas cited Jersey was because, after Labour and the MOD's disgraceful mismanagement of the armed forces, an invasion of Jersey is about the only operation we could now undertake.

Even then we would probably have to arrive there in grey painted pedalos given that most of the fleet is in mothballs.

Amanda

Mark should of said 'privateer' instead perhaps?

Labrat

Funnily enough I recall the last time a government decided to invade a crown protectorate as a populist move to take attention away from their own disastrous fiscal policies....

Charles

As a Jerseyman born and bred, I've always found it slightly bemusing that we are the ones accused of "harmful tax practices" for the great crime of... not stealing as much from our citizens as other countries do.

However, if Mark Steel would like to invade us that's fine with me, so long as he puts his money (so to speak) where his mouth is. If he'll just let me know when and where to meet him...

Andrew Withers (LPUK)

It would be far simpler to invade the Offices of BERR/DTI/BIS or whatever it is calling itself this week, a depose Mandelson, his lot are causing hundreds of businesses to relocate abroad including mine.

You could just get on a no 19a bus, it stops outside. Labour are exporting jobs and importing people like it is going out of fashion.

The LPUK advocate that Corwall should regain it independent Duchy Status and emulate the Isle of Man, Channel Islands in setting its own tax rates, instead of being a nett contributor to Mark Thomas and his merry men, despite being one of the poorest regions in the country.

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