Friday, 21 September 2012

The Times publishes my letter on tax avoidance off-shore

Online at The Times here (£)

The article to which I was responding is here (£)

Sir, The contrast between those who squirrel away their earnings in tax havens such as Monaco and those who earn ordinary incomes and pay their tax without a fuss is revealing. On the one hand are the majority who do not object to contributing their fair share to fund the services on which we all depend and which help to create a civilised society. If they feel taxes are too high, they seek to change them through the levers available in a democracy.

The other group consists of people who wish to remain to all intents and purposes “British” because of the huge advantages this brings them and their businesses, yet reject the quid pro quo which is that they pay such taxes as the law decrees are owed by a British resident. The former group are, in effect, subsidising the greed and lack of commitment to this country of the latter. That the Establishment maintains such a baneful state of affairs in perpetuity would suggest that it is too close to the latter group.

John Slinger
Rugby, Warks

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Times publishes my letter on Hillsborough & need for police reform

Viewable at The Times online here (£).

‘The nettle must be grasped and police leadership improved, lest such a sorry state of affairs be repeated’

Sir, The conclusion of the Hillsborough Independent Panel that senior police officers engaged in a cover-up is evidence of the kind of inept and unaccountable leadership that risks undermining public confidence in the police (report, Sept 13). Uniquely among the key public services such as education and health, the police have remained largely immune to reform. Now the nettle must be grasped and police leadership improved, lest such a sorry state of affairs be repeated.

To do so will involve challenging powerful vested interests that have long prevented change, as witnessed by successive Home Secretaries. Therefore, a Royal Commission should be convened, independent of politicians, to investigate best practice from abroad and recommend how to improve this vital bastion of state power, upon which the public depends. One place to start might be bringing in an officer corps as per the Armed Forces, which might drive up leadership standards by attracting the very best into the force.

John Slinger