I was out last night and so did not see the BBC programme The Town That Took on the Taxman when it was broadcast, but caught up with it on iPlayer this morning.
First, let me put this in context: I was very critical of this programme last year for what I thought then and still consider to be good reasons. But that was when the programme was going to be about The Town That Went Offshore. It didn’t. And in fairness – and unbeknownst to me – my criticism did feature on the programme. I was surprised by that.
Second, in the broadcast by me that was featured in the programme I debated with Irena Kovaleva, the Crickhowell optometrist who withdraw from the programme for a period. I have no idea whether or not the debate with me – in which she seemed to agree with what I had to say – influenced that, although I would like to hope it did because when she returned the whole tone of the programme changed from ‘we are going offshore to save tax’ to ‘we are going to try to change the law to stop people going offshore to save tax’. I also noted that a local business person was clearly important in that change process. It was key: it made what would have been a programme without logic into one that was useful, informative and of real value.
Third, it was good to see friends David Quentin, Tom Bergin, Richard Brooks and Jolyon Maugham on air. It was also good to hear that David sounded caution and that Jolyon gave sound advice, which was that they could try to implement their scheme but that their lives would be in lock down as a result for years to come. It was something I too had said.
Fourth, if this programme creates awareness, and it should as it was well done in the end, then I warmly welcome that and how it panned out.
I wish the Fair Tax Towns well. I think they could partner with the Fair Tax Mark to advantage, but I am obviously biased on that point. And I think a campaign that the Fair Tax Mark is involved in that is being launched next week could help those who want to pursue this issue further.
Anything else? Yes: if anyone wants to take a simple step in the right direction on this issue why not sign the Fair Tax Pledge? It’s available here. That’s a first, practical and real step in the right direction.