Archive for the ‘US’ Tag
Well its not taken long for the new squeaky clean president of the US to succumb to foot in mouth to the displeasure of his many critics. Suggesting his ten pin bowling was ‘like the Special Olympics”, has got many people hot under their liberal collars. He did apologise for the gaff and rightly so, as one upset individual said, ‘these words that in some respect can be seen as humiliating or a put-down to people with special needs do cause pain and they do result in stereotypes.” Its a fine line between humour and insult and that line gets even finer when you speak in public.
Foot in mouth seems to be a common infliction of people in the public eye. Even the Pope has managed to get up many noses on several occasions through his comments and diktats, the latest being the suggestion that condoms help spread HIV in Africa. These are just ordinary people and without their advisers, speech writers and spin doctors, they make the same crass and embarrassing comments that we do, often at the most inopportune moments. Somehow when they make them its just a whole lot worse.
We expect people in the public eye to behave better and with more restraint and honesty than we do ourselves. Its an odd idea that fame makes one a better person. Rubbish, how else would all these celebrity magazines make their money. We want them to be nice, but love it when they are bad. It means we can pull them down of the pedestal we put them on in the first place. The public is fickle and as long as people make gaffs and speak out of turn we will all revel in their misfortune but envy their money and fame.
On sooner had Barack Obama and Gordon Brown said they would work to end the shadow banking system then many of the countries that have profited from hiding money from the tax man or providing a home for ill-gotten gains started to change their ways. Their commitment to be more open has less conviction than a cheesy smile. The Swiss said it will abide by international banking rules on data sharing but would only respond to “concrete and justified” requests. Seems like a statement to ensure those with something to hide can be assured of a warm welcome.
Switzerland has always been proud of its neutrality and well organised society. However there is a darker side to the country. Over the years it has provided succour to corrupt politicians and criminal gangs by ensuring their banking services remain anonymous. There have been some moves in the past to cooperate with investigations into illegal deposits but progress has been slow. Its a bit ironic that it has taken a downturn in the world’s economies to get the country to change. Perhaps their banks are suffering as well and the villains are having a hard time.
Money can supposedly buy you anything, in particular it can buy you the ability to avoid paying your way in the world by reducing or avoiding any tax commitments. Its one of the big injustices in Britain that those who pay the largest proportion of their income as tax are those with the least to loose. Many big corporations make large profits but organise their enterprises to ensure the profits only arise in those countries with the most favourable tax regimes. Its time the Government also tackled this equally unjust situation.