Week 25: Prat – Nigel Farage

by Jackie_South on June 23, 2013

UKIP_PratThis week, our award for the biggest prat of the last seven days goes to the tax-dodging UKIP leader, Nigel Farage

It was always only a matter of time before the shine came off of Nigel Farage.  Here is what he said to the European Parliament only a month ago (22 May 2013) on the issue of tax avoidance:

“Mr President, well, there is a great degree of unity here this morning. A common enemy: rich people and successful companies evading tax, which is of course a problem – avoiding tax, which is not illegal but gives this whole Chamber this morning a high moral tone and, as Mr Barroso says, it is all about the perception of fairness. There is the added bonus, of course, that it drives a wedge between the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Caymans.”

He then went on to decry the fact that officials of the European Commission paid less tax on their earnings than they would in their host countries.

It was therefore a little surprising that a month later it was revealed that Mr Farage himself had been doing a bit of tax avoidance himself, ferreting £969,000 of dividends from his company Farage Limited into an Isle of Man trust fund: the Farage Family Educational Trust 1654. The educational objective was a little vague though: according to Farage it “was called an educational trust and could have been used for grandchildren’s schools fees, things like that”. He admitted that part of the rationale was to avoid inheritance tax.

Maybe we shouldn’t have been shocked – after all, what do you expect of a public school educated stockbroker – honesty and a sense of public duty? But to have been caught with your trousers down a month after publicly calling those avoiding tax a common enemy is pretty stupid.

But the prattishness does not end there.  Many a politician has been accused of trying to rewrite history, precious few of trying to rewrite geography. In his interview for Channel 4 news, he asked “Isle of Man, is that offshore?”.

Erm, yes (Nigel, the clue is in the word ‘Isle’).  You should have known that, not least because you identified it as an offshore tax haven in your own speech on 22 May.

What a prat!

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