Tax hikes fail to cause ‘brain’ drain in UK

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, April 8th, 2010 - 38 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, tax - Tags: , , ,

Mickysavage pointed us to this piece by the Guardian’s George Monbiot on the rich’s oft-repeated threats that if they don’t get tax cuts, they’ll leave:

It’s a bitter blow. When the government proposed a windfall tax on bonuses and a 50p top rate of income tax, thousands of bankers and corporate executives promised to leave the country and move to Switzerland(1,2). Now we discover that the policy has failed: the number of financiers applying for a Swiss work permit fell by 7% last year(3). The government must try harder to rid this country of its antisocial elements.

Micky wonders why we didn’t see a flood of UK executives, considering our tax rates are so low – if tax is as important as the Right would have us believe. The reality is brain drains from stable first world countries don’t exist. Our emigrants tend to be lower-skilled (because they get much better pay in Aussie) and we import huge numbers of highly qualified people.

Executive flight is the corporate world’s only effective form of self-regulation: those who are too selfish to pay what they owe to society send themselves into voluntary exile. It’s an act of self-sacrifice for which we should all be grateful. It’s hard on the Swiss, but there’s a kind of mortal justice here too: if you sustain a crooked system of banking secrecy and tax avoidance, you end up with a country full of crooks and tax avoiders.

Sadly, most promises of self-imposed exile are empty. They seem to be intended, like Boris Johnson’s warning last year that the City of London would be reduced to a ghost town by the new taxes(4), to dissuade the government from taking action. The universal public response, as Tracey Emin found when she announced that she couldn’t possibly survive here on her scanty millions(5), is ‘Go on then, jump.’

Would that were the attitude here. In New Zealand, the public (by which I mean the half dozen political editors who pronounce what the public thinks on everything) has a slavish attitude to the ruling capitalist class that is quite sad.

But self-awareness is yet to become the bankers’ dominant trait. Last week the president of Barclays insisted that Britain should be ‘immensely proud’ of the bank’s enormous profits(6), while the Royal Bank of Scotland announced that it would give its staff bonuses of £1.3bn – 84% of which belongs to taxpayers – despite making another massive loss(7). The new taxes are being imposed because of the crisis caused by bankers’ greed. Yet the bankers seem to believe that we’ll agree that they are the last people who should have to pay them.

In their Randian fantasy world, the capitalist elite are carrying the rest of us and we ought to be thankful. We know they are what all elites through history have been – parasites and bullies.

There’s something else that the threats tell us: some people appear willing to do almost anything for money. In court papers made public at the beginning of this month, Guy Hands, the owner of the private equity company Terra Firma and the record label EMI, sought to explain why the case he is fighting against Citigroup should not be heard in London. He moved to Guernsey last April to avoid UK taxes. Since then, he says, he has ‘never visited’ his wife and children, who still live in his former home in Kent, for fear of compromising his tax status. For the same reason, ‘I do not visit my parents in the United Kingdom and would not do so except in an emergency.'(8)

Hands, according to the Sunday Times rich list, is worth £100m(9). Were he to allow the Exchequer to reclaim a few of his unnecessary millions, he would face neither ruin nor starvation. He’s reported to work 18 hours a day(10), which means he is unlikely to find much time to enjoy his wealth. It’s hard to see how the fraction he has saved through becoming an economic refugee could bring him any discernible benefit, let alone happiness that could compensate for the life he has lost.

Extreme wealth invariably leads to captivity. Its victims live in an open prison. In Mexico and Colombia, they and their families face the constant threat of kidnap: they must scurry around, screened and shrouded, as if they were coppers’ narks. In Russia they can never be free from the fear of assassination. Everywhere on earth they live behind walls and razor wire, guarded by cameras, dogs, watch towers and sensors. The walls that shut the world out also shut them in.

They must, if they wish to maintain their place on the rich lists, also live in fear of their rivals. Despite their lobbying power, they cannot permanently shake off the authorities, not least because of the irregular tax and accounting methods which helped many of them to become so rich: the remark attributed to Balzac (‘behind every great fortune lies a great crime’) is at least half right. Who in his right mind would volunteer for this life?

Money is like ‘self-worth points’ to these people. It’s acquisition is its own end, because it proves the value of the owner. It’s a diseased view of money, and of life.

The Conservative Party’s most persistent embarassment is the hazy tax status of its deputy chairman, Lord Ashcroft. Ashcroft received his peerage in 2000 after promising that he would become a UK taxpayer. Since then a succession of senior Tories has been quizzed by the media about whether he has redeemed this promise or is still registered in Belize, and they have writhed like hooked eels(11,12,13). Though this issue could explode as the election approaches, neither Ashcroft nor the party have yet produced an answer. This gives us a pretty good idea of what it must be, and of where the party’s priorities lie.

For some of the ultra-wealthy, tax avoidance seems to be a matter of principle: they’ll be damned if they give a penny to the people, whether they would miss it or not. On the few occasions on which I’ve met members of this class, I’ve been struck by their dissidence: they appear to see themselves as lonely rebels engaged in a perpetual fight against authority, even as they strive to get so rich that their own authority becomes impregnable. In fighting the taxman, they draw on a heroic tradition of resistance. In the New Testament, or to the Sons of Liberty seeking American independence, taxation was an instrument of colonial oppression. The context has changed: today the tax avoiders are the oppressors. But they still regard themselves as insurrectionaries.

Tax stops the rich accruing as many self-worth points as they, ceteris paribus, would. But what they fail to understand is that tax is the price of the socio-economic system that they live in that has created such enormous wealth and channeled so much of it to the few at the top like themselves. There’s no point arguing this basic economic theory with them. They don’t understand it.

Now, at last, the net is starting to close. Far too late, the British government has begun to abandon its mystifying tolerance of the loss of its funds. Last year HM Revenue and Customs retrieved three times as much unpaid tax from the very rich as it did five years before(14). In December the government announced that it would impose 200% penalties on people who fail to declare their bank accounts in uncooperative tax havens(15). Last week the appeal court ruled that the British multimillionaire Robert Gaines-Cooper must pay £30 million in back tax, as he retains too many interests in this country to qualify as a resident of the Seychelles(16). The government is considering a new law on British residency, which it will introduce next year, in the unlikely event that it wins the election(17). Why has it left this so long?

These efforts scarcely scratch the problem. International attempts to close down tax havens remain half-hearted. But if by some miracle these measures were to succeed, one haven – let’s say St Helena – should be kept open. It should be furnished only with rudimentary homes. All who chose to could live there in peace. Every penny they possessed would remain safe from the taxman, as long as they never set foot in another land. They could sit in their cells and count their money for the rest of their lives. Parties of schoolchildren would be brought to the island to goggle at these hermits, and learn some lessons about the follies of wealth.

Instead, we give them tax cuts, put them on TV, and raise our children to want to be like these unhealthy social misfits.

38 comments on “Tax hikes fail to cause ‘brain’ drain in UK”

  1. quenchino 1

    The extremist cult of individualism, the absurd notion that the only absolutes are own personal rights has been the most cancerous, corrosive influence on Western society over at least several generations.

    The result is of course exactly what was planned; a fearful, half-drugged and easily controlled population… a race of wage-slaves living an illusion of independence, when in reality they have none.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    “Micky wonders why we didn’t see a flood of UK executives, considering our tax rates are so low if tax is as important as the Right would have us believe.”

    Most of those who have the balls to leave the mother country have already left. And who here would want to employ the sorry arses anyway, when they have fucked over their own country so badly.

    • Lew 2.1

      Such a classic right-authoritarian response, TS.

      L

    • Bright Red 2.2

      ts. by your logic, anyone who is paying the top tax rate in NZ and hasn’t left is obviously a loser who doesn’t have the balls to leave.

      But that’s you, isn’t it?

  3. prism 3

    Isn’t this ironically priceless writing by Guardian’s George Monbiot. Give that man a – knighthood, a Nobel prize?

    “Executive flight is the corporate world’s only effective form of self-regulation: those who are too selfish to pay what they owe to society send themselves into voluntary exile. It’s an act of self-sacrifice for which we should all be grateful. It’s hard on the Swiss, but there’s a kind of mortal justice here too: if you sustain a crooked system of banking secrecy and tax avoidance, you end up with a country full of crooks and tax avoiders.”

    Sort of like a self-chosen leper colony with mod cons.

  4. PK 4

    Monbiot is quite good on this. He had a good article a couple of years ago too about Northern Rock and libertarianism drawing on his background in zoology:

    “Wherever modern humans, living outside the narrow social mores of the clan, are allowed to pursue their genetic interests without constraint, they will hurt other people. They will grab other people’s resources, they will dump their waste in other people’s habitats, they will cheat, lie, steal and kill. And if they have power and weapons, no one will be able to stop them except those with more power and better weapons. Our genetic inheritance makes us smart enough to see that when the old society breaks down, we should appease those who are more powerful than ourselves, and exploit those who are less powerful. The survival strategies which once ensured cooperation among equals now ensure subservience to those who have broken the social contract.

    The democratic challenge, which becomes ever more complex as the scale of human interactions increases, is to mimic the governance system of the small hominid troop. We need a state that rewards us for cooperating and punishes us for cheating and stealing. At the same time we must ensure that the state is also treated like a member of the hominid clan and punished when it acts against the common good. Human welfare, just as it was a million years ago, is guaranteed only by mutual scrutiny and regulation.”

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/10/23/libertarians-are-the-true-social-parasites/

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      The democratic challenge, which becomes ever more complex as the scale of human interactions increases, is to mimic the governance system of the small hominid troop.

      This is possible but the parasites will scream blue murder. Simply have all business and trust accounts open to public view on the internet. Throw in some publicly supported investigative journalists (rather than the privately owned ones that we have now), an active IRD and the needed oversight becomes possible. While we cling to the deluded belief that business should be private and invisible we have no means of accountability.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    RL “ts. by your logic, anyone who is paying the top tax rate in NZ and hasn’t left is obviously a loser who doesn’t have the balls to leave.”

    Careful about the assumptions you make.

    What I mean about “having the balls to leave” applies over a much longer period than recent times. Over the last few centuries most of those with pioneering spirits have already left England either voluntarily or forcibly to the likes of Australia and New Zealand. The likely result of this is that the remaining gene pool has resulted in an increase in the amount of wosses in the UK who are too timid to take any risks or extend themselves to succeed.

    Evidence? Look at the pathetic performance of UK countries in the likes of the Olympics and other sporting events. Given their relative population size they should be doing a lot better.

    • mcflock 5.1

      Wow TS, it takes real skill to make a house of cards like that.

      Let me get your position straight:
      A) Entrepreneurial and financial advancement is aided by a willingness to take risks.
      B) The desire to take risks and succeed is mostly a genetically-determined characteristic.
      C) UK has had, over the past few centuries, a genetic drain of people inclined to take risks, either as a result of intentional emigration in the hope of advancement in the new world or as a result of deportation of criminals (the concept of a criminal as a failed entrepreneur is most intriguing).
      D) This is supported because UK is currently bad at sport.

      Doesn’t your position suggest that lack of financial success is mostly the result of genetics?

  6. jason rika 6

    Does New zealand have leeches who live off shore to avoid paying taxes? anyone?

    • Bright Red 6.1

      Fay and Richwhite spring to mind

    • Also Douglas Myers springs immediately to mind. He made millions out of booze and then fled after selling to the Chinese. A real patriot.

      Faye set up in Ireland and Richwhite in Switzerland. The interesting common feature of both countries is that they do not have an extradition treaty with New Zealand. I suspect that this was quite an important consideration for both of our “captains of industry”.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    mflock “Doesn’t your position suggest that lack of financial success is mostly the result of genetics?”

    Sort of. There is a genetic link to risk taking behaviour: e.g:

    http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v8/n11/full/nn1583.html

    Given that successful business people are often take risks to succeed (preferably calculated risks) and criminal behaviour often involves misdirected risk-taking, then there is likely a genetic root to both successful business behaviour and criminal behaviour.

    .

    • mcflock 7.1

      So a lack of financial success is mostly sort of the result of genetics?

      Actually, before I’m forced to Godwin the debate, you might want to look for another explanation for the lack of brain-drain following UK tax increases.

      • tsmithfield 7.1.1

        At the moment we seem to be discussing genetics and their role in business success rather than the UK situation. So perhaps an expansion on the genetic aspect would be helpful.

        So far as genetics is concerned, there has been the nature v nurture debate for quite awhile now. Both contribute to the way an individual will behave. Someone may have a gene that predisposes them to risk-taking. If this individual is raised in a dysfunctional environment, the gene may be expressed in criminal behaviour. If the individual is raised in a supportive environment, the gene may be expressed in terms of success in business, sports etc or any field where risk-taking can be beneficial. This is not a particularly controversial perspective so there is no need to “Godwin” the debate.

        Given that the British did export a lot of people with likely “risk-taking” genes to Australia. Also a lot of British citizens did leave for the colonies, and it is reasonable to assume that they too would be likely risk-takers given that this sort of move involves considerable risks.

        Therefore, it is likely that the genetic base of risk taking genes will have diminished in Britain and this may well help explain some of the lack of success they have been experiencing in various fields over recent decades.

        • Bright Red 7.1.1.1

          this is so weird. A 1920s-style social Darwinism explanation for why high taxes haven’t resulted in a brain drain.

          essentially, ts’s argument is that the rich Brits aren’t fleeing high taxes because the only people in the UK are the genetic dregs who haven’t emigrated.

          • tsmithfield 7.1.1.1.1

            BR “this is so weird. A 1920s-style social Darwinism explanation for why high taxes haven’t resulted in a brain drain.”

            No its not 1920’s BR. Its actually very current thinking in psychology and would be covered in most psych text books. Genetic factors tend to be quite neutral. The environment tends to determine how they are expressed. So, there isn’t such a thing as a “criminal” gene. But there is a “risk-taking” gene, as I pointed out in an earlier link that can be expressed in various ways.

            BR “essentially, ts’s argument is that the rich Brits aren’t fleeing high taxes because the only people in the UK are the genetic dregs who haven’t emigrated.”

            You’ve got to admit its a bit more novel than the sort of argument you would expect though. I wouldn’t actually be surprised if there is some truth in it either.

            • mcflock 7.1.1.1.1.1

              TS,

              While genetic associations with risk-taking might be accepted by modern psychology, you seem to be suggesting that a hypothesised de-selection of this gene has significant effects on societal outcomes to the degree that it outweighs other factors such as:
              the fiscal deficits of two world wars,
              a rapid re-orientation of the economy post war (and another one thanks to Thatcher),
              and indeed the specific funding models of advanced sporting academies that different nations choose . . .

              yup, I think you’re beginning to scrape the paint of HMS Godwin.

              • tsmithfield

                Don’t take me too seriously here, mcflock. I quite enjoy trying to make arguments that are a bit whacky for the fun of it. Don’t assume I believe everything I write.

                Having said that, I am not entirely devoid of evidence to make my point.

                Here are the total number of medals for GB and Aus for the last four Olympics (as I tallied up from Wiki):

                GB 121
                Aus 194

                So, despite having 1/3 the population, Australia got 60% more medals. This is an interesting comparison, because Australia was the “beneficiary” of those risk-taking genes when convicts were shipped over from GB. Sure, different training methods make a difference. But this much of a difference?

              • felix

                Don’t worry t, regular readers don’t assume you believe anything you write.

                And it’s not because you’re being “whacky for the fun of it”. It’s because you’re too stupid to support any of the bullshit you invent.

              • tsmithfield

                Nice to see you back, felix.

                So, how would you explain the disparity in Olympic medals then? Considering that both countries have strong sporting infrastructures and would presumably be reasonably equivalent in training methods etc.

                Does it boil down to the different genetic make-up of the two countries with respect to risk-taking?

              • felix

                Well that’s just obvious t.

                It’s been well established that tax avoidance, shot put, and 100m sprint all stem from the same gene. The risk-taking gene. And all the risk takers left Britain long ago. Everyone knows that, don’t they?

                Fuck off moron, you won’t get me playing your stupid game. Especially as you’ve admitted you don’t believe any of this shit yourself. Go play at katie’s blog, more your level.

              • Pascal's bookie

                So, how would you explain the disparity in Olympic medals then?

                The brits prefer pub games, fighting in the streets, and intravenous drug use over running around in budgie smugglers?

                Wasn’t it a brit that said something to the effect that only mountain climbing and motor racing are sports, with everything else being just games? I suspect that goes triple for olympic pursuits.

                But are crime rates higher in Aussie? Honestly don’t know, but it would test your theory. Also, and too, is the Australian financial sector more or less risk averse than the City?

  8. burt 8

    The highly paid didn’t run away as much as predicted… probably because like here in NZ they are not paying the higher taxes because they can structure their affairs to avoid the policies of envy.

    Still the people who get off on thinking that rich pricks are being punished to pay for pledge cards new BMW’s don’t really understand that so they just think their govt has achieved what it said it would.

    • Bright Red 8.1

      “probably because like here in NZ they are not paying the higher taxes because they can structure their affairs to avoid the policies of envy. ”

      if they’re not paying the top tax rate how come we need to cut it?

      And how come Treasury says cutting the top rate to 33% will cost half a billion, most of which goes to the top few % of taxpayers?

      I mean, if no-one’s paying the 38% rate, they won’t be getting tax cuts eh genius?

      • burt 8.1.1

        You are confusing mid range wage and salary earners with high earners. Cullen made a art form of this so it is no surprise that you don’t understand the difference.

        In the start of 2008 75% of high school teachers were classified as rich by Cullen’s tax rates, I wonder how the teachers felt being called rich when they were filling out their WFF applications?

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          Again you spin the delusion.

          Tax rates don’t describe who’s rich and who isn’t. They are an imprecise tool used to collect taxes fairly that had even more of it’s precision removed when cut down from five tax brackets to three in going after the delusional “flat tax”. More brackets would help and also putting trusts on the top bracket.

        • Bright Red 8.1.1.2

          burt – $70K plus is not mid range. It’s the top 12% of income earners.

          Have you learned nothing in all the time you’ve been coming here? Has all the information gone in one ear and out the otehr? Have you managed to turn a blind eye to all the graphs?

          • burt 8.1.1.2.1

            Bright Red

            You must be right because apparently half the countries top 100 earners don’t even earn $70K…. You are not getting this point I’m making are you ?

            Draco T Bastard

            The only ones spinning the delusion are the ones who say wealth taxes tax the rich, like Cullen and Bright Red.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        From what I can make out BR, they’re now complaining about having to pay the lawyers to set up their tax avoidance schemes.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    Burt, it wouldn’t matter whether they were able to structure their affairs to avoid the tax or not. They still wouldn’t leave. The British are genetically programmed with the “stiff upper lip” thing. They know how to get absolutely rogered. And they know how to pretend they are enjoying it.

  10. And on a side note, Recession !…what recession ?

    2009 will be remembered by millions of ordinary people as the year they lost their job, their house, or the prospect of an education. For the rich, however, it was a bonanza.

    The world’s billionaires saw their wealth grow by 50 percent last year, and their ranks swell to 1,011, from 793, according to the latest Forbes list of billionaires.

    The combined net worth of these 1,011 individuals increased to $3.6 trillion, up $1.2 trillion from the year before. On average, each billionaire had his or her wealth increase by $500 million.

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/mar2010/forb-m12.shtml

    • tsmithfield 10.1

      Pollywog, given the bounce-back in the sharemarket, this is probably not surprising. Remember, the previous year as the comparison point is when a lot of these people lost truckloads when the economy crashed. So, they are experiencing a “V” shaped recovery in their wealth.

  11. Zak Creedo 11

    What a mountain of misunderstanding on the blog and its commentariat!

    Know ye not how these people of whom you are so obviously envious are hopelessly flawed.?

    Discover this—yay find their dependence—and regulate it. Then bijove you’ll have flight, whole Boeing loads..

    But will you be happy with this..?

  12. mcflock 12

    @TS
    “Don’t take me too seriously here, mcflock. I quite enjoy trying to make arguments that are a bit whacky for the fun of it. Don’t assume I believe everything I write.”

    Talking social Darwinism based on complete shit is fun for you? What people do for kicks…
    Trouble is, some folk in ACT might make it a condition of supply & confidence if they get the idea.

  13. RedBack 13

    Having talked to several UK bankers in recent weeks the one thing that still strikes me is their total and utter lack of collective responsibility for the mountainous financial f*** up they caused that has had a massive impact socailly and economically on all of British society. They were still unbelievably moaning that they only got £100,000 bonuses this year instead of their usual £500,000. Absolutley unbelievable arrogance on display. On top of that around 70 odd uber wealthy business leaders have all signed a letter objecting to Labour’s planned national insurance tax rise (1%). Same old story isn’t it. These blokes don’t mind taking as much as they can out of society to make their millions when times are good but like ungrateful spoiled children they don’t want to put anything back when things get rocky for everyone else. That rise in the UK national insurance tax has already been moronically dubbed the “new jobs tax” by the Tory’s and right wing press. In actual fact its a way of trying to find £6bn to keep alot of frontline health and other social services running during the recession. Something the Torys have managed to avoid mentioning is that they have no plan when it comes to addressing this issue should win the general election.

  14. Misses the point that the tax could be 100% – you can structure out of paying the 50p which by now I’m imagining HNWI already have caught on using non-dom structures.

    After the UBS case in Switzerland also there will be a dip in jobs as the banking industry presently is in flux waiting for the net result of actions by the US government. I am surprised the dip was only 7%

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    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    3 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    3 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    4 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    5 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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