Tuesday, March 02, 2010

On Ashcroft and non-doms

If people were wondering why I didn't post about Lord Ashcroft yesterday it's because I couldn't be arsed and everyone else was busy swinging from the chandeliers passing comment.

On the one hand you had John Prescott blowing a gasket on Twitter (thinking that a 140 character medium is the be all and end all of politics these days) and on the other you had Eric Pickles pointing out to Prescott that he's a hypocritical idiot - as if we didn't know - frankly it was fun to watch.

However, in the cold light of day let me lay my cards on the tables as it were. I don't give a crap about whether Ashcroft only pays tax on his UK earnings. Nor do I care if a large number of Labour peers only do that either.

This is because it seems like rather obvious common sense to me that you should only pay tax on earnings where those earnings are earned anyway. In my view the position of a so-called non-domicile when it comes to tax on income ought to be the default position for all of us.

If I have a job in the UK I pay tax here. If I have a job in Spain but I commute from the UK, I should pay tax in Spain because that is where I earned the money. This idea that if you earn money abroad, but spend it somewhere else, you should be taxed where you spend it seems to me absurd. Now, I realise some might find this a terrible thought, but it just seems like common sense to me.

I should add that I was amused to hear that it was HM Treasury that told Ashcroft being a non-dom was OK. That would be the Treasury run by the Labour Government. Politically speaking did he not see this coming?

As for Alan Johnson suggesting that Ashcroft is "unpatriotic" let's not take the piss or take the intellectual capacity of the voter for granted now. After all, Johnson is a member of a Government that has given anyway quite a bit of British sovereignty over the years to the supranational EU. If non-domiciles are unpatriotic then I shudder to think what he could be called.

On the matter of people like Gordon Prentice who claim Ashcroft is "buying" the election in marginal seats because he's managing to put out many more leaflets than them, I do believe that is called "campaigning".

If one must take issue with anything it is that we have an electoral system that means most of us have bugger all say really because the election is decided by a few hundred people in key marginal seats.

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