The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog are not usually wont to do much of a weekend, save to summarise their previous week’s achievements on Saturday, and tell the world about the marvels awaiting readers of their increasingly piss-poor Sun column the following day. But the forthcoming General Election appears to have delivered some motivation to these usually weekday-only bloggers.
Fart in lift Inquiry bottoms out the issues
Actually, the motivation seems to have been to Staines alone: his styling of “Guido Fawkes” appears on a typically amateurish smear of Mil The Younger titled “Inheritance Tax Highlights Millionaire Miliband’s Hypocrisy” - perhaps he is not sitting on quite as big a pile of the old folding stuff as he would like, from the jealous tone - which is not unique in its inability to back up headline with substance.
Staines, it seems, was watching The Andy Marr Show (tm) this morning from his reassuringly exclusive residence in the Waterford area, and while he is not partisan at all, no sirree, he managed to miss the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, having a car crash of an interview over how the Tories would pay for their £8bn NHS promise, he did manage to latch on to another part of the show.
And that was a chat Marr had with Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman, where she calmly fielded the inevitable question about the Milibands and the Deed Of Variation, something which has caused Staines serious distress in the past. “This morning Harman was less than convincing on Marr about the Milibands’ own efforts to avoid the inheritance tax threshold” he declared. Why “less than convincing”? Er, don’t ask.
“Why would the Milibands - as Harman claims - pay expensive lawyers to produce a Deed of Variation to not avoid tax?” he demands. Yes, those lawyers are expensive, aren’t they, Paul? Expensive enough to make one think before launching oneself into legal actions that one might end up losing, indeed. But, as Clive James might have said, I digress.
Why? “Guido’s informed guess is that they entirely avoided paying inheritance tax at the time. Later Ed Miliband and David Miliband probably had to pay some lesser amount of capital gains tax when they realised their profits on the difference in the value they had inherited tax free and the price they received for their shares of what was the family home when it was eventually sold”. And, as Jon Stewart might have observed, two things here.
One, “informed guess” is meaningless. And two, the amount of capital gains tax the brothers paid would have depended on the property market at the time, and whether that was “lesser” is, again, something Staines can’t stand up. This story angle is being used by so few commentators as to be beyond insignificant. But it does have the advantage of taking a little of the heat off Osborne and his pathetic showing later.
So Peter Jukes looks to have been yet more prescient with his “disownable branch of Conservative HQ” line. But, Paul, nobody who matters is listening. Another fine mess.
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