Corbyn the barmy empire builder
Jeremy Corbyn's ideas are barmy at the best of times. His response to the Panama fiasco is to suggest taking over the Crown Dependencies. So what's he going to do, invade the Isle of Man?
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn comes across as batty as Baldrick every time he opens his mouth. Take his response to the Panama pantomime. He has a cunning plan.
He wants the UK government to take over the Crown Dependencies to stop them being tax havens. As they are not part of the UK, that might present a problem. They would have to be annexed forcibly. How are you going to manage that, Jezza? Send in the SAS?
Here is the constitutional position.
The UK has no democratic accountability in and for the Crown Dependencies, which are governed by their own democratically elected assemblies;
It will not act internationally on behalf of the Crown Dependencies without prior consultation; each Crown Dependency has an international identity that is different from that of the UK. The UK supports the principle of each Crown Dependency further developing its international identity; it recognises that the interests of each Crown Dependency may differ from those of the UK, and the UK will seek to represent any differing interests when acting in an international capacity.
The UK and each Crown Dependency will also work together to resolve or clarify any differences that may arise between their respective interests.
So there you have it. The UK takes care of foreign affairs and defence. That’s about it. The Crown Dependencies are to all intents and purposes independent states.
Then there is the issue of ‘tax havens’. The Crown Dependencies are not. They are merely lower tax regimes. If you win the lottery it’s no use hiding your wedge there because they will notify the UK tax authorities of any income and charge a hefty withholding tax if you fail to give your UK Tax Identification Number (TIN).
If you bring in largish sums of money, the Financial Services authority will want to know where it came from. Failure to comply might see you end-up in the slammer.
But you might start closer to home, comrade.
In 40 years, the UK is named 148 times in the Panama papers; Jersey 38 times, and the Isle of Man just 8. Guernsey doesn’t even get a mention
The most secretive tax havens are 1. Switzerland; 2. Luxembourg; 3. Hong Kong (fancy mixing it with China, Jeremy?).
Well, you could have a pop at the US which comes in at number 6 in the league table of 80+ jurisdictions. Delaware and Nevada are particularly welcoming; ‘tax efficient vehicles’ there are completely anonymous.
Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world
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