You may have heard on the grown-up news that Barclays Bank has obtained a court order preventing the Guardian from publishing documents, leaked by a whistleblower, showing how the bank avoided hundreds of millions of pounds in tax – you know, money that should have gone towards schools, hospitals, education, welfare, police, defence, stuff like that.
This quote, attributed to a Financial Times commentator, says it all.
I was lucky enough to read through the first of the Barclays documents…
Until now I have been a supporter of the finance industry – I work with people there regularly and respect many of them, and greatly enjoy the Financial Times and other financial papers. However this has shone a light on something for me, and made me certain that these people belong in jail, and companies like Barclays deserve to be bankrupt. They have robbed everyone of us, every single person who pays tax or who will ever pay tax in this country (and other countries!), through both the bailouts and schemes such as this.
I will say it was absolutely breathtaking, extraordinary. The depth of deceit, connivance and deliberate, artificial avoidance stunned me. The intricacy and artificiality of the scheme deeply was absolutely evident, as was the fact that they knew exactly what they were doing and why: to get money from one point in London to another without paying tax, via about 10 offshore companies. Simple, deliberate outcome, clearly stated, with the exact names of who was doing this, and no other purpose.