Sun Shame

The Sun is on a moral crusade. The Sun…. on a moral crusade. THE SUN! The very idea baffles me. Whilst they’re currently being investigated for paying police for stories, they’re taking the moral high ground elsewhere.
Today The Sun has said it:

CALLS on all Brits to be patriotic and report any cheats you know by calling the National Benefit Fraud Hotline

– This is in reponse to their story that benefit fraud costs the UK £1.2bn a year. The figure sounds huge, especially when written in block capitals, as it is in the Sun article. The problem is, the figure is actually tiny.

The story comes from figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions called “fraud and error in the benefit system”. What it actually states is:

The estimate for the percentage of total benefit expenditure overpaid due to fraud in 2010/11 has remained the same when compared to the 2009/10 and preliminary 2010/11 estimates, at 0.8%

– £1.2bn is actually representative of just 0.8% of the total benefit expenditure. If the total benefit expenditure was a £1 coin, less than 1p would be lost to fraud.

In December 2010, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee found that HMRC happily ignored Corporate tax avoidance worth up to £25bn. Vodafone was allowed to write off its tax bill of £6bn. Rather coincidentally, the head of tax policy at Vodafone is a man named John Connors. Connors used to work at HMRC and enjoys a close relationship with current head of HMRC, David Hartnett. They go for cosy lunches together, and then they casually wipe £6bn from the Nation’s second largest company on the Stock market’s tax bill. Perhaps the “scroungers” mentioned by the Sun should give Hartnett a ring and go out for lunch. All would be fine then.

According to the tax justice network’s report into tax abuse, the figure of £25bn, when added together with tax evasion (the likes of Labour candidate for Mayor; Ken Livingstone accused of using a tax loophole to save up to £50,000) costs us £69bn.

Corporations involved in widespread tax avoidance love Hartnett THAT much, he is the most ‘wined and dined’ civil servant in the Country, having been treated to wonderful Corporate hospitality a total of 107 over three years. I’m sure they do it just because he’s a nice guy. That must be it. I’m sure of it. How many times have you been asked “who would your ideal dinner guest be if you had a choice?” I always answer “Not Oscar Wilde, not John Lennon, not Christopher Hitchens, not Mohammad Ali… none of them…… give me David Hartnett any day of the week! What a guy.

Another company that enjoyed the dining company of Hartnett, was Goldman Sachs. It will come as no surprise that Hartnett personally shook hands with Goldman Sachs officials on a deal that waived £10,000,000 interest on a tax avoidance program that went wrong. If you’re a single mum struggling to raise kids, and are taking a few quid more than you’re legally entitled to, the Sun want you dead. If you’re a multimillionaire company that believes it owes nothing to anybody and actively breaks the law; as long as you take the head of HMRC out to lunch, you’re perfectly fine.

Like everything The Sun says and does, hypocrisy is at the apex of this story. News International owns The Sun. When its CEO Rupert Murdoch is not defending allegations of hacking the voicemail of a dead school girl, or bribing police for stories, it used to spend its time losing legal battles over unpaid taxes. In 2009 the Australian capital territory won its battle to reclaim $77 million in taxes and penalties owed by News Corporation. When News Corp moved its headquarters to the US, through tax loopholes, it deprived Australia of millions of $ in unpaid capital gains taxes.

The Sun has decided to block use of its “beat the cheat” picture on its article. It can be found here.
But I thought I’d create my own.

6 Responses to Sun Shame

  1. xena says:

    I think the key words in the title of the report you’re quoting would be Fraud and Error. Error. Clever spin on that. I wonder how far that 1.2 billion could be reduced by addressing overpayment errors in the system?

    Our Tory prats do that with annoying frequency, too. Just when somebody’s about to be investigated for tax fraud, corruption, DUI or what have you, they plaster the newspapers with some spin-doctored statistic about how poor people are guilty of that behaviour.

    I know you are, but what am I, Mr. 3 fingers pointing back at yourself Tory asshat.

  2. xena says:

    Was that me doing what I just tsk-tsked Mr. Godfrey for? I probably shouldn’t read posts about vicious conservative propaganda pieces when I have a toothache. I’m pretty crass when I’m lamenting the lost dental benefits my gvt. axed in their penny-wise pound-foolish welfare reform schemes.

    Do Tory asshats actually deserve civility?

    Oh well. I guess, at the very least, I should probably clarify for other readers who haven’t read our other chats yet that I am well aware that FutileDemocracy, the author of this post is about the farthest thing from a Tory. The Tory asshat I’m addressing is the author of the article FD is quoting. I’m still leaning toward a loud NO! This Tory asshat poorbashing propaganda peddlar does NOT deserve civility.

  3. xena says:

    I’m not leaning anymore. I’m there. These assholes are full of shit. THEY’RE PICKING ON THE FUCKING PENSIONERS?!? THE FUCKING WWII VETS?!? BE PATRIOTIC AND PERSECUTE THE PEOPLE WHO SAW TO IT THAT THERE STILL IS A FUCKING ENGLAND?!? The propagandists who contrived that bullshit should get down on their knees and thank those vets for their lives. WHAT A BUNCH OF FUCKING INGRATES!!

    Give the money to the people who need it most when England can afford it the least? What? Kate and Wills and their fucking tailors and hatmakers?!? That moneywaster back in May royally pissed me off, too. When students were getting their heads knocked in during a peaceful protest and disabled people were getting dragged out of their wheelchairs over the cuts to higher ed, the media kept pumping out stupid shows about the Queen Mom’s stupid hats. Canadians still pay for that shite! Well, ok, what we pay per taxpayer per year for our royal figureheads works out to about the cost of a meal at a fastfood restaurant. But it’s still annoying to watch people flocking to see some old royals from another country taking up space over here that could be put to much better use. And they’re using my fucking dental money to pay for their lavish lifestyles while they’re over here. Did you know that the old lady’s face is still all over our money? I was surprised by the number of Brits who camped out in the streets to see the royal wedding, with your economy being what it is, and with the amount of violence that Cameron’s thugs have done to poor Brits who try to speak up for themselves.

    And now this. Even our Harper Conservatives wouldn’t stoop so low as to attack pensioners. You need to pound on some MPs’ doors about this one, mate. That article is truly appalling.

  4. xena says:

    Come to think of it, the author of that rhetoric piece also had a shitty grasp on demographics and economics. They’re using American approaches to saving money by going after the largest, least productive group with bullshit stats about what a bunch of cheats that particular group would be. In Canada and the US, the baby boom demographic is about to become the largest ‘unproductive’ group in our history.

    Not so in the UK. Both of my grandparents had some PTSD symptoms after the war. They met over there. My mom hints at stories my Gran told about how horrible the Blitz was for everybody. People were too traumatized for a post-war baby boom on your side of the pond. Your baby boom was in the 60’s and 70’s. Your pensioners would be a tiny percentage of the ‘unproductive’ caste. All the more appalling. The poorbashers who wrote that propaganda aren’t just vicious. They’re too fucking lazy to base their witch-hunts on UK demographics, and prefer instead to regurgitate what the Americans are ranting about. Un fucking believable.

  5. midnightrambler says:

    Excellent article. Many thinks

  6. […] and so don’t tend to then spend time proving the claims wrong. I have wrote previously on The Sun’s manipulations, misinformation, and potently devious, divisive rhetoric, when it comes to […]

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