Tax Doesn’t Have to be taxing. Or Expensive

STRUAN METCALFE – MSP for Aberdeenshire North and Surrounding Nether Regions

Unfortunately, I find myself one again having to apologise unreservedly for “unhelpful” comments I made on Twitter last night regarding the immoral practice of tax avoidance.  I fear my tweet has been blown out of all proportion and a silly joke I made, as I whizzed through my second bottle of Château Laffite, has gone viral:

“Jimmy Carr’s in trouble for tax planning and Super Dave says he’s morally repugnant. Hope Dave doesn’t find out about my Dutch EBT Scheme! LOL”.

Clearly I do not have a Dutch EBT scheme (into which I pay my salary only for the trust to loan the money back to me, thus avoiding the payment of income tax and national insurance on the “earnings”). No, No, No!  I have a Cayman Islands Offshore Family Trust which lends my salary back to my 9 year old son on a tax free basis so that he can buy the latest Ben 10 toy, afford those expensive rugger boots Gordonstoun insists he wears, and pay the mortgage on our country pile in Glen Alva.  It’s all perfectly legit.

So, for the avoidance of doubt (not tax!), I say “Yes”, tax evasion is morally repugnant.  Because it’s illegal.

“Yes”, in this current climate – whilst MP’s tax records do not currently have to be disclosed to the public! – tax avoidance is wrong.  Ish.

And “Yes”, exploiting a tax loop-hole because you’ve paid a super-dooper smart London-based tax lawyer is nothing short of criminal. Have you seen their charge out rates!?

SHELLEY SHINGLES – showbiz correspondent and Miss Fetteresso 1983

This week my Jimmy Choos have been a blur as I’ve been rushed round visiting Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness (phew!) as I heard it was a rare chance to see the Dalai Lama!  I’ve been a big fan since a holiday in Peru with all my showbiz pals, when one ate Chesney Hawkes’ hat!  Kim Wilde asked him, “Was that your one and only!?” (ROTFL!)

But I couldn’t find any Lamas there at all, just a little man in some red curtains!? (Sad face).  I’ve not been so disappointed I went to the Grassic Gibbon Centre and they refused to show me any monkeys!

 ‘Cava’ Kenny Cordiner – the football pundit who kicks back!

This week was a well busy time to be a respected Dons legend.  I done my first bit on the wireless for the Euros last Tuesday, then Stewartie Milne gave Willie Miller his jotters and then sadly another Dons legend, Teddy Scott, passed away.

The lovely Melody looked out my best suit so I looked the part for going on the wireless but I was still a bag of nerves.  I was the punnet on the Ireland v Italy game, probably because I know a lot about playing the Italians – La Lombarda won the over 50s 5-asides against us last month.  The commentator says, “Shame Greece weren’t drawn with Italy, Spain and Ireland, then it would be the ‘Group of Debt!’”  I jumped in and says he meant the ‘Group of Death.’  Lucky I was there!

England done well to qualify, even though they was more in the ‘Group of Serious Illness’.  Mind you, that was definitely a goal what John Terry cleared off the line against Ukraine.  All the other punnets is talking about cameras on the goal line but I don’t know.  It’s not as if people will still be talking about a ball maybe crossing the line 50 years later.

I always tried not to let boardroom shenannygoats affect me when I was a player but my mole down at Pittodrie says you could cut the air with a fork since Willie got the push.  But there’s no room for sentient in football.  The boys just have to turn their face to the wall and move forwards.  Stewartie got shot of most of the board last week.  He says he needs to freshen things up.  I reckon he wasn’t watching the players last season if he thinks the board’s what needs to go.  You have to feel for Willie.  The greatest player ever to pull on the captain’s hairband but in his management rolos he remained something of an enema.  Still, he’s a talented guy.  He won’t stick and, with his track record in business, there could even be a job going at Rangers.

I felt very sorrow when I heard about Teddy Scott passing away.  Teddy and me had a lot in common.  Despite both being legends for the Dons, we only played one game for the first team.  We were both hugely popular with the other players and the fans, and we were both modest and humble.  There is a famous story about when Teddy packed the wrong socks for an away game and Fergie going to sack him.  Then Gordon Strachan says “You’ll need to hire 10 men to replace him” and Fergie demented.  The boss didn’t always have a softer side though.  I once turned up for a reserve game without my shorts and he fined me 2 weeks wages and made me play in my pants!

God bless, Teddy.  There’s a pie and Bovril waiting for you in the great dugout in the sky.