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Sexual assault scandals, an almost literal colonial hangover employed as Foreign Secretary, Ministers meeting with foreign dignitaries behind the PM’s back, a daily torrent of statistics highlighting the increasing turn-of-the-century social divide between the “pleasemayIhavesomemoreguv?” paupers and the “phnahphnahphnah” waistcoated fund managers, and not to mention a Health Secretary with shares in private health providers.
That last one isn’t actually true, but it probably didn’t surprise you, did it?
Anyway, guess what: Philip May, Theresa’s husband, works for a private investment firm that hasn’t paid corporation tax for the last eight years.
Unlike the Twitter myth that he has shares in Serco or G4S or [insert b*stard private profiteer here], this one is actually true.
So the incredibly dodgy numbers are these: The firm has turned over £467 million since 2009 and it’s paid its board of directors £43 million altogether in wages and benefits over the same timeframe.
The rub, though, is that the firm has somehow managed to record a ‘loss’ of £125 million over that time, which conveniently means it’s ineligible to pay corporation tax.
Of course, Philip is a lowly client relationship manager at Capital International Ltd – the unimaginatively named firm for which he works – say he has no involvement in investment decisions; he’s just there to butter up the punters with his Tim-nice-but-dim-grin and his Harry Potter throwback glasses.
This news isn’t bringing down a Government any time soon, especially not one that, like a beleaguered Man O’ War with its bulging hull throttled by the leathery tentacles of the Kraken, refuses to be pulled asunder into the murky black below.
But it’s still a bit sickly, isn’t it.
The firm paid its board of directors £43 million but isn’t eligible for corporation tax. The firm has, notwithstanding what most would imagine as crippling to a going concern, managed to continue trading despite 8 years of running a loss.
Compare that level of favourable presumption in the firm’s favour to the scrutinous examination ‘Deborah from Hull’ would get from what I imagine to be the little man in half-moon spectacles behind the Job Centre desk trying to fill quota on behalf of the DWP. “Had a fag yesterday? You’re rolling in it – benefits stopped.”
It’s not only the vast chasmic divide between the treatment of wealth and the treatment of poverty by our now obsequious, pathetic Governmental institutions, but so too the idea of what a Government should be.
It’s there to represent us. We have a representative democracy. Ideally, those that govern us should have come from our ranks; our communities and our streets and our workplaces.
Instead they are married in to the private financial elite they are meant to control; the businesses they are meant to prevent from snatching up what is rightly the people’s.
It’s not to say Theresa is asking Philip what her Government can do for Capital Investments Ltd over the table top. Rather, it’s more insidious than that. It’s a culture of acceptability of the consummation between the twin pillars of modern society. The separation of Church and State was fought for so long and now is largely irrelevant. The contemporary battle is for separation of the State and the Corporation or the Hedge Fund or the Investment Firm – mere denominations of the same religion.
Indeed, not only is Capital Investments Ltd’s tax position rather dubious, but it controls $1.4 trillion in assets and profits from investments undertaken for tax avoiding companies like Amazon and Starbucks, who you might remember being mentioned by Mrs May herself.
How can we expect a Government to bring tax-avoiding multi-nationals to heel when it finds itself with various appendages dipped in their world?
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