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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“It was ironic that an aircraft funded by a Labour government was used by the wealthy to get out of Britain as fast as possible to avoid paying tax.”

A comment I heard yesterday on a BBC travel programme about the supersonic plane Concorde.

26 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • veryretired

    Movement is a form of voting.

    As the descendent of immigrants, as all are here, it intrigues me that so few of those who say they hate it here, and despise so much of American culture, just don’t migrate to friendlier climes. It was all the rage back in the 1920′s and 30′s.

    After all, their ancestors left somewhere to get here.

  • bob mologna

    Emigrating aint as easy as it used to be. Try moving to Oz and you’ll see that the visa system is a complex nightmare. I could have got in if I were one year younger but age ruled me out (I think I was 31 at the time, hardly an oldster). Ireland or the UK? fergetaboutit unless you are rich, employed by a multinational and relocated, or marry a local.

    An Irish grandparent used to be enough for citizenship but I believe they’ve closed that door. I got my Irish citizenship via that route before they tightend the laws so now my wife and kids are all dual citizens. It’s a handy thing to have in case you ever feel the need to make a quick exit.

  • Verity

    “It was ironic that an aircraft funded by a Labour government was used by the wealthy to get out of Britain as fast as possible to avoid paying tax.”

    Why was that ironic?

  • guy herbert

    And who made the comment?

  • mike

    Because the government thought that, among other things, building such an aircraft would somehow be a wonderful boon to an ailing economy which would in turn lead to higher tax receipts – what they failed to comprehend was that it was to prove literally the quickest means of escape for the wealthy who could then avoid paying the taxes the government was hoping for.

  • mike

    I emigrated to the far east last year (leaving Britain). Every time I read a British newspaper story about another axe murder in a London street at 10am or a blog story about the thought police arresting someone for calling a horse gay, I realise I cannot possibly consider going back to Britain without a gun and a Batmobile.

  • Julian Taylor

    That depends upon where you live in the Far East, Thailand? (British backpacker raped and murdered by 2 fishermen). Malaysia and Thailand? (muslim insurgency and terrorism). Indonesia? (Muslim suicide bomber attacks and endemic corruption). Perhaps you might let us know which country you now live in?

  • I have to agree with Mike, that having 3 years ago emrigrated to the Middle East (Kuwait then Dubai), and considering another move to Russia, I have no intention of returning to the UK anytime soon.

  • Johnathan

    “why was that ironic?”, writes Verity. I would have thought it obvious. Labour government. Expensive plane. People get on plane to leave Labour Britain. QED.

    guy, sorry, cannot recall who said it. It was on the telly and I was cleaning the flat at the time.

  • mike

    “Perhaps you might let us know which country you now live in?”

    Taiwan.

    Allow me to explain and qualify. First, Taiwan gives you an immediate feeling of freedom everyday merely from the use of a motorcycle on open roads with few and largely unenforced traffic regulations (at least if you don’t live in Taipei). For example, traffic lights are largely regarded as ‘guides’ because (a) there are so many of them even at the most superfluous little junctions, and (b) there are no road cameras to zap you running a red. Yet it is not merely that traffic policing is lightly enforced, if enforced at all, but that the road culture in general is incredibly melee-like.

    Second, although firearms are banned, Taiwan has very little visible violent crime. Whilst violent crime can be witnessed practically every Friday night in any major British city, it really is extremely rare to see (or hear about) this in Taiwan (except perhaps in newspaper pictures of what happens between rival politicians in the Taiwanese ‘congress’). It must be said however, that there is plenty of petty theft, elaborate fraud and blatant corruption among government and its’ agencies. But this is no more than to be expected in any country.

    Third, although there are various hoops to jump through for foreigners like myself (and it helps a great deal if you have a Taiwanese friend or partner) it is really quite a common practice to start your own buisness – most of the restaraunts for example are small, independent family-owned businesses with comparatively few franchise operations. And I don’t just mean the local nightmarket stalls, but the up-market ‘french’ restaraunts too (‘french’ means the chef was trained in France and the food is actually very good, if a little expensive).

    So for all of these reasons (the comparatively lighter touch and smaller reach of the law; the low visibility and/or occurance of violent crime; the entrepreneurial culture), life in Taiwan feels a hell of a lot more free than life in Britain.

  • mike

    Oh, and January temperatures of 28 C (82 F). Does this have any bearing on liberty? Sure – you can go to the beach!

  • Daveon

    Ireland or the UK? fergetaboutit unless you are rich, employed by a multinational and relocated, or marry a local

    If you have the right skills it really is easy to get a skilled immigrant visa for the UK – I’ve a few American friends who work in IT who’ve done it over the last 4 years. One just renewed and got an automatic 4 year extension, which will give him enough to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

    It was a relatively straight forward application process too. Several of the non-British students who did MBAs with my wife also applied and got similar visas at the completion of the degree.

    The visa is limited to 1 year, initially, and you have to demonstrate you are of nett economic value at the end of the first year (typically they like to see you paying tax and not trying to claim anything).

  • Daveon – same with Australia. If you hold a qualification in any number of trades or tertiary level degrees, you’re a shoo-in. There is a massive skills shortage in the country – as obtuse as government regularly is, they’re not dumb enough to further exascerbate it by getting all Japanese on well-qualified foreigners. Also, if you come to Australia on a holiday visa or something similar and apply for permanent residency, your application is advantaged considerably if you agree to live and work in a number of rural areas for a couple of years. I believe the city of Adel@ide (sorry about the spelling; for some reason the spam filter doesn’t like an arrangement of letters that spells “del@i”) is also included in the special immigration zone, because South Australia tends to lag behind the rest of the country economically speaking, and could do with the new blood.

  • Julian Taylor

    It seems a hell of a lot easier for an American to get into the UK for work now than for just about anyone else, certainly easier than for a Briton to get a work permit for the USA.

    Someone I sponsored has after just 18 months (the maximum work permit period they will allow if you can not supply more than 3 years sets of accounts to the Home Office) been now offered Indefinite Leave To Remain in the UK.

  • Verity

    Julian Taylor – Southeast Asia is not the Far East. Thailand, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are in SE Asia. I would not go to Thailand on a bet. I loathe the people, who are very, very violent behind the smiles. Lots and lots of stupid young girls go there, think they are learning about “the culture” from friendly, humble young men who latch on to them. Then they get raped and murdered. It is an everyday occurence.

  • Ron

    I thought Americans don’t work abroad much because they remain liable for US taxes as well as the local taxes…?

  • Verity

    Johnathan – My question was ironic.

    I thought it was obvious.

    The “friendly, humble young men” in Thailand are also much given to picking up and murdering gays. Anyone who goes to Thailand on a vacation needs their head examining.

  • Johnathan

    Verity, now you are being ironic.

    Sorry I’ll shut up now.

    C

  • I believe that for US expatriates foreign tax paid can be offset against US tax due. I’m not even sure that foreign source income is counted. And I suspect British tax, at least, would be more than applicable US tax, although that may just be latent Anglophobism! Perhaps someone with actual expertise can untangle the situation.

  • Verity

    I understand the tax an American expatriate pays in a foreign country is offset against the amount he owes the American government. That’s it broadly, but of course, there are complicated formulas.

  • guy herbert

    If you hold a qualification in any number of trades or tertiary level degrees, you’re a shoo-in.

    Pity about those of us with no recognisable qualifications. ‘spect we just have to figure out how to get very rich.

  • guy herbert

    I believe that for US expatriates foreign tax paid can be offset against US tax due. I’m not even sure that foreign source income is counted. And I suspect British tax, at least, would be more than applicable US tax, although that may just be latent Anglophobism! Perhaps someone with actual expertise can untangle the situation

    In many cases yes, foreign tax can be set off against US tax, but it entirely depends whether there’s a double-taxation treaty in force, and you will still have to fill in a US tax return every year anyway, so you bear both sets of compliance costs on top of (at minimum) AMT. Foreign source income is included, as far as I know.

    The tax premium for your UK generated income would be about 50% (but in Germany 100%) of the US tax, for most people. But if you are a high earner, then it would be a whole lot worse.

    A US domiciled person who is resident in the UK but doesn’t earn money here is however in the privileged position of paying UK tax rates only on the money they bring in to live on.

    That’s roughly the position. Broad information, not advice, of course.

  • GCooper

    guy herbert writes:

    “Pity about those of us with no recognisable qualifications. ‘spect we just have to figure out how to get very rich.”

    Or deciding whom we marry.

  • J

    “I have to agree with Mike, that having 3 years ago emrigrated to the Middle East (Kuwait then Dubai), and considering another move to Russia, I have no intention of returning to the UK anytime soon.”

    Britain may be getting rid of free speech as fast as possible, but it’s got a way to go before it catches up with those countries.

    Is it that Kuwait’s ban on alcohol in all places is preferable to Britain’s ban on smoking in public places? Or is it that Russia’s thriving mafia make it a good place to do business? Perhaps Dubai’s ban on distributing non-muslim religious literature appeals to your desire for a free press?

    Or is it perhaps, that if you are rich in those three places then it’s easier to stay rich, that the expensive parts of town are safe and crime free, and that the standard of living is great?

    Lots of people prefer a comfy life with few responsibilities to real liberty. Voting socialist is one common response, living in a gated expat community in Dubai is another. Hard to say which I dislike most, although I did once meet a socialist with a sense of humour.

    J

  • Eddie Willers

    Well, I’ve relocated to Mexico – via marriage to one of her nationals – and now live in Tampico, a midsize provincial industrial city in the northeast.

    I get a much better middle class lifestyle than I ever could have hoped for in the UK. For those who can afford it (such as ourselves) there’s a wide choice of private healthcare and education options. The USA is less than 5 hours away by road so we can always avail ourselves of their facilities too.

    Paradise it aint – there’s plenty wrong – but there’s good and bad for nearly all countries.

  • Alice

    In Paris 80% of the people queuing at the American consulate are white and young. They must have a job or a university waiting for them.
    Almost all the applicants at the Australian Ambassy are white and good looking.
    85% of the candidates at the Canadian consulate (therefore candidates for any province other than Quebec) are non-white, they’re not necessarily French and they all have a strong accent and another culture. Quebec is the only one to organise meetings to find immigrants all over France, and even on the black island of La Réunion.
    Canadian politicians sometimes say in the French media, that they welcome over 200.000 of such immigrants every year.

    I’d like to know the opinion of the Canadians on the selection of their future fellow countrymen. Would they like to make the validation of each professional qualification compulsory by various institutes, as in Australia ? Do they wish to see the number of points (age, degree, skill shortage, relatives…) increased from 100 to 140 as in New Zealand, last month?