Sometimes the debate on offshore gets very personal. It has with regard to one of my other interests in life - Ipswich Town.
'The Town' as they were called in my youth (long before the term Tractor Boys was heard) are subject to a takeover bid from someone called Marcus Evans, or rather, I suspect, the company that bears his name.
Mr Evans and his companies are shady characters - a term I use only to imply that they seem keen to avoid the limelight. The corporate brochure appears to have no address on it. The web site suggests there are offices in 30 countries and gives the name of a UK company - but not the address of Marcus Evans Investments Limited who claims copyright of the site and is the holding entity. There is evidence though that this company is based in Bermuda, even though the brochure gives no hint of an office in that location. No surprise about that though. Who wants to advertise that you're a tax avoider?
And yet, this is the company that is buying my football club. OK, I use the word 'my' loosely - I do not actually own it. I was just brought up on the terraces of Portman Road in the glorious days when Bobby Robson was manager.
And I am not pretending everything about the club was perfect in those days. It was controlled by the Cobbold family, the local brewers. I worked for them for a summer, and relish the memory. I can't in honesty say they were good managers of brewery or club. And it's clear from their involvement that corporate interest has always had a role in football.
But the brewery was a mile or so from the club. It wasn't in Bermuda. And we drank of its produce after the match. We felt we had common concern. And we had. Because the Cobbolds lived just down the road. So whilst there were problems with the structure of the Club it was a local structure. Our structure if you like: at least one we knew and could understand it. In my time I talked to both John and Patrick Cobbold about club issues. That's they way it was.
Will that be the case with Marcus Evans? I doubt it. Not when the club is an extension of his corporate hospitality empire (the very term makes me shudder).This will be the hollowing out of something in which I have had pride. A final straw that destroys the 'localness' of my club.
But that's what tax avoidance does: it destroys community.