I wrote this piece last year when the Guardian published its first story about the Panama Papers, but if you substitute the word ‘Paradise’ for ‘Panama’ it could just as easily apply to today’s Guardian splash about the use by the Queen’s private estate of an offshore tax shelter in the Cayman Islands. If anything, this takes the Guardian’s hypocrisy to new heights. After all, the Queen is not legally obliged to pay income tax – she is a voluntary tax payer – so this could not be described as tax avoidance by any conceivable definition of the term, whereas the Guardian Media Group is obliged to pay tax and therefore its use of an offshore tax shelter in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying any tax on the £302 million in profit it realised from the sale of Auto Trader in 2008 was straightforward tax avoidance.
Needless to say, today’s Guardian contains a tub-thumping editorial by its head of investigations that calls for ‘greater transparency’ about ‘the tapestry of schemes and networks’ that ‘many ordinary people find offensive and unfair’. This ‘transparency’ does not extend to the Guardian’s own tax arrangements. So tax-avoiding newspaper ‘exposes’ 91-year-old woman for financially benefitting from exactly the same tax arrangements that it uses and which all of its employees have benefitted from, including Jeremy Corbyn’s Communications Chief. Off with her head, eh comrades?