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There Is Shouting…

February 27, 2009


When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.–Proverbs 11:10, King James Version

The New York Review of Books
recently published a piece by Grauniad editor Alan Rusbridger, wherein Rusbridger tells US readers of the “chilling effect” of Britain’s libel laws.

What the reliably shifty ex-gossip driveller (or ‘The Pooter of the Piano’ as he’s known in musical circles) fails to mention is his own newspaper’s craven surrender to the billionaire and convicted fraudster, Nadhmi Auchi:

The best example of the press running scared of plutocrats is the case of Nadhmi Auchi. One newspaper group’s lawyers pulled from the web articles that explored the Iraqi-born billionaire’s shady past in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and his conviction for fraud in France.

They went behind the back of reporters and told Carter Fuck (Libel vultures Carter-Ruck) that their colleagues’ journalism was inaccurate, allegations the National Union of Journalists strongly disputes.

Readers of the New York Review of Books would have loved to hear more because, as the Eye has reported, Auchi was the business partner of Barack Obama’s buddy Tony Rezko, now in a Chicago prison for fraud, and a fundraiser for Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, impeached last month on corruption charges.

But not a word about his links to Chicago operators appeared in the papers of our cowering British newspaper group, however, because its lawyers have now banned reporters from writing about Auchi.

Private Eye, No.1230

…and the name of that newspaper group? Well, you must be psychic…The Guardian&Observer, editor-in-chief, one A. Rusbridger.

If further evidence of Rusbridger’s chronic disingenuousness is needed, he amusingly goes on to say in the same article:

Tax avoidance is a growth industry, with global accountancy firms and boutique tax avoidance specialists devising strategies for sheltering companies from tax through ingenious offshore arrangements, tax havens, registration in multiple jurisdictions, complex derivative instruments, restructuring, and charging for intellectual property.

You should know, Al. I mean, what with being responsible for the Guardian campaigning for FTSE 100 companies to pay more corporation tax, despite Guardian Media Group making £300 million in profits last year and paying no corporation tax itself.

GMG took advantage of a legal loophole to avoid paying taxes on the capital gains made on the sale of Auto Trader. Without exploiting the law they would have had to pay more than £50 million in tax.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Guardian’s heritage is one of tax evasion. The C P Scott Trust, which owns the Grauniad, was set up for the sole purpose of avoiding death duties following the 1932 death of C P Scott. By dodging death duties, the Scott family succeeded in avoiding the heavy taxes which would have otherwise meant selling their interest in the paper.

Given your new-found enthusiasm for tax probity, Al, perhaps the GMG will at least voluntarily pay the £600,000 that would have been payable as a result of the Auto Trader transaction on the transfer of GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited (a Caymans incorporated Special Purpose Vehicle) if it had been incorporated in the UK rather than the Caymans.


As Thomas Jefferson once wrote:

Is it less dishonest to do what is wrong because it is not expressly prohibited by written law? Let us hope our moral principles are not yet in that stage of degeneracy.

A vain hope, Tom, as Rusbridger and The Guardian so amply demonstrate…

PS:BTW, Al…The Grauniad has spent the last few weeks screeching with horror at the misdeeds of Lloyds Bank. Does this mean that Guardian Chief Executive Caroline McCall will be given her marching orders? I mean, seeing as how she’s a non-executive director of..erm..Lloyds Bank?

I’m guessing not…

  1. MeltonMowbray permalink
    February 27, 2009 3:43 PM

    Three days longer and he would have been a 54 man. Thank God for the senior Rusbridgers’ unbridled lust!

  2. mishari permalink*
    February 27, 2009 3:54 PM

    True…it could have been a serious impediment to the development of the so-far impeccable model of general ’54 superiority in all things.

  3. MeltonMowbray permalink
    February 28, 2009 12:06 AM

    I find myself reading less and less of the paper as time goes on. After reading the Sport section on Saturday the rest sometimes goes undisturbed till Sunday. Then I use it to light the fire.

  4. mishari permalink*
    February 28, 2009 12:15 AM

    Do you know, the only British publication I read regularly (I subscribe) is Private Eye? I barely read a UK paper from one week to the next, confining myself to the International Herald Tribune, Libération, La Vanguardia and various Arab papers. For the rest, I rely on the web…The Grauniad’s become a tabloid in all but name.

    Oh, yeah…and my beloved local, The East End Advertiser. Last time I was on the IOW, I picked up the local rag. On the front page was a story that read, “Thieves siphoned petrol from a car in Bonchurch on Monday…”
    It was like being back in the ’50s…

  5. March 1, 2009 7:50 PM

    I stopped reading most newspapers years ago, apart from scavenging for the legal news from them and from journals as part of my job. I don’t trust any of them to tell the truth, and the only thing they seem to be trustworthy for (and the BBC falls into this too) is for stiring up public opinion in whichever direction they see fit. Am I the only person who hasn’t jumped straight onto the bandwagon supporting the stripping of the pension from the director of HBOS? (or was it just Bank of Scotland?) It’s like a witch-hunt. Yes the guy was in charge and he screwed up, but it seems that people are now venting all their credit-crunch anger onto the one guy, who should be completely stripped of his pension and thrown to the dogs… I’m possibly a bit of a soft touch, but perhaps there might have been someone else also involved who might be a little bit to blame as well, no-one challenged him, no-one sacked him – can’t all be down to him…

    (The problem is the Goodwin’s huge pension is being seen as what it is–a reward for failiure. Had his pension entitlement been linked to performance or share price at leaving, we wouldn’t be seeing the outrage we do. As for others bearing the blame, you’re right, of course. But Goodwin was the CEO. The buck has to stop somewhere. If a firm of builders, through sheer greed and incompetence, caused your house to collapse, I doubt you’d want to see anyone rewarded or granted a pension for life of over half a million quid–Ed.)

    (PS:If Goodwin had been sacked as he ought to have been for catastrophic incompetence, he would have recieved an annual pension of roughly 25 grand and nobody would have squawked. Instead, the spineless board, who are there to line one another’s pockets rather than protect the shareholders, allowed Goodwin to leave on his own terms. The whole affair has been a disgrace but Goodwin, his fellow bankers and the supine NuLab government that allowed it all to come to this deserve all the stick they’re getting and more–Ed.)

  6. March 1, 2009 8:28 PM

    Well yes – managerial responsibility should apply and he’s not making himself any friends, but if I signed a contract for someone to build me a house and I didn’t specify that performance of the contract was a condition of them getting paid and we were on an equal bargaining level (as was presumably the chairman and whoever he agreed his pension with) then am I not partly to blame for being daft? It would seem also that the man had no incentive to perform well if he’d negotiated a remuneration package not linked to performance. Perhaps he used up all his fiscal prudence in one go playing that blinder? I’m not saying he deserves the money, but it’s a question of morals and it does seem that there are lot of other people who’ve committed misdeeds in this banking fiasco. Perhaps they should all be made to pay up – let’s get a proper witch hunt going!

  7. mishari permalink*
    March 1, 2009 8:39 PM

    The trouble is that Goodwin sacked thousands of people in the name of cost-cutting. Thousands of people found themselves on the dole, not because they were incompetent but because Goodwin put profits over people.

    To see this greedy, incompetent buffoon,who destroyed a large bank, profiting by his mistakes (and at our expense) is unacceptable. Others must be punished as well but he’ll do for starters.

    As for witch hunts…think of this more like ridding your house of a plague of cockroaches. Witches were innocent. These scum are not.

    PS:From today’s Grauniad:

    Meanwhile, it emerged today that former RBS employees will have their company pension payments slashed when they get to state retirement age, and Goodwin personally rejected union pleas for leniency over the so-called “clawback” provisions.

    It has also emerged that Goodwin altered the arrangements for early retirement three years ago, raising the minimum age at which employees could take it from 50 to 55, and then only if pensions were cut by between 20% and 40%.

    Still feel any sympathy for this repulsive son of a bitch?

  8. March 1, 2009 9:14 PM

    I’ll be happy if he’s not the only one who gets taken to task, I suppose that’s where I’m getting the bad taste from here. A system where someone can do these things and get so handsomely paid needs some serious scrutiny. By all means make him give up his pension, but not as part of any knee-jerk reaction

    (Tink, doctors use the knee-jerk test to determine whether or not your reflexes are in working order or not. Some knee-jerk reactions are a sign of health. This is one of them–Ed.)

    (And how about this, from today’s Indy? “He (Andy Hornby) took over HBOS in 2006, and is now a £60,000-a-month adviser to the newly merged Lloyds Banking Group.” So, a man who helped destroy one bank is advising another failing bank? For 60 grand A MONTH? And you aren’t fucking FURIOUS? You’re more tolerant than me, kiddo.–Ed)

  9. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 1, 2009 10:56 PM

    I’ve no sympathy for Goodwin, but his contract is clearly cast-iron. It was a shock (well, not really) to hear Harriet Harman suggesting that the government are determined to dock his pension, regardless of legal considerations, because of ‘public opinion’. Isn’t she supposed to be a lawyer? Since when did the mob make the rules?

  10. mishari permalink*
    March 1, 2009 11:18 PM

    Not only are we ruled by incipient demagogues (and I completely agree with you about the wretched Harman and her ‘court of public opinion’ being this government’s over-riding concern) but it’s the sheer laughable dishonesty of NuLab that sickens.

    I remember when ‘public opinion’ in the form of the vast majority of the UK’s population demanded no war in Iraq. Where was the odious Harman and her mealy-mouthed concern then? And what about the public’s opinion that we’d like to see the backs of this shower of creeps? Harman has no problem ignoring calls for a general election…

  11. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 1, 2009 11:49 PM

    If I was Goodwin (I’d take a pension of £29,000-and your arm) I would be polishing my nails thinking, see you in court, suckers. Talk about gesture politics. Harman’s always seemed a penny short to me. Denying that she’d agreed that the government ought to apologise for the Iraq imbroglio when about 2 million people heard her-totally nuts.

  12. mishari permalink*
    March 2, 2009 12:18 AM

    According to the risible Harman, the govt are considering enacting legislation to allow them to claw back Goodwin’s pension (basically admitting that they’re powerless to do same at present).

    I can’t see any judge in possession of all his marbles, however, allowing them to make the law retroactive. Bah. This woman is a fantasist and a dishonest one at that. Just playing to the fucking gallery, as usual…

  13. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 2, 2009 12:22 AM

    Right on. I just noticed this in one of your links:

    20 I believe the heavy involvement of Kuwaiti individuals in the stock market is one of the ills of Kuwaiti society.

    Tut tut.

  14. mishari permalink*
    March 2, 2009 12:29 AM

    Too right. We need to get back to our traditional way of life…raiding, pillaging, blood feuds and tribal wars. 50 years ago, a Kuwaiti with soft hands was unheard of. Now they’re soft all over…spoilt, soft, perfumed weaklings. My great-grandfather wouldn’t have ridden a horse so lacking in quality.

  15. March 2, 2009 12:31 AM

    Yes “gesture politics” that’s what I was probably getting at. Just seems a bit too mob with pitchforks at the moment, my worry being that the baying crowd will be satisfied with a few high profile sacrifices but that the system will not get the change it needs. No use pushing the morality angle without regulatory change otherwise it’s left open for the next amoral scumbag!

    As for whether I’m furious, I’d gone through furious a while ago into a state of cold acceptance that there was going to be too much bad management, greed and stupidity for me to take in so stopped being shocked by any of it as regards the banking sector.

  16. March 2, 2009 10:21 AM

    I would have thought ill-considered furtile gesture politics is the most apt response to what’s going on at the moment.

  17. March 2, 2009 10:23 AM

    Good spelling wouldn’t go amiss either. Furtile indeed – FUTILE! Where’s that disembodied editor when he’s needed?

  18. March 2, 2009 11:25 AM

    He’s probably too furious to see properly, that’s what happens to me -another reason for preferring the calm.

  19. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 2, 2009 3:43 PM

    16 If you come across a Kuwaiti teenager with an A average in school, chances are his mother is Egyptian.

    This one’s a bit mysterious. It reminds me of a book of Serbian proverbs my wife had:

    The Turk is often a good fellow, but it is better to hang him.

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