Tuesday, 17 February 2015

What is the UKIP stance on tax-dodging?

On the 12th of February 2015 eleven UKIP MEPs decided to align themselves with the Greek fascist party Golden Dawn in order to vote against an EU motion to set up a special committee to clamp down on tax-dodging. The other twelve UKIP MEPs (including leader Nigel Farage) didn't even turn up to vote at all.

If you're opposed to the tax-dodging activities of multinational corporations and the super-rich, you'll be pleased to know that, despite the efforts of UKIP and Golden Dawn, the motion passed by 612 votes to 19.

The EU proposal to take more action against tax-dodging was not only supported by all of the pro-EU parties, even the French hard line anti-EU Front National party voted in favour of it, as did the centre-left anti-EU Five Star Movement who are the only other major party in Nigel Farage's ragtag EFDD political group that exists only so that the constituent parties can claim millions in EU subsidies..

One of the favourite refrains of UKIP supporters is that UKIP is not an extreme-right party, however I'd like to see their explanation of how aligning themselves with the most extreme-right party in the whole of Europe fits into this "we're not extremists" narrative.

Another UKIP narrative that is challenged by this vote against efforts to clamp down on tax-dodging within the EU is their anti tax-dodging rhetoric. In an almost unbelievable move UKIP sent out an audacious press release the morning after their MEPs tried to obstruct efforts to tackle tax-dodging. Here are some extracts:

“We believe that tax evasion by individuals should face a zero tolerance approach. Every pound that one person manages to illegally evade equates to an extra pound that a law-abiding taxpayer has to pay" ... "Britain’s three corporate political parties should hang their heads in shame that they have all proven so lax and so lenient towards tax evaders while hammering working people on modest incomes with hefty tax bill"s ... "Britain needs a party that does not turn a blind eye to those who seek to dodge what they are legally bound to pay while still availing themselves of the many advantages of living or doing business in Britain" ... "UKIP is the one party with the appetite to tackle these infuriating abuses."
Surely anyone with a grain of sense must be left wondering how UKIP being the only UK party to side with Golden Dawn to vote against measures to clamp down on transnational tax-dodging fits in with the narrative that they are the only party with the appetite to oppose tax-dodging?

It wasn't long before UKIP's blabbermouthed leader Nigel Farage ruined this carefully crafted narrative that UKIP are the only party with the appetite to tackle tax-dodgers. It was only hours after their press release was sent out that Farage declared that "straightforward" tax avoidance isn't "bad" or "wrong" and that most tax-dodgers are only good-hearted people trying to rip off the rest of the taxpaying public for the good of their children!

Next time you hear a UKIP politician trying to ride the populist bandwagon by declaring that tax-dodging is wrong and UKIP are the only party with the appetite to do anything about it, just remember that UKIP MEPs deliberately tried to undermine efforts to clamp down on multinational tax-dodging. And next time you hear a UKIP supporter saying that UKIP aren't an extreme-right party, why not ask them why UKIP aligned themselves with the Greek Golden Dawn fascists to oppose efforts to clamp down on tax-dodging?

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