CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Citizens with more of a voice may be happier to pay tax

02 February, 2018

THE chief executive officers of international auditors who make a habit of giving a clean sheet to tax-dodging companies may have to tread more cautiously if a Corbyn government is formed.

As an adviser to shadow chancellor John McDonnell, economist and tax expert John Christensen warned a Camden Momentum organised meeting that it could be “prison time” for these miscreant CEOs.

In Britain the law is cumbersomely slow in prosecuting company directors for breaches of the law. In the United States the FBI and the courts treat errant companies with greater vigilance.

Apart from the drain on the economy, tax dodging is also – according to the chairman of the meeting, Chris Horner – morally reprehensible. To him, it is a social glue, a public good.

Undoubtedly it is. But then if it is such a public good why is it that a lot of people don’t like paying tax and thank the Chancellor whenever he cuts it?

Could it because people don’t trust politicians, political institutions and civil servants in handling public money with care and common sense?

Reference at the meeting was made to what is known as “participatory” democracy in contrast with “representative” democracy – in one, people vote, then sit back, in the other, people actually “participate” more intensely in decision-making at local and national level.

If we lived in a “participatory” democracy perhaps people would have more confidence in the tax fixing authorities.

Police cuts

WARNINGS of resurgent “gangs” tussling for drug territory and spikes in knife crime would strike fear into the heart of any neighbourhood.

With every stabbing attack grows a sense that danger is far too close to home.

Crime and safety were not major issues at the general election last year.

But, as Camden’s new borough commander made clear this week, this is now a very real issue.

The cold facts are that the number of police tasked with keeping the streets safe, and those working to understand and disrupt youth crime, have been significantly cut back in recent years.

The numbers of officers are continuing to fall and what scant resource remains has been focused on other matters.

It was only a few months ago that police officers were being slammed in public meetings for failing to halt the surge in moped-riding phone-snatchers plaguing Camden streets.

Have we reached a tipping point with police cuts?

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