…for the people?

  ‘Plutocracy’ is viewed generally as a dirty word. The idea (if not the practice) of government by the wealthy is anathema to those who treasure democracy. At first whiff the OECD Secretariat’s proposal for a unified worldwide approach to the taxation of the digital economy, issued for consultation earlier this month, failed the plutocratic…

One day more

  Of all the hackneyed aphorisms that grate on my undertaxed mind, that one about nothing being certain except death and taxes has got to be prime candidate for the next cull of the English language. So, I was both irritated and fascinated when it was brought to my attention that Monday last week was…

Telling it like it isn’t

A rabbi, a priest and the secretary-general of the OECD walk into a bar... Not heard that one before? Read on. Last Wednesday, January 2nd, as the 20th Knesset breathed its last before flatlining in the run-up to a General Election, the Finance Committee approved regulations paving the way for the introduction of the international…

There is an i in America

  In a sweltering, politically incorrect scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones - tired of the boastful swordsmanship of an Arab adversary – nonchalantly draws his pistol and shoots him dead. This could be a metaphor for the last hundred years: with a few exceptions, when the Americans have put their minds to…

Doing it the people’s way

  ‘You’re not drunk, if you can lie on the floor without holding on.’ Dean Martin’s witticism has haunted me over the last couple of years as I have watched the impending self-destruction of the country of my birth (Brexit, the inevitability of a future Corbyn government), the temporary set-back to the United States (The Donald, the quack…

Celebrity Squares

Adolf Hitler is, for me, ancient history, while Churchill is almost pinchable. Why the distinction regarding two implacable foes, the height of whose infamy and fame coincided exactly? It is simply because, by the time I was born, Hitler had been dead for over a decade, while I remember Churchill's funeral,  50 years ago next…

Go ahead punk, make my day

"This tape will self-destruct in five seconds." In the 1960s, while the mission may have been impossible, information protection was very possible. Burned, swallowed or - until a bunch of  bored  students  were looking for something to do at the US Embassy in Teheran - shredded, there was no difficulty eradicating the evidence from the face of the earth.…

No flies on them, mate

Filling in the immigration card at the start of the descent into Melbourne International Airport earlier this week, I could not help but chuckle as I checked the "No" box against the question "Do you have any criminal convictions?"  I was unavoidably reminded of that hackneyed joke, attributed to the late Tony Hancock and especially popular…

Dallas, Taxus

According to a study in the influential "British Medical Journal", if you are looking for a safe profession (leaving aside Accountant or Lawyer), you would be better advised to plump for Bomb Disposal Expert or Formula 1 Racing Driver than Soap Opera Star. The BMJ informs us that characters in these B-TV sagas have three times the…