Monday, March 01, 2010

Donations From Non Doms: Labour's Hypocrisy

The Labour mudslingers are already out in force, so let's compare and contrast what the Labour Party DOES re non doms, compared to its rhetoric.

Gordon Brown has previously claimed it is ‘a scandal’ that there is not greater transparency on the tax status of party backers. But latest figures show that since 2001, Labour have taken over £10 million from eight reportedly ‘non-dom’ donors:

• Lord Paul – £69,250 in donations to Labour, including £45,000 to Gordon Brown’s leadership campaign. A close friend of Gordon Brown and appointed to the Privy Council last summer, he has admitted to being ‘non-dom’.
• Lakshmi Mittal - £4.125 million in donations to Labour.
• Sir Ronald Cohen - £2.55 million in donations to Labour. Cohen was appointed chair of the Social Investment Taskforce, which was announced by the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown.
• Sir Christopher Ondaatje - £1.7 million in donations to Labour.
• Sir Gulam Noon - £532,826 in donations to Labour.
• William Bollinger - £510,725 in donations to Labour.
• Mahmoud Khayami - £985,000 in donations to Labour including £5,000 to Hazel Blears’ deputy leadership campaign. He has helped bankroll two flagship schools, one of which Gordon Brown opened, and was personally thanked for a donation by Tony Blair.
• Dr David Potter - £90,000 in a donation to Labour. He has previously delivered a lecture at Downing Street.
And compare this with the donations from Lord Ashcroft's Bearwood company...

Only one per cent donated by Bearwood this year. In the last calendar year, Bearwood’s donations contribution to the Conservative Party amounts to just one per cent of all donations – £329,859 donated out of £32,508,866 received by the Conservative Party (Electoral Commission register).

Less than five per cent donated by Lord Ashcroft and Bearwood since Cameron became leader. Since David Cameron became leader, less than five per cent of cash and in-kind donations have come from Bearwood Corporate Services, a company in which Lord Ashcroft has an interest. Since Q1 2006, Bearwood has donated £4,131,995 in cash and in-kind out of a total £90,723,018 donated to the Conservative Party in the same period (Electoral Commission register).

• At most 10 per cent of marginal seat funds donated by Bearwood. Of the funds spent in marginal seats, the amount received from Bearwood is no more than 10 per cent at most (Electoral Commission register). The Independent put this at 18% in their Saturday edition, but those who have done the calculations disagree and out it at a maximum of 10%.


The point is that David Cameron has made clear that in future all donations will have to be made by domiciled UK taxpayers. Gordon Brown, so far as I am aware, has made no such commitment. Lord Ashcroft has said he will abide by the new rules. Will Lord Paul and Sir Ronnie Cohen and their friends?

Declaration of interest: Lord Ashcroft is a minority shareholder in my two companies, Biteback Media & Biteback Publishing

81 comments:

DespairingLiberal said...

The Lakshmi Mittal one particularly stands out as a monument to hypocrisy, corruption and venality, given all that followed it.

I would favour a limit on individual and corporate donations, as it would force all political parties to return to the difficult business of trying to persuade people to join, pay memberships and keep them on board. In the present system, the main party leaders can afford to ignore their own memberships once elected. Labour in particular has declined to a virtual rump at the local level because of Blair/Brown's indifference to them.

Ian said...

If we moved to a sensible, growth-promoting land-value-based system of raising goverment revenue, then the idea of being non-domicile or not would be irrelevant.

Future Fair said...

Great post, Ian. Now, lets sure the spin-machine doesn't flood the media before people can get a true sense of balance, here, and learn about the other 'non-doms'.


~
Google for "Future Fair For All".

Newmania said...

That is brilliant blogging Iain. I fear that the "Ashcroft" meme never had much to do with the truth though.
What is so irritating is that in his case he is not simply a rich man buying influence he is , quite obviously doing something he believes in.
When you think of the history of Labour Party funding over the last few years ...well ...if only we had more Ashcrofts and less Ecclestones.


Great work

Sean Haffey said...

The question remains of how individuals and corporations (and unions) can have disproportional effect on party policy because of money. We really need limits.

Here's a strawman: max £10,000 a year from individuals and £50,000 a year from businesses and unions.

Democracy can't be based on the will of the people when behind the scenes puppetmasters are pulling the strings.

kasou said...

dont see this in the main press headlines...are they anti Tory..a nd if so well they deserve the bullying they get..and goodbye England..been nice while it lasted.

Martin said...

Well you should be listening to Radio 5 Iain as Victoria Derbyshire is slaughtering Ashcroft on air. A woman tried to point out that Lord Paul is doing the same and Derbyshire shut her up.

This seems to be the BBC line that anyone who brings up Labour non doms will be shut down.

Perhaps YOU Iain should take Derbyshire on?

R Mutt said...

They're just donors, not party officials though.

It's a bit disingenuous to say "if something's OK for a private individual who donates to a party, it's also OK for the senior officials of that party".

Cameron pledged that all MPs and peers would "need to be, or be treated as, a full UK taxpayer". He didn't promise that all party donors would be full UK taxpayers.

He shouldn't have made that promise if he wasn't able or willing to enforce it. Doing so loses you credibility.

Twig said...

I just heard about the Ashcroft "confession" on LBC news.

No mention of the Labour non-doms though.

With your blog and media activity I think you do more singlehandedly for the Tories than their own PR machine.

What's up with them?

Unsworth said...

@ Sean Haffey

Read that ancient tome 'The New Industrial State', JK Galbraith.

That'll help.

Then consider your understanding of 'Democracy'.

Eddie said...

Apparently Lord Paul is considering standing down as a Lord due to the new rules.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7205976/Lord-Paul-considers-quitting-Lords-over-tax-exile-rules.html

I guess that if he were to do so it would be fair to say that his commitment to the UK was less than that of Ashcroft.

Labour need to be pushed on this now, before the election.

Will their non doms walk away with the money?

We demand to know!

Nigel said...

>>I would favour a limit on individual and corporate donations, as it would force all political parties to return to the difficult business of trying to persuade people to join, pay memberships and keep them on board.<<

Couldn't agree with you more.

(But didn't the Tories already propose this a couple of years ago ?)

trevorsden said...

I see the KGB have bought the Independent.

Surreal.

Prodicus said...

"Just donors"? Paul is a privy councillor, FFS. Look it up.

strapworld said...

I have mentioned it before on this blog and others. But this country is indebted to Lord Ashcroft for the creation of CRIMESTOPPERS. This followed the slaughter (correct word) of Police Constable Keith Blakelock in Tottenham.

Crimestoppers has and is doing great work assisting the police and others in solving many crimes and putting serious criminals behind bars.

Let us not forget his loaning his collection of Victoria Crosses to the Imperial War Museum.

I have emailed Sky News and the BBC asking that, in the interests of fair play and blance!!! they seek answers from the Labour donors and non doms as to just what they have done for the British people!

I would invite you and your contributors to bombard these news organisations with a request for fairness and openness.

I also find it rich that the Liberal Democrats, in the shape of the awful Huhne, are demanding the Electoral Commission rush through their investigation into Lord Ashcroft companies.

Irene said...

The sheer hypocrisy of Johnson calling Ashcroft unpatriotic when Lord Paul would rather leave the House of Lords than pay UK tax.
I think this is a timely announcement from Ashcroft as it should focus on labour's non doms -that is if the journos and media do their job properly!

Irene said...

Newmania - agreed.
Lord Paul it appears would rather leave the House of Lords than pay UK tax.
Timely announcement by Ashcroft as it now focuses on labour's non doms - could be a good PMQs me thinks!

Houdini said...

Why does the Tories not make more capital out of donations made not by non-doms, who are basically British living abroad as tax exiles, but by non-British people?

Is Lakshmi Mittal a British citizen?

Enlightened Despot said...

Iain - that is not the point. The Conservatives have known of Lord Ashcroft's status for years but have obfuscated whenever asked about it. Hardly transparent. And although Ashcroft's letter is not categorical, it seems that he has not abided by his own Leader's stated requirement on qualification for sitting in the Lords.

Nigel said...

>>They're just donors, not party officials though.<<

Wasn't Lord Paul deputy speaker of the HoL ?

(And at least non doms don't get to fiddle expenses for their residences outside London ).

Charles said...

DespairingLiberal

That was what the Tories proposed a couple of years ago...Labour rejected it because they wanted the unions to be free to give as much as they like (on the specious grounds that they were "aggregated individual donations").

Also, per you previous post, the importance is the difference between taxc RESIDENCY and tax DOMICILE. Again, Cameron has proposed a reform which will require all members of the HoL or HoC to be DOMICILED in the UK for tax purposes and hence pay tax on their worldwide income.

Bill Quango MP said...

I feel this is like bullygate.
it matters to politically minded people and especially activists who have to face a funded opposition with meagre resources. But to the public - barley a register..

Labour have union funded by a system of taxpayer cash disguised as the modernisation fund.

Tory has wealthy business backers.

Lib dems have criminals

Moriarty said...

Andrew Neil has just announced that he will be having some fun with his list of Labour non-doms.

Expect his BBC contract to be terminated forthwith....:-)

cherami said...

Chris Huhne has just made a foll of himself on Sky.

My word, but self righteous indignation repeated 'n' times is unattractive. Every question about Lord Paul or whatever steered straight back to a rant.

One way of voting eliminated.

skynine said...

Labour as a political contribution. Ask how much has been given to the Unions for various specious purposes.

I am also mighty annoyed that the amalgamation of the Britannia BS and the Co-op bank now makes me a contributor to Gordo.

The Purpleline said...

And the TATA owners of Corus who have moth balled the polant in return for 600m carbon tax credit while transferring production to India.

Iain- did you see Huhne on Sky news, I am sure he opened himself up to libel charges. Called Ashcroft a Tax dodger and Tories of being a Banana Republic party.

This from a party that used and kept stolen money from a fraudster.

M said...

Just watched Chris Huhne on SKY TV News acting all indignant and self-righteous and demanding the Tories pay back the money that Lord Ashcroft has donated - however the wind was then taken comprehensively out of his sails when the interviewer asked if the Lib Dems were going to pay back the £2 million that their donor fraudster gave their party!

M said...

Thing is that Lord Paul has just recently been made a Privy Councillor - for what reason?

Cash for Honours if ever there was one.

Mentor said...

Why do Sky and the BBC avoid the Labour Non Dom Donors?

The Purpleline said...

Sky news Scottish bloke who is so obviously a Labour supporting Jock, says Lord Paul is ok because he made it known he was a Nom-Dom.

Ha ha you really could not make it up. Niall Patterson is the Hoons (self censored on guido terms) name

Iain- you must get on TV and start the fight back, idiots I mean voters will only see this warped news story. Come on man you can do it just think of that atrocious women ALi Brown of the Indie our new Russian paper.

Cold said...

Good for you, Iain, in declaring your interest here. Al Campbell on twitter is having a feeding frenzy over Lord Ashcroft but I've tried to correct the mistaken impression that all in the Labour camp is rosy.

George said...

It's still all pretty murky.
Corporate backers are more likely to gain influence than Joe Public who bungs £100-00 a piece.

As for Labour hypocrisy, nothing new there.
Shout it from the rooftops and they will deny it is the same as Tory donors. Cos as we all know when you give fromn the left its Altruistic, but a right handed giver is a child murdering, hard hearted, callous, blood sucking, fascist oppressor of the working classes, out to seek victims and make more money at the expense of the angelic hard toiling Stakovites, who only seek a crust of bread, a blanket and a a rock to lay their heads upon each day.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, over the top, but think ironic....

Jimmy said...

It does raise the puzzling question that if Ashcroft was resident all along then why use Bearwood as a vehicle for donations at all? He would have been fully entitled to give in his own name.

George said...

And let's not forget this piece of news, which appears to have been swept underneath the carpet. The Lib-Dems have never made restitution to the defrauded investors :--

((Courtesy of the Indie))..

Friday, 28 November 2008

The Liberal Democrats' biggest donor became one of Britain's most wanted men today after being convicted of stealing millions from a former football boss.
Michael Brown, 42, who was tried in his absence after skipping bail, posed as an international bond dealer, pretended his father was a Lord, claimed connections with royalty, and promised investors staggering returns of up to 50 per cent.
£2.4m was donated to the Lib Dems' 2005 General Election war chest.

norman said...

The problem is silcence from Tories and notheir weak media presence. They need at attack dog- David Davis!
Huhne is a useless crap. Just why people keep on virting for this useless libdems- I have expereince with them inIslington, two faced imbiciles.

norman said...

Lord paul association with discredited Mrs Gandhi's emergency regime need to be investigated. He ran away from India when she lost the election to escape the fall out of his support to her. We harbour all these characters.

Dungeekin said...

Thanks for the inspiration figures, Iain.

'Labour: Our Non-Doms Are Nicer Than Their Non-Doms, Honest'

D

Sean Haffey said...

>Unsworth.

Beautifully patronising, but I am quite happy with my understanding of the meaning of democracy.

hesspartacus said...

Pay attention at the back.

Sally Roberts said...

LBC is as much of a Labour media outlet as the BBC. It is owned by Global Media whose CEO, Richard Park, was at school with Gordon Brown in Kirkcaldy. Their Programme Controller, Jonathan Richards is ex-BBC and very much a "controller" by nature as well as by name. He is a by-word for "shutting down" anyone who disagrees with his line.

Mr. Musicology said...

Can I clarify, Lord Paul, and Mittal, and the rest of the list are fine, as they have no position within the Labour party other than donors.

As in they give money and say "do what you want with it".

What's more, Mittal (Labour's biggest donor) has donated less in 10 years, than Aschroft has in 3.


The issue isn't donors. It's tax dodgers playing important political roles in parties.

And then the parties frankly lying to keep them there.

Ashcroft was only given a lordship on deception - he insisted he would immediately pay full tax in 2001.

Ashcroft was only able to become tory deputy chairman on the same deception.

He then went on to become an important party strategiser on the same deception.

His party then, CONTINUOUSLY, deceived to keep him there.

That's Cameron's problems:

1: He's a senior party figure
2: Both he and Ashcroft lied to keep him there

Many will see any tory win now as completely corrupt

Weygand said...

But again this is nerd talk and ignores the real world, because

a) Fair or not, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party will not be judged by the same yardstick. The 'Toffs' getting money from a rich 'tax avoider' plays worse than the party of the 'Common Man being supported by 'philanthropists'.
b) The slogan is 'Time for a Change' not 'We're no worse than those Shysters'.
c) Even though Ashcroft has kept to the letter of his undertaking, some will feel that the legal interpretation is not the one they would have preferred
d) The fact that it has taken so long to get to the truth will suggest it is something Ashcroft/Conservatives were embarrassed about. In this context the replay on the BBC of the Paxman/Hague interview was humiliating.

This is all no more than damage limitation and another bad day - especially for DC who has been made to look weak and shifty.

Richard said...

SSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

As I write this, the rump of the Labour spin machine is busy forming a circular firing squad around Ashcroft.

Don't interrupt them when they're busy. There is nothing the average floating voter despises more than hypocrisy dressed up as righteous indignation.

simon said...

Why, when George Young said that Ashcroft was a non-dom on the telly, did the Tory party slap him down and say that he had 'misspoken'?

That was a lie, wasn't it? And one that suggests deep levels of unease among the Tories about this. After all, this is only coming out now to pre-empt an FoI discloure.

Al said...

this is all a side issue, along with brown being a bully. let's stick to the issues that really matter, i.e. how a conservative government is going to get us out of the mess we are in without crippling the whole country.

Twig said...

Dear Mr. Cameron,

I would like to suggest that you parachute Iain Dale into position as head of your press office.

I'm sure he would be prepared to take the pay cut just to sort you lot out as your current PR performance is painful to watch.

This suggestion is well meant as you and I still agree in general terms on a few issues although your stance on EU matters keeps me firmly in the UKIP camp.

p.s.
Keep an eye on his use of expenses in relation to hotel internet charges.
Second thoughts, pay the charges, it'll be worth it in the long run.

tory boys never grow up said...

Jimmy

A very good question. One of the tests ofetn used to differentiate between whether a person is "resident" or "ordinarily resident" for tax purposes is whether a person is on the electoral register. Individuals have to be on the electoral register in order to make donations in their own name.

Ordinary residence status is often far more significant than domicile when it comes to detrmining tax status - as domicile status only helps shelter passive income which arises overseas, while not being ordinarily resident allows the person concerned to allocate their income between UK and non UK duties.

Will Cameron insist that all his peers should be "ordinarily resident" in the UK??

golden_balls said...

I thought this would come back and it has but i assumed it would be after the election.

expect further twists !!

if only the Tories had been open on this issue. Labour have Lord Paul but iains friend Lord Ashcroft is the main focus.

This might be quite an interesting week.

tory boys never grow up said...

For the avoidance of doubt I believe all peers and party political donors (indirect or direct) should be domicileed and ordinarily resident in the UK - i.e they should pay the full whack of the tax that they are prepared to legislate on everyone else.

albertmbankment said...

I've seen a Tweet roll through, on PoliticsHome.com, from the ridiculous Sadiq Khan. It was posted after 4.00pm and reads:

"On way into London from Harlow and seen that Lord Aschroft has confessed to being a non dom. This is a bombshell confession. Who else knew?"

By all the gods, this chap's right on the ball, isn't he. Has anybody told him that the Berlin Wall's come down, or that the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage? Let alone the bad news about Labour's own non-dom funders?

Unsworth said...

Mr Musicology

"As in they give money and say "do what you want with it"."

And that, you believe, is the way of the world?

Such charming naivety.

Sean Haffey said...

>Twig

Seconded

Barnacle Bill said...

For feck's sake Iain when is your party going to show some backbone?
Or is a bit of hand-to-hand down in the mud at the bottom of the trenches too mucky for Dave & his pals to soil their hands with?
Every wide open NuLabor goal mouth and your lot end up scoring an own goal!?!
Get those white gloves off Cameron & Co. and do a bit of one eyed gouging!

pete-s said...

Conspiracy:

I wondered why 50% of the adverts on LBC and sister stations are Gov sponsored. Gordons school mate eh! The Independent had three Ashcroft stories on Saturday and one today. The Beeb will only talk about Ashcroft and not about Labour donors. Getting very easy to tell what and where to; orders from the bunker are sent.

Unsworth said...

@ Sean Haffey

Come now, I didn't mention your understanding of 'the meaning of' Democracy, did I? It's a serious question. Your interpretation of 'Democracy' is a direct reflection of your own hopes and aspirations - inevitably (and as mine might be).

The reference to Galbraith was another serious point - and that is the question of how much democratic power really remains in the hands of the electorate.

For further reading maybe try Vance Packard, he's pretty entertaining, and then to round off you could have a crack at H.J. Eysenck who's always good for a laugh.

In all honesty I believe that the 30 - 35% nutters who apparently are declaring that they'll vote Labour have been entirely deprived of rational thought. Next, we should consider just what is being put in our/their water supplies.

scotch said...

Why is your declaration of interest relegated to a squintingly tiny footnote?

Would it not show more ethics (or may I venture morals) to have stated it upfront in the text of your piece, or your many other writings on this and similar subjects?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

This bizarre thread, with its mental ideas that people should somehow just fall over and give the Government all their money is making my flabber ghast.

If people become nondoms or condoms what does it matter? They are trying to protect their money and they have a right to do so.

Its all a bit fake and just a trigger for envy and spleen.

Iain Dale said...

Scotch, I might have known there was no pleasing you.

I was asked about the subject on 5 Live earlier and prefaced my remarks with a declaration of interest. But I suppose for some reason you'll find fault with that too.

Hey ho.

scotch said...

Fair enough. I should have prefaced my remarks with "It's good to see you declaring an interest - at last. But" and on from then.

OK? My question stands though. As usual.

Iain Dale said...

There you go again. By using the words 'at last' you intimate that I haven't done so before. I have. When I set up the companies I did so and have never hidden his investment.

Of course it was in smaller type, to differentiate it from the main story. I often do that.

If I was hiding anything I wouldnt have said anything, would I? Have a go at me by all means, but for goodness sake, if this is the best you can do.

scotch said...

It seems obvious to me that somebody who is funded in any part by somebody else should, when they write about that person and any organisation they hugely fund, declare that interest in equal prominence so readers can see the connection clearly.

Your readers do not, as a rule, read your company records do they?

Oliver said...

That is poor work Iain, you know they are not comparable. You have given one years money Ashcroft has given to the Tores and not his cumulative contribution through that business of his.
Secondly, Labour non-doms have admitted it whereas Ashcroft implied as part of his peerage he had become a full UK citizen, thirdly his influence over the entire Tory election machine and indeed over certain policy areas makes him particulary powerful and more so than those Labour donors you refer to. Be fair Ian - the Tories are outrageous on this one and you are comparing chalk and cheese.

scotch said...

"But I suppose for some reason you'll find fault with that too."

"for goodness sake, if this is the best you can do."

I'm asking you a fairly serious question and your petulance does you no favours, Iain.

Guppy said...

And billionaire Lord Paul is under investigation after claiming expenses for a home he never stayed in. You could not make it up.

A small flat in which he had never slept was claimed to be his main home, allowing him to obtain £38,000 in expenses from the Lords.

Lord Paul, a friend of Gordon Brown who has promised to help to fund Labour at the election, insisted that the claims were within the rules.

He told The Times, that he had never slept in the residence he nominated as his main home. “It is true, but it was available,” he said. “I gave the flat as my address, because I have it as a place to stay.”

Peers can claim the overnight allowance only if their main home is outside London. The one-bedroom flat, at the three-star Bignell Park Hotel, in Chesterton, Oxfordshire, was occupied by a manager from one of Lord Paul’s hotels.

MoK said...

To be honest the response from the Tories has underlined everything that is wrong with our politicians. It really doesn't do the party any favours in the coming election either.

I don't dispute that other parties receive donations from non-doms and it should be outlawed completely.

Point here is that Lord Ashcroft is in the wrong. He promised ten years ago, when Hague got him the peerage, that he would change his status.

He failed to do so, in fact he has tried to cloud the issue and hide it.

Today, instead of just admitting that, accepting it was wrong and correcting it, we've had the whole "but they do it" arguement. Like spoiled children. It's pathetic.

Change your status Lord Ashcroft, be honourable. Then once you've done that you are in a position to criticise others for not following your lead.

Until then, no matter how often you point your finger at someone else, you are *still* in the wrong.

MoK said...

To be fair to Iain, I heard the interview on 5Live and the declaration of interest was very clear and prefaced anything else he had to say.

thespecialone said...

To the general public who will vote but are not particularly interested in politics, this will barely register as an issue to make them vote the way they do.

To this BBC, this is 'we've got the bastards now. We can show what t*ats the Tories really are. SAVE GORDON AND LABOUR'.

Martin said...

Iain you were SO WET on Radio 5 today over Ashcroft. The BBC are out to get the Tories and you know it yet you said nothing? Explain why the BBC have had Ashcroft the No1 story all day yet ITV had it briefly on as story 3 or 4?

When you were on with that prat Bacon why didn't you point out that Nolan is a left wing bully?

Alan Douglas said...

We know that some former union leaders were Russian spies, and that the USSR funded various lefty things in the UK.

But underhand foreign money from the LEFT is OK, while semi-foreign money quite legally given from the RIGHT is EVIL INCARNATE.

And yes, the trolls have been out in force today, all over Radio 5 Live, where their comments were often read out with no rebuttal or comment.

Alan Douglas

shelagh said...

Hypocrisy is the word for tonights edition of the BBC1 News at 6 o'clock. This completely biased edition was disgusting and the people responsible for this programme certainly deserve to be censured heavily or to be asked to resign.

Ed the Shred said...

Good grief, the negative reporting and sheer hypocrisy that is being displayed today on the blogs and the media is breathtaking!

I applaud Lord Ashcroft’s clarification on his tax status as well as his intentions for the future. There is nothing in his statement that surprises me and it certainly does not confirm him as a ‘tax dodger’ as so many commentators would have us believe.

Whilst Lord Ashcroft may not have been as transparent in the past (and why should he given that his personal tax affairs, like all of ours, are private) it was always clear (well to me at least) that the assurances made by the Tory party would not have been made without a solid foundation. Today we find out what that foundation is, namely that Lord Ashcroft during 2000 made himself ordinarily tax resident for UK tax
purposes and therefore fully complied with the undertaking he was asked to give before taking up his peerage.

The fact that so many media pundits, many of whom put themselves out as ‘tax experts’, since 2000 could not distinguish between residency, domicility and being a UK citizen is hardly the fault of Lord Ashcroft and his advisors. Judging from the blogs today an impression is given that anyone with non-domiciled tax status is an evil hateful person who is stealing from the mouths of orphans and widows. If true then our Glorious Dear Leader, both in his incarnations and keeper of the
nation’s finance and leader of our country should have made such a status illegal years ago. Why has he not, what with him being the Son of the Manse, having a Moral Compass and whatnot?

To David Cameron’s credit he has recognised that this matter, whatever the merits either way, is simply not going to go away and that only people with UK residency AND domicility can be members of either house.

Personally I don’t think the nom-dom status is that important, so long as members are clearly tax resident. This is on the proviso that the non-dom rules are suitably tightened up to remove some ambiguity on what is a 'remittance' and what is not.

So, good on Lord Ashcroft.

As everyone seems to be declaring all possible interest conflicts I will do the same.

1. I have never met Lord Ashcroft and do not have any desire to do so.

2. Lord Ashcroft has never invested in any of my business interests.

3. I have been a non-dom twice in the past, currently I'm not.

tory boys never grow up said...

Ed the Shred

"Today we find out what that foundation is, namely that Lord Ashcroft during 2000 made himself ordinarily tax resident for UK tax
purposes"

I cannot see the claim to be "ordinarily tax resident" in Ashcroft's press realease - has he said so elsewhere? As explained above the difference between "resident" and "ordinarily resident" may have a large impact on UK tax liabilities.

Sean Haffey said...

It's been widely shown that <a href="http://www.economist.com/science-technology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15328544>people's morality is variable.</a>

Labour are making a big deal of Lord Ashcroft's status and I suspect that were the roles reversed, we would do the same.

However, it seems pretty clear to me that whether it's Lord Ashcroft or Lord Paul, the morality of major donors being non-dom is questionable. About as questionable as MPs who claim certain expenses which are "within the rules".

Craig Ranapia said...

Sean Haffey said...
However, it seems pretty clear to me that whether it's Lord Ashcroft or Lord Paul, the morality of major donors being non-dom is questionable.

How about "non-dom" British citizens (or qualified ex-pats to use a less loaded description) being allowed to vote? After all, is it "moral" to allow people who so blatantly show "no commitment to Britain" to directly influence the shape of the government at the ballot box?

Unsworth said...

@ Sean Haffey

"the morality of major donors being non-dom is questionable"

OK, that's an interesting stance - and that's not meant to be patronising. Care to expand on it? You would seem to regard the funding of politics and political parties as a matter of conscience (and/or morality). I don't entirely agree, but I'd like to hear more of your views.

Sean Haffey said...

> Unsworth

There is a problem that's been growing for some time in the USA and UK, and most probably other western countries. It's that a few rich donors can set the tone of political parties. It was perhaps most notable several years ago with the Referendum Party, but has been an issue with Labour for decades with the unions and Tories (of which I am one) with major donors like Lord Ashcroft.

However, this problem is exacerbated when the donor has shown equivocation in his/its support of the country. Democracy broadly implies that all people are equal in their rights to choose a government. However, when a large donor has shown half-hearted support for a country by (legally) avoiding paying much of his taxes there, can it be right that this same person is able to affect the nature of the government, by supporting some candidates and not others?

It may be legal but, like many MPs' expenses, it does not sit well.

Sean Haffey said...

On a lighter note, the satirist site, The Daily Mash, has a story about this matter. It concludes with:

Meanwhile Nathan Muir, a Guardian reading Labour voter from Highate, insisted: "If I was a multi-millionaire I would pay all my tax at the full rate because I want to help build a fair and equal society where every child has a chance to be all they can be."

Julian Cook added: "As an economist the only problem I have with that statement is that it's a massive f****** lie."


The Daily Mash is quite trashy, but every now and then is good for pricking pomposity.

Unsworth said...

@ Sean Haffey

Thanks. Two points:

1. All political parties have always been subject to the influences of the few. There's no evidence that Ashcroft is influencing the Conservative Party - unless you know otherwise. As to setting the 'tone' one wonders what the 'tone' of the Labour Party is, for example.


2. You're getting into difficult territory here with the concept of 'full' or 'half-hearted' support. You also seem to think that there are (moral?, legal?) criteria which determine who may or may not provide support. Definitions are required all round - not the least of which is the word 'support'. And there's the further complication of deciding what may be legal and what may be moral. What is legal can be readily established. By contrast moral considerations are many, varied and dependent on one's own principles and beliefs. Which leaves us in the morass of the concept of a common morality.... Is there such a thing?

Alec Yates said...

Ah so it is OK for the Conservative, Labour and Libdems to receive millions of pounds in donations from non doms, all legal according to the Electoral Commission.

However UKIP received donations amounting to £363,607 from a bookmaker, Alan Bown. Mr Bown had a legitimate business and paid taxes in this country but the Electoral Commission found a "technical breach of the electoral law". UKIP were told last year that this sum must be confiscated which with legal costs would bankrupt the party. The matter has gone to appeal.

Something stinks in the Rotten State of the United Kingdom it seems to me.

Richard said...

I think this post entirely misses the point. All the parties receive large donations from non-doms, but that is not the issue.

Ashcroft specifically promised that he would become a "permanent resident", the definition of domicile, in order to get his Lordship. The fact that Labour and the Lib Dems also take donations from non-doms is a completely separate point.

Twig said...

@Richard
Ashcroft specifically promised that he would become a "permanent resident", the definition of domicile, in order to get his Lordship.

Domicile is distinct from nationality or residence.

Whose definition are you referring to?