I am never sure what I think about tax havens. On the one hand, there is something terribly depressing about places whose raison d’être is tax avoidance. On the other, what the EU calls ‘unfair tax competition’ is better described simply as ‘tax competition’. It would be a very bad thing if powerful nations could abolish competitive pressure to keep taxes down. Whatever one thinks of them, tax havens themselves have laws.
In the case of the Crown dependencies, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey, they are ancient entities, governed by the laws passed by their own parliaments, not by the House of Commons. As was also shown by the recent attempt to override Northern Ireland’s devolution in order to permit abortion there, there is a new, woke imperialism which disdains existing constitutional arrangements in the interests of higher virtue. This righteousness supposedly trumps the rights of Man (and Jersey and Guernsey). How dare the Commons interlope in this way? Man’s parliament, the Tynwald, is about 300 years older than ours.
This article is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator Notes, available in this week’s magazine.