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Wendy Truth Is Told

The Wendy Alexander saga has now entered the sympathy phase following her resignation. Of course much of it is of the patronising variety such as that expressed in Tory activist Ian Dale’s Diary
. Perhaps one of the most amusing aspects of this sympathy though is the idea that the rules on MP’s and MSP’s declaring donations are just a bit too confusing and it’s easy therefore for the poor old simple politician to be bamboozled by their complexity. Excuse me while I laugh out loud for a moment.

………………….. *laughs heartily*…………………..

Ah! that’s better. I have news for Mr. Dale. Complexity, rules, laws, legislation, regulation and red tape are politicians stock in trade! There is nothing they like better than to unnecessarily complicate the simplest of activities. This could be anything from a farmer moving a goat to a different field (45 pages of instructions contained in the Sheep And Goats (Wales) Order 2006) to a business trying to cope with the number of tax forms they have to fill in annually (the current average in the UK is 279) or arranging to accompany your child on a school trip.
A small business owner at work
A small business owner sorts out her paperwork for the day.

The average amount of pieces of legislation passed into statute in the UK each year numbers nearly 4,000. The height of this paper mountain is that of a typical double decker bus. I own a small business and have long since delegated the financial paperwork of my business fully to my accountant. It is really the only way to keep on the right side of the law. It costs me over £3,000 per year but it is worth it to keep on the right side of the myriad of rules and regs. Last year I had an Inland Revenue and a VAT bill to pay on the same day. The combined total of these bills was into five figures. I arranged to pay them by BACS but unfortunately had not realised that instead of taking three days to process, they would take four because of a bank holiday. Thus for the first time in 23 years in business my VAT payment was late (albeit by ONE day). They slapped a notice on me and said that if I was late again with a payment within the next 18 months this would lead to a financial penalty. I appealed pointing out that this was the first time I had been late in nearly quarter of a century. I felt that I conducted my affairs with them in an almost exemplary fashion and that whilst it was my error to not take account of a bank holiday I felt it was perhaps a little unfair to be penalised. The reply came and I’m sure you will forgive me for paraphrasing it slightly but it was along the lines of Dear Sir, Go and take a good running fuck to yourself.

Anyway getting back to wee Wendy. She is a university educated, bright and intelligent person. She has a staff at her disposal, paid for by the tax payer whose duty is to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. The rules and regulations she was subject to were no worse or more complicated than those inflicted on the rest of us. Those rules and regulations were voted through by politicians just like her.

Sure let us simplify rules and regulations as Ian Dale suggests. However lets do it for everyone and not just the political class.

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4 Responses

  1. I fear Mr Dale’s response was as much about hoping the backwash from Wendy doesn’t inundate Caroline Spelman as anything…

    My wife runs her own business and I completely recognise the picture you paint – and you can be sure that any mistake she makes in her paperwork is met with scant sympathy from the likes of HMRC et al, presumably under the direction of whatever political mediocrity occupies that chair in the Treasury at that time. If small business people are required to keep abreast of all this stuff, you’d think MPs, with their generous taxpayer funded staffs, would be able to cope.

    Incidentally, looks like there might be more to David Marshall’s decision to stand down than ill health as well.

  2. Robert

    It’s a good point, well made.

    Can I add this – though it’s a point made in one of today’s papers – the very fact that Wendy felt it necessary to seek advice should, OF ITSELF, have indicated to her that the donations should have been declared. If in doubt, boot it out as you would say to the Sons centre-half in a different context.

    What is it she was trying to conceal and why? Answer – she was trying to conceal donations from rich non-domiciled donors – not for any dishonest (ie self-enrichment) purpose, but to conceal the distasteful source from the horny-handed sons of toil who might wonder why the Labour Party was being funded by wealthy non-doms who had never worked an honest day in their puffs.

  3. Fleet, you’re the man for the inside track!

    Alastair, succinct as always!

  4. [...] back at her back-stabbing party. Freedom and Whisky looked at just what rules were bent,  as did Big Rab who looked at the complexity of legislation that we all have to face. anseo looked at Charlie [...]

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