Monday, April 07, 2008

When Will The British Bulldog Wake Up?

Now don't get me wrong, I love the UK. There is no better place to be, in my opinion, in the summertime, than the Yorkshire Dales...if you haven't been, trust me, it is paradise on Earth.

The thing is, however, that the government in the UK is a tax machine and nothing more. You can bleat on all you like about 'the best education system in the world' - 'the best health care in the world' blah blah, but come on, you know as well I do that this is complete and utter b... er rubbish.

The UK people are a proud nation, I am immensely proud to be British, but when I see a government intent on taking money from its people at every turn and then do not deliver it makes my blood boil.

If you think that you are paying less than 75% of your income in tax in one way, shape or form then, my friend you are living in cloud cuckoo land. The indirect taxes on fuel, and everything else you can name, swallow up value that you are not getting... the health care system, although manned by heroes and heroines is a crumbling mess and don't even get me started on public transport and the transportation system in general. On a recent visit to London I paid £6.20 for a tube ticket to take me all of 1 mile.... and had to wait for three tubes before there was any room to get on.

The one shining light in the management of the country is the financial system. A world leader, whatever New Yorkers, say but now the government are systematically dismantling his system too.

I know I will get heckled by those who despise the hedge funds, private equity fund managers and non dom zillionaires for earning too much, but to start taxing them out of the country, to me, is just insane.

I have said many, many times on this blog, that buying into globalisation was a priority for the UK government, of any denomination, and it has brought riches to the country, but you cannot buy into that philosophy and then complain when the portability of industry bites you in the bum.

What I mean, and have said before, is that the financial industry is, probably, the most portable of all businesses. It is great to be able to meet your colleagues, business partners and clients five minutes down the road in a London wine bar, but the days of 'having' to be in London for that very reason are a long time gone.

So, if you take away incentives for the wealthy to be in the UK, they will just up sticks and leave. We have seen the German government bribe a bank employee for tax information and we have seen the UK government impose similar strong-arm tactics to holders of offshore accounts. Now we are seeing a change in tax structures and possible further regulation and a general environment that says 'you are not welcome'.

Does this really make any sense? Even the most ardent communist can see, surely, that an economy that fosters the wealthy and provides incentives for them to set up businesses, spend their money and contribute to the economy is a better plan than one that involves alienating these people?

I am all for people paying the taxes that are due after all even God set a tithe of 10%, but what he didn't do was add VAT on ten thousand loafs of bread. He didn't say..ah because you have become successful I am increasing your tithe to 20% and He didn't change the rules every year in the annual Bible Budget.

I am not for leaving the rich alone to wallow in taxes that are lower that the average, but I am also not for blaming the rich for the ills of a nation (I will leave that to tin pot politicians). To allow the wealthy to prosper may annoy some people, but it is a fact of life that these kind of people are the drivers of economies and the providers of jobs, we should tax them, sure, but we should hold onto them, treat them well and encourage them to invest their wealth in the economy by providing as many tax breaks as possible, not by taking money from them in some new fangled tax structure.

If the UK continues down this road, which I am sure it will under this government, then others such as the wiley Swiss, will dismiss the barracking of a Europe that cannot compete on the tax front and welcome an entire industry and generation of the uber wealthy with open arms.

I live in, and love Switzerland, but the UK is my home and its people my kin, so to see it drowning because of a tax junky government is a depressing sight. The one bright side is, however, that the British people won't be taken for mugs by anyone for long, and when the British bulldog awakes from this particular slumber, that has allowed tax rates to spiral, this government will find they are being run out of the country quicker than a non dom billionaire hedge fund manager who doesn't know the words to 'God Save The Queen'.

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