John Christensen ■ Its OK to avoid tax – we give to charity, and other b****cks!
Now here’s a tricky public relations issue for our times: how does a band like Take That rebuild its image after being exposed as serial tax avoiders? The Guardian’s Lost in Showbiz grapples with the problem, in light of the weak apology tweeted by Take That’s Gary Barlow:
“I want to apologise to anyone who was offended by the tax stories.” Not by the tax-avoiding, you understand, but by the stories about it. Thus, in those few brief words, Gary suggested that the real offender here is the Times journalist who exposed him.”
We at TJN are quite sure that Take That’s tax avoidance advisers will have reassured them that their dodgy schemes were totally secret, so we can well understand how bitter and twisted they must have felt towards the journalist who blew the gaff.
Which raises the inevitable question about how celebrity tax avoiders like Take That, Bob Geldoff, Bono, Katie Melua, and others, justify their actions to themselves and others. Lost in Showbiz offers the following:
“As for what sort of tax-avoider Gary is, that’s an interesting one. Lost in Showbiz reckons there are two kinds of tax avoiders: people who lie to themselves about what they are doing, and people who believe the rest of us taxpaying idiots are being lied to. My guess is that Gary fits into the former category – the sort who, for instance, reassure themselves that it’s OK because they do a lot for charity. (Do they do 30 million quid’s worth of work for charity? No. No, they don’t. And even if they somehow did, it doesn’t absolve them from their basic social responsibilities.)”