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Friday, 20 February 2009

How stupid do they think we are?

On Tuesday the nominally estranged husband of Tessa Jowell was found guilty by an Italian court of accepting a bribe from Silvio Berlusconi in return for making false statements in a tax evasion case involving Mr Berlusconi’s companies., He was also convicted of bringing a high Italian public office into disrepute. Because of the equally disreputable way that Italy is run, Mr Berluscomi managed to persuade the Italian parliament grant him immunity from prosecution in the Italian courts. Nevertheless, the courts found Mills guilty, and thus it must be presumed that Berlusconi is just as guilty for paying the bribe.

Jowell on the other hand appears not to have wondered why her husband was suddenly in receipt of around £400,000 from an unexpected source. After all, Mills was only paid £85,000 for his work for the Iranians, (how do I know? well that's my secret), so £400,000 must have seemed a lot and apparently with no tax to pay on it because it went straight to pay off a mortgage on a property.

Mills answered the tax question by saying that in fact the money was only a loan, despite the fact that nobody has been able to produce a loan agreement and the apparent lender does not seem to think that it is a loan at all.

One might also wonder whether Ms Jowell should have questioned the wisdom of refinancing a long term mortgage by an undocumented personal loan of uncertain duration, but apparently Mr Brown does not doubt her financial sagacity, because yesterday he gave Ms Jowell, his Olympics secretary, a resounding vote of confidence yesterday during a visit to Rome, saying Jowell was "doing a very good job and I have confidence in her ability to continue to do that job".

And who was standing next to Mr Brown as he made this statement. Mr Berlusconi, of course. Why was he there? Because they were jointly planning a G20 meeting to be held in London. And what is one of the major themes of this conference?

The need for concerted efforts to combat tax avoidance. Honestly. YCMIU.