This latest row over Starbucks has led our increasingly clueless government to fall back on the moral issues of tax. What moral issues are they then, Dave?? All Starbucks are doing is using the current tax legislation to minimise their tax bill. It’s not just Starbucks, loads of other companies are doing the same thing, Google, Amazon to name but two others (notice how all three are American in origin? Is this a Daily Mail-esque tirade against Johnny foreigner again??). The same thing happened a few months ago with some comedian sticking his earnings in an off-shore – but perfectly legit – tax account. He was hounded by the press in a fury reserved for child molesters and eventually closed the account? WTF? How’s that immoral?

So is it immoral for me to put my savings in an ISA account instead of a bog-standard taxed saving account? I hardly think so, but the logic is no different. We now hear that Boy George may use his Autumn Statement to announce new headlines er I mean measures to close these loopholes, and to try to wrong foot the Opposition. Because that’s what its all about of course – not embarking on a long term but fiscally prudent plan to generate sustainable growth, balance the books and pull out of recession – but give Millybland a bloody nose on a Wednesday lunchtime.

Geez. And they moan no-one turns up at polling stations these days….

One solution is to simplify the tax legislation in the first place. Some estimate that the tax statute book runs to 11,000 pages, most of them generated by one Gordon Brown (remember him?). As clever as he thought he was big multinationals can afford to employ even cleverer
people to find the gaps and ram straight through them. If there weren’t any gaps in the first place on the other hand….

But that puts the left in a dilemma. A hugely complicated tax system needs a lot of public sector workers to maintain and administer it. (I should know, I’ve worked on the computer systems supporting this stuff for over two decades) Each new ‘duty’ requires a big computer system to work it, and a lot of people to maintain and program those computers, even before we consider the work force on the other side of the keyboard trying to use the damn things.

The unions – basically, along with the benefistas, Labour’s core vote – won’t like anything that threatens their jobs, so its in Millybland’s interest to keep the complicated tax system, and all the other systems Brown built, in place, even when they let the big boys laugh all the way to the Cayman Islands.

So basically George, Ed’s stuck in his own painted corner. Don’t worry about him. I think this is one problem you can definitely blame on the previous administration. Go for a really big (autumn) statement. Really start cutting some crap from Whitehall.

That would be a moral thing to do.