A bet goes horribly awry, Dave Cameron sticks his oar in where it isn’t needed and Silvio Berlusconi runs for election even though he should technically be in prison – it can only be this week’s WTF?!
The George Osborne School of Economics
Anyone who follows the life and times of George Osborne will know that things rarely work out the way they should and this was again the case when the collective giants of Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three decided they quite wanted 4G but would only be willing to pay £2.34 billion for the privilege. George reckoned it was worth at least £3.5billion; so convinced was he, in fact, that he included it in his budget forecast as an illustration that everything would be absolutely fine economy-wise. Oh dear…
Either way, the Treasury now has to find a billion pounds from somewhere. Down the back of the sofa? A lottery win? A night down the casino? They could decide to chase up all those tax-dodging corporations and millionaires, except, well…
Tax Evaders – They Aren’t Who You Think They Are
This week, HMRC took the brave step of naming and shaming the ‘tax dodgers’ who are contributing to the rapid decline of our economy. Red Molotov were practically rubbing their hands with glee – which big name could we skewer this week with our endless satirical wit?
What about corporate giants, erm, The Trade Beverage Company Ltd from Mobberly in Cheshire? Or widely-renowned knitwear manufacturers Unlimited Knits of Nottingham? Who could conceal their shock that Joseph Tyrell, a hairdresser from Liverpool, hadn’t been contributing to the public purse?
It’s fair to say that HMRC’s first ‘name and shame’ list of tax evaders, introduced due to the public outcry over the kind of legal tax avoidance practiced by Starbucks, Amazon and comedian Jimmy Carr, was a tad underwhelming. Far from exposing the unscrupulous practices of big business and giving us a wealth of material to work with, the list mainly brought ‘shame’ down upon small businesses and individuals.
So much shame, in fact, that some of the people, such as Chaman Lhal of Gatemain Contractors, named weren’t even aware they appeared on the list. We can only presume they blocked out the shame mentally as it was too much to bear.
So what is the HMRC list really about? Appeasing the baying masses with morsels of ‘tax justice’ every now and again? Proving that ‘hey, it isn’t just the big guys’? Or was it a way of letting the aforementioned big guys off the hook by making the occasional public display of tax evader hunting?
Whatever the case, we hope that future editions of HMRC’s name and shame gossip rag features some more high-profile names – partly to show them that they can’t do what they want and partly because it gives us far more material to work with.
In Defence of Kate
A confession; we aren’t the biggest fans of the monarchy here at Red Molotov. We don’t really like to talk about it…
Apart from that t-shirt…
Alright, so we’ve got quite a few anti-royalist t-shirts in stock. But that still didn’t stop us trembling with outrage when we learned that the usually insightful author Hilary Mantel called the princess of our hearts (no, not that one…) Kate Middleton ‘plastic’ in a speech at the London Review of Books, as reported here with righteous fury by the Daily Mail (no link unfortunately, as they get enough attention already).
We shed a tear when we read Mantel described Kate thusly, “…her eyes are dead and she wears a strained smile”, until we read the first half of that sentence: “But in her first official portrait by Paul Emsley, unveiled in January…”
Oh right. But there was still plenty more to get outraged about…
“Kate seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character.”
Without quirks? Without oddities?! Some might interpret this as an attack on the creepy approach of the Royal Family of approving young women to ‘breed’ (has there ever been a more appropriate use of the word?) with them, but not us. Without quirks? Without oddities? Sounds pretty vicious we think.
As it did to David Cameron who, rather than avoiding giving an opinion on something he admitted he hadn’t read, instead took the ‘internet commenter’ route, calling Mantel’s comments ‘misguided’ and banding with the outraged crowd so more people will like him. A Prime Minister who can’t even take the time to think before he speaks? Whatever next…
Silvio Berlusconi’s Totally Legit Election Campaign
Silvio Berlusconi, he of bunga-bunga parties and tax evasion fame, is once again running for the presidency of Italy, despite the fact he should technically be in jail. Of course, Ol’ Silvio, who is increasingly resembling a plastic-skinned android version of himself, has learnt his lesson from his prison sentence-that-never-was and is running a completely above board campaign based on his credentials and political ideas and definitely not based on using his vast wealth to organise mail-outs to voters promising to give them back taxes even though Italy is in big financial doo-doo. Hang on…
‘Red Molotov’ – Pluto’s Fifth Moon?
We love science here at Red Molotov, particularly space and physics – that’s why we’ve got a whole range of awesome science t-shirts. We love science so much that – when we’re not putting together satirical tales of the world’s elite – we often dream of having our own planet, a planet we can drift off to and forget all about the daily nonsense on this rock we call Earth.
While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get our own planet, there’s nothing stopping us from naming one of Pluto’s moons ‘Red Molotov’ after the kind folks at PlutoRocks.com decided to let us mere mortals name some of Pluto’s recently discovered moons. Well, there is – you can only suggest names to be added to a list presumably so egocentrics such as ourselves and Silvio Berlusconi can’t name a moon after ourselves. You can, however, pay homage to Star Trek and vote to call one of the moons ‘Vulcan’, as many Trekkies have been doing this week. Dr. Leonard McCoy would be proud.
If any of the issues in this week’s WTF have affected you in any way, please feel free to get in touch with our wholly sympathetic team on Twitter or Facebook. Alternatively, lift the gloom of the week by splashing out on a funny t-shirt, guaranteed to raise a smile every time your head drops thanks to another slice of depressing news. It’s psychologically proven to work!*
* By us, not trained psychologists