A quick question for Guernsey: why have you changed your mind?

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In the light of the Chief Minister of Guernsey’s claim that the deal he has done with the UK is wholly voluntary and in the best interest of Guernsey the following statement issued only three months ago, a week after I drew attention to the UK’s plans is interesting:

The following joint statement has been issued [on 7 December 2012] by the Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst, and the Chief Minister of Guernsey, Deputy Peter Harwood, on developments relating to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the UK Government:

“As communicated last week, officials from Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man continue to engage with US officials, aimed at concluding Intergovernmental Agreements under the US FATCA regulations.

“We also share a common commitment with the UK to combat tax evasion and to participate in international efforts to combat financial and fiscal crime. We have long made it clear that neither Island has any wish to accommodate those engaged in tax evasion.”

Senator Gorst added: “The UK Government is seeking to promote more widely as a new international standard the principles of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Jersey considers that it is important that in doing so the UK Government mirrors the approach of the US FATCA in being global in its application, ensuring a non-discriminatory approach for all jurisdictions.

“In our ongoing discussions with the UK Government we will be pressing them to make clear the steps they are taking to promote the adoption of automatic exchange of information worldwide to ensure that a level playing field is achieved for all finance centres competing in the global market place.”

The message was clear at the time: it was defiance in the face of accusations of tax evasion.

Now the demand has been acceded to. What’s been agreed then:

a) there is tax evasion that needs tackling after all?

b) a level playing field is not needed?

c) automatic information exchange is now acceptable?

Or is it all three? What’s said now in St Pewter Port?

And any word from Jersey?

Or shall we just agree that I’m right, and Guernsey was, as ever, dragged kicking and screaming to the table?