Week 7: Prat – Lord Fink

by Jackie_South on February 15, 2015

Fink_pratThis week, our regular award for the biggest prat of the last seven days goes to The Right Honourable Lord Fink of Northwood

At Prime Minister’s Question Time this week, Ed Miliband accused Stanley Fink, the former Conservative Party Treasurer and hedge fund manager who was ennobled by David Cameron four years ago, of undertaking “tax avoidance activities” in a list of businessmen who preferred to donate money to the Conservative Party than pay the tax they should. Cameron was “a dodgy prime minister surrounded by dodgy donors”.

Fink was furious, and came out fighting: he wrote to Miliband to complain and followed it up with the statement “I challenge Ed Miliband to either repeat his allegations outside the House of Commons, or perhaps to withdraw them publically”. The implication being that Miliband would not dare repeat the charge against him without the legal protection of Parliamentary privilege.

Fast forward a few hours, and Fink had changed his tune dramatically: he told the Evening Standard that he had in fact taken “vanilla” tax avoidance measures, including transferring shares into family trusts while in Switzerland.

“The expression tax avoidance is so wide that everyone does tax avoidance at some level,” he said.

Nope, most of us don’t. If you pay tax via PAYE, like most employees, you do not even get the chance. Tax avoidance is very much a minority activity, indulged in by only the most well paid.

So, for an embarrassing volte-face and an idiotic ignorance of most people’s lives, Lord Fink thoroughly deserves this week’s award.

Prat.

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