If the ICAEW is to be taken seriously it must stop asking for informed debate

The ICAEW published a new report entitled ‘Taxing corporate profits – hard choices‘ in the last few days before Christmas, when almost no-one was going to notice it. So that means it must be an overt attempt to obfuscate my blog.

To assist their PR, and because I was sent a copy with request for comment, I think it quite fair to reproduce the summary here. I apologise for the format; the original document appears to be encrypted to prevent copying. So I have copied it.

Here is the bit I do not like:

It is in everyone’s interest for there to be open well-informed debate about how to address tensions between the management of economies and perceptions of fairness in taxing corporate profits.

Well, it is not in my interests. Nor is it in the interest of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust who specifically pay people to ensure there isn’t such a debate. The same is true of the trade unions who fund me.

And I am certain my dear friend Margaret Hodge does not want such a debate.

So, no, this is clearly an attempt at obfuscation. Obfuscation, I say.

What we should be doing is lighting our torches and sharpening our pitchforks in order to scare businesses into paying more tax than is fair. That’s what worked with Starbucks. With Google and Amazon I suggest slightly more subtle tactics. People should purchase my books through their e-book stores and then, and only then, revisit when I publish a new book.

But reverting back to my rebuttal of the ICAEW’s call for well-informed debate, we have already had ill-informed debate in the media, which agrees that it is lucrative to publish stories about unsubstantiated rumours of tax avoidance. And this is my position too.

We do not want well-informed debate because that is usually the point where my ideas get shelved. It is only through ill-informed debate that any of my ideas go anywhere, so that is obviously the most virtuous form of debate there is.

So, in keeping in the spirit of ill-informed debate, I say that everyone who reads this blog should ignore the attempts of the ICAEW to encourage a more intelligent and informed debate. Or if we are to respond to them at all, we should listen to what Grange Hill once advised us to do.

Just say no.


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