LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
21 April 2018
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The Last Straw

Straws! Straws! Straws! It’s all about the straws! Remove all straws. Destroy all
straws! Now! Oh the Tories deflecting and – erm – bending the outrageous
strategy involving Windrush migration. But it is really down to Theresa. The
grasping at straw strategy is not working.

Hmmm. ‘Global Britain at its best’ makes Theresa look: incompetent,
hypocritical, heartless, duplicitous, thick, unethical, racist, anti-immigrant,
lacking empathy…all really, but possibly coward best describes her.
‘Conveniently’ the paper work ‘went missing’ – all right – deliberately shredded
leaving the men, women and children whom the British government had invited,
all right, begged to come here to help with post-war reconstruction without
documentation. i.e. Windrush landing cards, and thus the chance to deport them
en masse – and lest we forget – they do love those US run detention centres.
Theresa was head of the Home Office – how ironic – ‘home’….

Staff warned in 2010. So she ordered the destruction, then she ordered proof of
their rights and then she refused them their rights and then she refused to meet
the heads of the Commonwealth Summit. Not looking good, Theresa.

Let’s take a minute to feel outraged. “Big sweeps” resulted in 7,629
Commonwealth nationals, that’s out of the 13,499, 2010-2016, have been
forcibly deported and adding insult to injury, possibly handcuffed and naturally
there are always those useful full body restraint belts. Not all criminals you know.
If any really.

The Home Office has continued to ignore requests for the figures since 2016.
Hiding the statistics? Oh surely not. Not the Home Office. As Lord Kerslake,
Head of Civil Service 2012-2015, told Newsnight: “…almost reminiscent of Nazi
Germany in the way it’s working.” Now isn’t that reassuring?

After saying, hand on heart, “The aim is to create here in Britain a really hostile
environment for illegal migration.” The following year, she sent her racist ‘’Go
Home’ vans around London. Now, Theresa is blaming – what else is new here?
the ‘missing’ documentation on the administrative failure of civil servants. When
caught out, she blamed Labour. However immediately it became clear that no
Labour minister had actually been involved.

Amber Rudd is said to be “seething”. Funny that. She is totally culpable and
jumped with both feet onto the back of the “Go Home” van. Nonetheless, blame
falls on Theresa; it was her personal idea, her personal agenda. Almost no one
in cabinet support her on her draconian policy. Oh dear. In 2004 Theresa May
said “I find it extraordinary that a Minister isn’t willing just to step up to the plate
and take responsibility… I’m actually sick and tired of Government Ministers who
simply blame other people when something goes wrong”.

If any doubts, former coalition advisor, Polly Mackenzie, tweeted it was Theresa
who created the climate and was Theresa’s mission to “make it systematically
difficult to get by without papers”. A few details: high street banks, the National
Health Service, charities, schools and landlords must each require to check that
anyone who uses their services has a legal right to remain here. The stories are
horrific. Surely you have heard them.

The best. After being illegally deported, the Home Office had told those who had
never set foot in Jamaica after arriving in Britain at two years of age, “To be
Jamaican, use local accents and dialects.” Come on now. “WHAT THE F**K?!”

British Transport Police appealed for witnesses after a Spanish woman was
dragged around a London Underground carriage by her hair, as two women told
her to “speak English when in England.” The incident occurred on the Central
Line at 3.45am on Saturday. The woman suffered cuts to her face and scalp.
Now where’s Jamaican Patois when you need it?

Labour MP, David Lammy, directly addressed the Home Secretary in the House
of Commons and said: “It is her department that has deported them. She should
know the number.” He later added: “Today is a day of national shame.” Not for
Nige. Former UKIP leader has ensured us that his children will have European
passports after Brexit. Hmm. Indeed.

And now? People need certain documents to prove their right to be alive – oh, I
mean the right to be alive in the UK, if they want to work, rent a house, have
access to benefits, charities, ad inf. So that leaves them the option to be
homeless then. Right? Theresa. Let us spell it out for you. Repeat after me: m e
a  c u l p a…

The 3.7 million EU nationals in Britain have found themselves victims in what is
becoming a fascistic country. When Europeans feel unwelcome – and we are
talking Swedish business people are targeted. Alarming. And lest we forget, her
government voted against allowing 3,000 Syrian children the safety of Britain.
irony

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Time for a break from embarrassing Britain, but before you have that eye-
wateringly pricey fifth cup of coffee, give a little think about just how ripped off
you are. OK. Finish it first.

You know you pay out for income tax, national insurance, VAT, council tax and
everything else. The typical British worker pays around half of their income in
tax and let’s not even mention how much of your salary can go for rent. You
might faint. So, the UK corporation tax? Oh that’s currently at 19% of profits.
Now that is less than a fifth of their takings. Getting annoyed yet? More to come.

Reviewing your favourite coffee shops, we can begin with Caffe Nero. Well, they
have paid no corporation tax in a decade. Time to put that coffee cup down.
They have sales of more than £2bn over the period. Spitting out that mouthful of
mocha with soy milk? Yes, yes. All legal naturally.

Professor of accounting Prem Sikka explained: “Caffe Nero profits have
effectively been shifted from the UK to Luxembourg via a loan deal and has
reduced or wiped out the UK tax bill”.

And now for another of your favourites, Pret a Manger. UK sales £575m, profits
before taxes in £86m, taxes paid £5.6m. It reduced its tax bill by claiming “group
relief”. Serving coffee to groups to save time and money? That actually allows it
to offset losses in other parts of its owners’ business against Pret’s tax bill,
reducing it from around £17 million in theory to just over £5m in practice. Clever,
right? Group hug.

Now Starbucks. Personally, I have always boycotted Starbucks and seriously
have never stepped into a shop to drink one of those 12 sugar teaspoon frothing
beige drinks with my name on it – are they still doing that? No matter, after
European sales of $188m, operating profits of $56.5m and UK taxes paid in
2016? Take a guess. Not even close. $3.4m. Effective tax rate then? Less than
4% just to irritate you. But you aren’t really drinking proper coffee, are you?

How do their accountants do it? The company pays licensing fees to overseas
companies. However, after a series of stories on its practices, the company
made the voluntary decision to stop these practices, and even pledged in 2012
to deliberately overpay UK tax, UK being (embarrassingly) its biggest market. PR
ploy surely.  

And Costa Coffee? 2017 UK sales £886m, profits before taxes £103m, taxes
paid £24.7m. insult to injury alert. It also owns Beefeater, Premier Inn and other
profitable companies. Not quite as bad as the others curiously. Due to some
adjustments, it actually paid slightly more than the headline tax rate of 20%...
impressive and also paid an effective tax rate of more than 20% in previous
years, too. Well, they have been here since the 70s. Your choice. Thermos on a
park bench then?

Or try a coffee in a crypt. No really. Cafe-in-the-Crypt. How could you have not
been there already? You know, St Martin-in-the-Fields. Trafalgar Square. See,
you do know.

Whoops?

Goodness gracious me. Oh the ‘count down’. Yawn. Unconsciousness coming
on. Although never to keep a thought to herself (sometimes a good thing),
Germaine Greer places bets on Meghan ‘bolting’. Blimey! We also had Paul
Burrell – remember him? Of course you do, he’d never let you forget -  
informing us that this marriage was made in heaven and any other cliché he
could think of as an expert. Right. And Harry thanking god, oh oops, thanking
Meghan for her very existence. Oh Harry. Clue: looking a bit – hmm – sad or
pathetic rather than “I’ve been praying every day since I was born for you to
appear” sort of thing. Hmmm.

Oh Germaine, help us put here. Give us a time frame please. Before I forget,
GG thought MM would get bored - and bolt. So after achieving her ambitions,
which we all know about don’t we, she will be out and about searching for the
next ‘Mr Right’. Oh dear.

Oh right. What did Harry say then? "I am also incredibly grateful that the woman
I am about to marry, Meghan, will be joining me in this work, of which she too is
hugely excited to take part in." The Queen bestowed a new Commonwealth role
for Harry – oh and Meghan of course. ‘Cheers and whoops from the audience
when he mentioned his bride-to-be’. Whoops? Really? Whoops? This is
beginning to get a bit concerning and rather weird. “Move over Harry. Yer
blocking me from my like perfect camera shots. You should know like what they
are by like now. That’s like better.”

Remember. The separated-at-birth couple plan to ‘change the world’. Step back.
Harry now is saying “it is you who are going to change the world”. If you say so,
Harry. Can we have that £24 million back that we are spending on your wedding
then?

Spoiler alert: pay attention here. NO TENTS! There will be no tents allowed
anywhere near the wedding of the century. That wedding - of and for the (little)
people.  Presuming not within a 50mile radius. Assuming no sleeping bags either
or covertly hidden pillows and blankets, cardboard. So much for the homeless
then. Oh wait. They have been moved to Hull. And as those very special, hand-
picked well-wishers will all have to give up alcohol and carbs and begin
exhausting extensive minute to minute exercises just like MM to be permitted
outside the church. Examinations will be made.

And as for renting out rooms or sofas or front gardens by legitimate Windsor
residents? Airbnb’s website has £3,195 for the night for a two-bed property
somewhere or “located perfectly for the royal wedding. Really? There is hope for
those absurdly obsessed. Homes in the town are offering “luxury royal wedding
accommodation” for more than £2,000 a night. Offering free tiaras? You can
count on the fact that these prices have already increased. Counting the days –
ha.

Politically Incorrect

Supercilious scornful superior pompous patronising arrogant condescending
contemptuous haughty disdainful. Anyone you know? Clue: right-wing women
pontificating on television. No. seriously. Name one who isn’t. OK. Carole
Malone is just an idiot, but two who are particularly annoying…OK vile…no
holding back as they surely don’t, Isabel Oakeshott and Camilla Tominey.

They screech to the point where you might think, “Oh dear. I hope someone
knows CPR in the studio.” Hysterical and simultaneously truly cold-blooded.
They are so dismissive of other women it is excruciating to witness. They
constantly talk over, interrupt, roll their eyes, refuse to actually look at the other
woman expressing the left side of politics, they tut, sit often as if on a throne.
Incorporating mocking hand gestures. Witnessing Camilla’s sneering at Polly
Toynbee was just appalling. And, interestingly, they are inevitably wrong – in so
many ways – but in their command of the facts. Perhaps Loose Women would
be more appropriate. But to be honest, I’ve never subjected myself to it. Just
saying.
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