Heard the one about the comic and the PM?
7:40am Monday 25th June 2012 in Newsdesk
I HAVE made a terrible error of judgement. I have been paying my taxes all these years without once looking into whether I should siphon them into a slush fund in the Cayman Islands.
I apologise. Apparently, taxation is no longer a suitable subject for comedy and we now have to be completely po-faced about it. Gone are the days of jokes about Ken Dodd.
The new breed of comedian, Jimmy Carr, has donned sackcloth and ashes over his involvement in the K2 tax avoidance scheme - he is reported to have saved more than £1 million a year in the scheme.
On Twitter - presumably because saying it 'live' wth his face would have immediately led to accusations of sarcasm - Carr said: "I appreciate as a comedian, people will expect me to 'make light' of this situation, but I'm not going to in this statement.
"As this is obviously a serious matter. I met with a financial advisor and he said to me 'Do you want to pay less tax? It's totally legal'. I said 'Yes'."
"I now realise I've made a terrible error of judgement.
"Although I've been advised the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal, and has been fully disclosed to HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs). I'm no longer involved in it and will in future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly. Apologies to everyone. Jimmy Carr."
Yep, Jimmy, I'm sure that will shut the hecklers up on your next tour.
More than 1,000 people, including Carr, are thought to be using the Jersey-based K2 scheme, which is said to be sheltering £168m a year from the Treasury.
Under the K2 scheme, an individual resigns from their company and any salary they subsequently receive is paid to an offshore trust.
Now I have little sympathy with anyone who enjoys the benefits of an NHS free at the point of delivery, good state schools and all the other benefits of living in the UK without wanting to pay the full price, tempting though it is to think we could get one over on the tax man and the 45 per cent tax rate.
But what does it say about our society that the Prime Minister feels the need to weigh in and moralise about the financial affairs of a comedian - the same multi-millionaire Prime Minister who shamelessly said he would "roll out the red carpet" for rich French people fleeing Francois Hollande's 75 per cent top rate of tax?
The one good thing about this recession is that British people have developed a keen nose for hypocrisy. One can pretty much get away with a sexual peccadillo in public life these days, provided everyone involved is a consenting adult and one isn't stupid enough to apply for a superinjunction, but be seen to be doing something "morally reprehensible" with money and the public hackles will rise up.
It's almost as if we're....French.
So watch out, Mr Cameron, your comments are steeped in the stench of hypocrisy, particularly when the spotlight is thrown on the £1.2 million in cheap loans (at 0.25 per cent and one per cent interest) given to the Conservative Party from companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and Liechtenstein.
Time to put your taxation money where your mouth is and reform the labyrinthine taxation system to make it fairer and more accountable.
Close the taxation loopholes schemes like K2 use instead of spouting soundbites.
SEPARATED at birth: England's education secretary Michael Gove and Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
O levels....my precioussssssssss.....
THE Custard Cream is officially Britain's favourite biscuit - beating Bourbons and Malted Milk to the title.
Researchers (seriously, people, get a proper job) said Custard Creams are most beloved of students and teenagers.
I urge you all to vote locally with your biscuit choices. After all, Gwent is the home of the Jammy Dodger.