Monday, 3 December 2012

Simple thinking

Having been working since I was 17 (which I can't believe is true sometimes), I have come to a few conclusions about working life and about the way that people operate at work. Chief amongst those is that we all over-complicate things. Sometimes this over complication is deliberate.

Two things have prompted this blog. The first is the shocked statements coming from the government and the House of Commons about the tax avoidance "tricks" of some international companies. It is apparently appalling that such companies should use the law to, completely legally, pay as little tax as possible. It's a little like, completely legally, using an expenses system to get as much money as possible...

The very people making most noise - politicians of every party it would seem - are surely in the best place to do one of two things. Either change the law to ensure that companies pay more tax (possible with in Europe - Germany seem to do it), or simply be public and honest about the fact that there is nothing the government can do (if international tax laws are really so complicated - which I'm not sure I believe). Don't, however, come over all outraged and expect companies to "pay the git amount of tax" (as I heard this morning on the radio). I'm not sure how much tax I would pay if I was asked that question, and I'm a socialist... Surely the simplest thing to do is to update the tax rules

The second area in which I feel there is over complication is with the implementation of the Leveson recommendations. To my possibly ill-educated eyes, there seems to be a very silly argument in which  everyone appears to be saying "of course we need strong and independent regulation of the press" - the silliness comes with the refusal to legislate. Why not? I do understand the concern about the freedoms of  the press (and the accompanying responsibilities) - but so many other professions are regulated by a body established by statute. Is there a problem with those bodies? Are they saying in their independent regulatory role? If they are, is it because of the. Statutory underpinning?

I may be wrong, but the legal profession is regulated under statute, isn't it? There doesn't seem to be a problem with independence there (competence, perhaps, but not independence...).  The current argument against Ofcom being the oversight body (appointed by the government and so not independent) would seem to suggest that there must be an urgent review of the regulation of broadcast media.

Lets try to do the simple things. Change the tax laws rather than telling commercial organisations to voluntarily pay more tax, and use the oversight regulatory that already exists.

I suspect that's have an over-simplistic view of life...

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