Monday, March 01, 2010

Dog Eat Dog In Dodgy Non-Dom Land

Attack dogs have been unleashed in the dog eat dog world of dodgy non-doms, fighting it out like ferrets in a sack after 'Cashcroft' finally came clean. Filthy rich figures bankrolling political parties while hiding behind dodgy non-dom tax status. What's new? But blistering attacks could backfire with both parties to blame and in the firing line.

The feeding frenzy over Ashcroft's tax status and the 'non-dom' attack line is so blatant it is almost laughable. New Labour had found a chink in the Tory armour, flogging rich Ashcroft for all he's worth. Tories mounted a forlorn fight-back claiming non-dom Paul is bankrolling New Labour.

New Labour had a field day taking the Michael out of Tory Ashcroft while getting away with its own dirty little secrets, including 'Garbagegate' steel magnate Lakashmi Mittal and Brown's bunging pal, Swarj Paul.

The pressure is relentless and the stakes are high. The issue of a 'non-dom' - any non-dom - bankrolling a political party - any political party - is a disgrace which has to be stamped out.

Ashcroft today came clean about his non-dom status after promising to "strike back at smears" with a letter giving the BBC's Robinson a chance to milk it for all it's worth.

But 'Cashcroft's' non-dom admission gave Tories a chance to hit back with Paul and Mittal. Paul? Ashcroft? Bores the pants off voters. All as bad as each other. Maybe they will cancel out and fizzle out as electioneering attack lines.

Last year the Observer revealed New Labour "quietly postponed a law to stop wealthy tax exiles bankrolling political parties until after a general election."

That prompted accusations the government has "nobbled" parliament. Now the law is finally due to change to make life difficult for non-doms to grease the palm and election pots of their favourite party? How convenient.

After thirteen years in power and weeks from a general election, the government is to finally close the sable door after the horses have bolted to Belize.

Key New Labour donors such as Paul and Mittal as well as Tory donor Ashcroft will have been able to pump millions of pounds into the election campaign.

The Orange Party is bemused. Squirrelling away wads of cash in the Caymans to trip up the taxman is a disgrace. But Lords a-leaping into bed with a political party is nothing new.

Brown's pal and leadership campaign bankroller, Paul, is no stranger to Sunday Times readers, reported to have handed over £400,000 to the Party.

Last year The Times exposed the legal loophole of Paul's non-dom status for tax purposes allowing him to avoid most UK taxes. And Paul was forced to stand down as deputy Lords speaker while officials rummaged through his expenses claims.

Wealthy tax exile Mittal, one of the richest people on the planet at the centre of the 'cash for influence' Garbagegate scandal during the Blair years, has donated more than £2m to New Labour coffers.

Not to be outdone, even LibDems have been bankrolled by non-dom Choudhrie brothers. Bless.

Helping to keep the Tory ship afloat, Ashcroft, has come under the spotlight of that Labour-loving organ the Telegraph, as well the Guardian, Indy, et Big Al. But donating around £4m to 'Cameron's conservatives' out of a cash-rich Tory warchest of around £90m is kinda peanuts coming in at 4.6 percent.

Earlier this month the Orange Party asked why parties were so prickly about 'Paul Ashcroft', wondering whether the day would ever come when the parties would fight it out below the belt and above the fold with headline grabbing 'Ashcroft in tax scandal' in one newspaper and 'Paul in tax scandal' in another.

Even Bunkered Brown is joining the dodgy non-doms, skiving off school again with a lame excuse, dodging democracy and a commons PMQs grilling.

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