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Thursday 16 April 2015

Telegraph Axelrod Desperation

The struggle of the right-leaning press to land blows on Mil The Younger and, indeed, anyone else leading the Labour Party’s challenge, has reached new depths, and it is the increasingly news-free Telegraph that today is plumbing them: the paper has made the miraculous discovery - so miraculous that everyone else has known for several months now - that Labour is using David Axelrod’s services.
But here a problem enters: the Tel is not privy to the internal workings of the party, and nor are Miliband and his team about to make them so. So there has to be a suitable amount of creativity employed, which in the case of today’s article revolves around calling Axelrod “invisible”. The Tel even claims to have a statement from “One Labour MP”, which would be difficult to stand up, as Parliament has been dissolved.

So far, so much bad journalism, but then the Tel tries to use Axelrod as a counter to last week’s Labour announcement on “non doms”, in order to suggest that the party’s position is hypocritical. “Ed Miliband's most senior adviser pays no tax on his reported £300,000 earnings in Britain, The Telegraph has learned … David Axelrod, a former adviser to Barack Obama, admitted that he is not resident for tax purposes in the UK”.

Er, hello Telegraph people, of course he’s not resident for tax purposes in the UK, he’s a US citizen and resident, and that money is consultancy fees, not his personal earnings. Axelrod is not comparable to a “non dom”, he is “non resident”. What Labour is doing is buying services from his company. Let me give an example here.

If I were to buy a product of a United States company - oh, I dunno, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, for instance - or services, like perhaps travel with a Stateside air carrier, whether that company paid tax in the UK, or had any of its employees doing so, would be totally immaterial. That is what Labour is doing - it’s buying a product, which may or may not require David Axelrod’s involvement. And that is why this story has scraped through the barrel and reached Fred Flintstone territory (ie Bedrock).

Can it get any more lame? You betcha, says Sarah: “While it is unclear how much tax Mr Axelrod will pay in the US, the rates of tax for companies are often significantly lower than for individuals”. If we’re talking about Axelrod’s personal tax bill, this statement is totally intercoursing irrelevant. It’s just another amateurish smear attempt. It’s so bad, in fact, that its co-author appears to have disowned it.

Raf Sanchez, the Tel’s Washington DC man, has not so much as mentioned the piece on his Twitter feed. And what Axelrod told the Tel about the Miliband “stab in the back” meme should be borne in mind by the paper: “If the other party is making reference to that kind of stuff they can't be terribly confident. To me it's a sign of weakness. If that's their best offering to the British people they ought to be thinking about what they do next”. Quite.

If this is the Tel’s best shot, they have to ask themselves if they are for real. Or maybe not.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

From the Guardian
Labour has responded to the Telegraph’s attack on the party’s election guru David Axelrod, who the paper says pays no tax on his “reported £300,000 earnings” in Britain.

However, Labour has said Axelrod, who founded AKPD Media, pays no tax in the UK because he does not live or work here. A party spokesman told the Press Association:

David Axelrod lives in the US, works in the US and pays tax in the US. We pay AKPD Media in the US in US dollars. There is no tax due in the UK.