Posts Tagged ‘Wpp’
As we sorted out the hens this morning there was much speculation about tonight’s England v France encounter at the Euro 2012. By my reckoning about one third of the codgers desperately want England to triumph, one third hope they will lose so that they can bang on about the overlooking of ‘Arry Redknapp and one third, being rugby addicts, don’t give a hoot. The seemingly endless guff about John Terry by the former wore somewhat thin after a time and, by way of a diversion, I asked who would like to have an immediate rise of 50% on their pensions.
Howls of derision. Yet that is exactly the amount proposed by the giant advertising group WPP for their chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell. There is likely to quite a backlash from shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Dublin on Wednesday. A defeat for the comapny would take the tally of FTSE 100 pay revolts to unprecedented levels. As is par for the course the company chairman, Philip Lader, has told reporters that he will redouble efforts to engage with shareholders. Equally predictably they have replied that it is not engagement they seek, but a realisation that times are hard and consumers are sick to the backteeth of fat-cats on the make.
Your response may well be that the government has announced its intention to put an end to what Nick Clegg called ” a culture from the planet Zog”. The plan, we were told, was to empower shareholders by giving them in law the right to binding annual votes on remuneration. Indeed, no less a star than our dear leader made the announcement. But, surprise, surprise, there is now to be U-turn number 36.
Uncle Vince Cable has let it be known that he is likely to “row back” on the idea. No explanation but the usual mysterious ‘sources close to the Business Secretary’ let it be known that he is “unable to carry his Conservative colleagues with him”. Apparently Uncle is seeking a face-saving compromise whereby pay deals should be reviewed by investors every three years. Long grass would be a simpler explanation.
In reality the prime minister, having read the popular mood, has said that he wants to empower shareholders but has failed yet again to stand up to vested interests, who include in their number many donors to his political party. Far from driving change he has fallen at the first hurdle.
Of course the real issue here is not confined to shareholders. We are constantly told that austerity is the only solution to our economic woes, yet fat-cats continue to pay themselves obscene amounts, irrespective of performance. Cynics will respond by saying that they would expect nothing less from the rich boys in government. But what about the Lib Dems, who continue to keep our dear leader in Downing Street.
One suspects that behind the scenes Cable has been muzzled. He is no coward but is undoubtedly aware that a general election would lead to the loss of almost all Lib Dem seats. But the party has to exit soon and some leading Lib Dem figures believe that the time has come. Not least amongst them is Lord Oakeshott. Yesterday he fired his first public shot.
He chose to speak publicly about the Murdoch affair. He accused David Cameron of poor judgement, and said that senior Tories had engaged in a “Faustian pact” with the Murdochs. He went on to demand that Jeremy Hunt resign and said that “he should have resigned some time ago, no self-respecting minister would have carried on”. It will be interesting to see Nick Clegg in action at the Leveson Inquiry. Will he take the same line?
And so the coalition continues to perform U-turns with the dexterity of a bus driver on the famous London Transport skid pad. Thanks to the latest one the fat-cats can breath again and continue on their merry way, filling their pockets as they go. But they have worries of their own.
Keeping up to date on the art of tax-avoidance is almost a full-time job in itself!
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY;
“There are better things in life than alcohol, but it makes up for not having them”…..Terry Pratchett “Oysters are supposed to enhance sexual performance, but they don’t work for me. Perhaps I put them on too soon.”…..Garry Shandling “A natural death is where you die without the help of a doctor”….Mark Twain
Having damaged my back when humping bags of gravel around the allotment site I had to plead guilty but insane to those colleagues who had to clean out my animals this morning. Whilst they see me as a good neighbour, and therefore worthy of help, they are nonetheless critical of my self-induced crisis. As I made the tea I felt rather as I imagine the beleagured Irish government feels this sunny morning.
Like many I often cannot get my head around just what is happening in the world of high finance. The coalition has imposed severe cuts on everything from the police right down to voluntary organisations such as Mind, who provide crucial services for the most vulnerable. Yet it is happy to hand over the equivalent of the total savings to Ireland and then to calmly announce that we will also be obliged to underwrite any further emergency bailouts across the eurozone depsite the fact that we are not in it.
None of which makes any sense to such as elderly people struggling to survive and now faced with huge price hikes by the privatised domestic power providers. The Irish situation is even more bizaare. It may be that you have little awareness of the fact that Ireland has for years operated what amounts to tax piracy. It is a policy that has robbed every European economy of billions whilst lining the pockets of huge corporations who have established offices in the republic to enable them to benefit from a corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent as against the 28% they would have to pay if registered in the UK or the 35% in the United States.
Only last week yet another giant British company - Northern Foods, now merged with Greencore – shifted its headquarters to Dublin. Just its brass plate and profits went, not its factories making biscuits and frozen foods. It was just the latest example of Ireland playing its beggar my neighbour, race-to-the-bottom tax game. Many companies now play this game, advertising giant WPP for one; no staff go over neither does the board. All that is needed is registration and hey presto the British exchequer is the poorer and the directors and shareholders rub their hands in glee.
But the practice is even worse than it at first sounds. Ireland allows its registered tax avoiders to legally pass on profits to other tax havens, some of which apply no corporation taxes at all. Google puts 92% of its billions of world-wide non-US profits through Dublin and, in the past year, paid only £18 million in tax!
Even more amazing is the fact that UK politicians have lauded the Irish tax haven. In 2006 George Osborne penned a paean of praise to Ireland in The Times newspaper. “Look and learn across the Irish Sea” he wrote. Ireland stands as a shining example of the possible in long-term economic policymaking…Capital will go where investment is most attractive “. The then future Chancellor said that “Ireland’s business tax rates are only 12.5%, whilst ours are among the highest in the world…low taxes are the answer to success”. He missed the point that every company that transferred notionally to Dublin represented a huge revenue loss to Britain and did little for Ireland since the actual employment remained here. Those who for so long suspected that Osborne is to economics what Eddie the Eagle was to gold medals will now feel vindicated! Does his self understanding tell him that he is an idiot?
Mrs Merkel yesterday made clear the German conditions for a bailout and these include an end to the tax haven practice that Ireland has for so long embraced. Clearly she is right but the British cash appears to be available without strings. So we are prepared to use fortunes we haven’t got to prop up a system that drains even more of our corporate income away from these shores!
The Irish government has been living out a financial fantasy, one in which we colluded. They also witheld the truth from the people and a political backlash is underway. There must surely be a risk that one will follow here once what Cameron refers to as “ordinary people” realise that the outcome of all their savings is to be handed over to a neighbour who plays a huge financial role in weakening us.
We will of course be assured that it is only a loan. What won’t be said is that the chance of it being paid back is equivalent to our tabloids ever desisting from stories about ‘Queen’ Camilla!
NO THAI HOLIDAY FOR THE CAMERONS !
Having regaled us for weeks with the details of David Cameron’s planned Christmas holiday in Thailand, the Daily Mail has now revealed that he has performed another U-turn. We should perhaps give him credit for responding to public outrage which is more that could be said for the Blairs.
The original story was that the prime minister would pay for the holiday himself, in which case it was his own business and nothing to do with the chattering classes. However, a leak - the government rather specialises in those – confirmed that there was to be a £50,000 bill for security and other trimmings.
I particularly like the revised ‘spin’ which is that Cameron is unhaapy at the political killings of democracy campaigners and journalists at the hands of his Eton contemporary Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai leader. It is of course an opportunist lie but one has to admire the timing!
CRICKET; TOMORROW IS THE DAY!
Many of us will be spending the night in the armchair tomorrow when the long awaited Ashes series begins in steamy Brisbane. The pundits have done their stuff, the traditional insults have been exchanged and now it is down to the players.
For the first time for many decades England are the clear favourites but there is one possible pitfall. If Mitchell Johnston can find his line and length he is quite capable of blowing away key players such as Strauss and Pieterson. The opening overs of the England innings will be very revealing.
Having said that, Mitchell has been of late about as accurate as the UK weather forecasts!
I NEED YOUR HELP!!!
The site has been going for a few months now and the number of ‘hits’ has passed 180,000. This is the 226th posting. I am really keen to have your advice. Are there aspects you would prefer to see changed? One of the setbacks to writing on the net is that the views of the readers are unknown to the amateur author. Would love to have your advice! THANKS.
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. 1975 2. Antarctica
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1 Which two Asian countries launched their first satellite in 1970? 2. In which country was the Auburn Dam built in the 70s?