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September 16, 2010

Mind, Management… and Misanthropy?

By Spear's

Wealth management seminars can be a snooze, but RBC Wealth Management’s one yesterday morning on tax and morality took a distinct swing for the eye-opening

Wealth management seminars can be a snooze, but RBC Wealth Management’s ‘Mind, Management… and Morality?’ one yesterday morning on tax and morality took a distinct swing for the eye-opening when final panelist Robert Venables QC decided to tell the hall what he thought about tax.

I’ll give you a clue: he doesn’t like it.

Or rather, he doesn’t like what the government does with it. It’s fine to use tax for ‘ensuring the criminal classes are kept under control and out of harm’s way’ and ‘subsidising the deserving poor’ and ‘protecting the country’.

What Blair, Brown et al have done, however, is start ‘subsidising drones, parasites and scroungers’ through welfare and benefits: ‘A girl simply has to open her legs, get pregnant, drop a child and there she is at the head of the benefits queue.’

I don’t know about children being dropped, but jaws certainly did.

‘We object,’ he continued, ‘to providing so-called “jobs” for incompetent civil servants, people who would unemployable in the private sector.’

Venables was terrifically scornful of HMRC, saying they can’t close one loophole for opening another, allowing clever lawyers to run rings round them. Worse was their claim that one could break the spirit of the law, when the case of R v Bhagwan shows that only the letter can be broken. Worst, perhaps, was the Government’s application of new laws on tax retrospectively, a generally deplorable move.

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He finished with a rousing cry: ‘We should be proud and no ashamed of taking them on: we’ll stop them stifling initiatives!’

You might not agree with his moral principle – it’s okay to avoid tax if you don’t approve of where it’s going – but you can’t fail to be stirred as he articulates it.

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