DO YOU KNOW WHAT ATAD IS?

Regardless of whether you’re Brexit or Remain, maybe you should not have even voted in the EU Referendum at all.
 
I say this, simply because you may not have been fully aware of the ATAD facts before making that X in the box that stopped us being a united kingdom.
 
Sometimes it beggars belief that people still place their trust in the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage and other millionaires to get us out of the EU in one piece, because it’s the ‘will of the people’. Casting aside the possibility that this ‘will’ might – or might not – be changing, we should know something about who influences that ‘will’, how and why.
 
LETTING SOMEONE HAVE YOUR OWN WAY
 
There’s a thing in persuasive communication called ‘letting someone have your own way’. This is where you want to achieve something perhaps unpopular, but to gain approval you influence others into feeling that it was their idea in the first place.
 
You do this by knowing what their ‘hot buttons’ are, then pushing them repeatedly. One person’s hot button might be ‘NHS’; another might be ‘immigration’; another might be ‘sovereignty’. It doesn’t matter which, but you can find these out on social media using a dodgy data analysis company named after a respected university. Then you make up some disturbing ‘facts’, then keep repeating them until they are considered true. You constantly reinforce these ‘truths’ until they become so ingrained that any challenge to them creates uncertainty often expressed as anger and disdain.
 
To test this principle, simply tell an Apple iPhone user that their smartphone is in all ways inferior to a Samsung and see what reaction you get. They didn’t just buy a mobile phone, they bought into a dream bolstered by years of cleverly planned advertising and PR: a new personalised reality.
 
Influencers know the things that arouse ‘fear’ and ‘greed’ are the most powerful drivers in life. Politicians know this – they learned it from the advertising and PR industry. Have you ever wondered why politicians stopped coming from a legal background, and now they all seem to be ex-PR or media people? (Cameron, Osborne, Johnson…).
 
GAME OF THROWNS
 
Now think back to 2015. What were you preoccupied about? Were you thinking about the next episode of Game of Thrones? Or perhaps, that wedding or holiday you were planning? Were you worried about whether you could afford to retire when you wanted to? Or maybe concerned about getting that new job with more money?
 
Or was it the apparent lack of democracy in Brussels that filled dinner-time conversation? If you’re normal, I somehow doubt it. Before David Cameron was elected and a possible EU Referendum was even a ‘thing’, most people didn’t give a jot about ‘sovereignty’ or a perceived ‘lack of democracy’ in Brussels. They were more interested in a bargain from the centre isle at Lidl.
 
FINANCIAL EXPERTISE
 
Come the early part of 2016 right up to this moment, Jacob Rees-Mogg – who has already moved his business interests to Ireland to avoid the implications of Brexit – appeared out of nowhere, knowing exactly what he was thinking about: how to increase his nett worth and gain more power. Rees-Mogg, already worth £50million – or £150million if you include assets held in his wife’s name, is a financial expert.
 
Another financial expert, Nigel Farage (net worth £2.5million) may have been the Brexit poster-boy, but this can hardly now be considered ‘principled’ when you consider his annual MEP retirement cheque of £63,000; and making sure his children have German passports so that they can have the benefits of EU free movement when the rest of us cannot.
 
THE FISCALOCRUMBLE LOOP-HOLE
 
Of course, if you had all that money (maybe you already have – if so, please lend me a fiver) what’s one of the things you would do? Well, if you were sensible, you’d visit a financial adviser and ask them how you can save on tax. They might say… put some in your wife’s name, Jakey-boy… buy some property… open up an offshore magical abracadabra account and use this off-shore fiscalocrumble tax loop-hole and – ‘bingo!’ all the money’s yours and you won’t pay a penny in tax!
 
Brilliant!
 
Apparently, we Brits are really good at tax-havens. In fact, according to Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow, we harbour the largest tax avoidance havens in the world, 13 of which, are directly connected to the crown and the government.
 
Which brings me to ATAD and what www.taxjournal.com has to say:
 
“The EU’s original Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (Council Directive 2016/1164) was introduced by the European Commission in January 2016 (prompting Cameron to give notice of a referendum), and was progressed with incredible pace, resulting in the Council of the EU reaching political agreement on the directive in June 2016 (within three days of the referendum) … requiring member states to adopt the measures in to local law (stop avoiding tax – or else!).” (Note: my italic inserts).
 
Did you ever wonder that 30th March 2017 seemed a weird date to trigger Article 50 – regardless of whether there was any plan… or a policy… or impact assessments? It all seemed a bit knee-jerk, didn’t it? Did you notice that it marks the end/beginning of a Tax Year? Or that actual Tax payments under the new law must start in the first quarter of 2019? Have you noticed Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage’s bottoms start to clench in unison as panic starts to set in?
 
TROIKA PICKING UP THE TAB
 
But why didn’t you know about all this in 2016?
 
Well, it was on the EU’s website in 2016 – there was a nice little explainer video, didn’t you see it? It didn’t mention that the EU was skint due to bailing-out Greece in 2009, and so had to stop member states haemorrhaging money through offshore tax avoidance (because why should the EC, ECB and IMF Troika pick up the tab?) – but that’s beside the point…
 
The simple reason that people didn’t know about this, is that nobody likes to talk about tax; especially the ‘wealthy elite’ (unless it’s about your tax). Tax keeps its own secrets: email your boss and ask her how much she pays in tax, and she’ll prove that point.
 
MEDIA OWNERS AVOID TAX – IT’S A DUTY
 
It’s reasonable to assume (well, proven, actually) that every wealthy newspaper and media-owner avoids tax… TV personalities and current affairs pundits avoid tax… if they didn’t, they’d sack their financial advisers. It has become a duty of the wealthy to avoid paying tax – that’s avoid not evade, mind; the latter is illegal. Teresa May’s hubby, Phil helps to run a investment firm which has paid NO corporation tax in over eight years – even though the directors have been paid £43million in that time. He advises others how to avoid tax in the same way. I know this because the tax-avoiding Daily Mail told me so.
 
The EU’s new Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD – 2016) is the one thing that has thrown these people into a panic. But it is also the lens that brings every unspeakably illogical self-destructive political decision made for Britain in the name of ‘the will of the people’ into focus.
 
So when you think: I don’t get it… why on earth would they be doing this? Why make such a gargantuan decision without so much as a plan on a fag-packet? Why the desperation? Why the anxiety to fulfil the ‘will of the people’… it wasn’t so important in the run up to the Iraq war; or even when they taxed beer, was it? Why risk so much for what appears (now, at least) to be so little for us all to gain – if anything?
 
Just think: ATAD and you’ll realise, it’s been quite a clever (and not to mention an expensive and fraudulent) diversion tactic to ‘let us all have their own way’.
 
Martin Ison