GARY BARLOW’S tax affairs have led to calls for his OBE to be withdrawn but, unsurprisingly, these were rejected by the Prime Minister. David Cameron said, of his friend and Conservative party donor, “I don’t think that is necessary, frankly. Gary Barlow has done a huge amount for the country, he’s raised money for charity, he has done very well for Children in Need. The OBE was in respect of that work and what he has done.” So, if we’ve got this right Dave, it’s fine for the country to honour people who try and avoid tax in an attempt to enrich themselves, as long as they’ve done a bit of work along the way to persuade other people to tip up the money necessary to pay for services that the state doesn’t, or can’t, supply because there’s not enough tax revenue for it to do so.
TO DENMARK, where a cartoon aimed at encouraging young people to vote in next week’s European elections has been withdrawn. Containing “all the diplomacy of a South Park episode” (The Guardian), ‘Voteman’ is “a muscular, leather-clad, aggressive ‘superhero’” (The Telegraph) who is filmed having sex with five naked women before disappointingly curtailing the orgy to head out and “encourage people to vote, interrupting couples having sex and smashing men and women through glass windows to get them to the voting booths”. Despite the film, a production of the EU’s own Information Centre, espousing a version of democracy and officialdom many people would readily associate with Brussels, not everyone saw it as representative. Anders Samuelsen, a Liberal Alliance party MP, said: “I can’t understand that you would use violence against women, porn, and the handout of I don’t know how many slaps as an argument for people to go and vote.” She’s clearly not followed UKIP’s election campaign.
ON TUESDAY the European Union Court of Justice decreed that “people had a right to be forgotten” after a Spaniard complained that Google searches linking to a 1998 auction notice of his repossessed home was an infringement of his privacy. UKIP’s manifesto has warned of Brussels making us all “suffer from the burden of EU laws and regulations” and this latest one has naturally led to fears of future Orwellian censorship, although officials point out that the ruling won’t apply to media organisations. But as ever that will be a matter of interpretation, just as with other existing UK legislation. As a Green Party member discovered this week when he was visited by Cambridgeshire police following a complaint about tweets he’d made highlighting a rival political party’s questionable policies. And just who was the irked plaintiff? A UKIP councillor!
THE announcement this week by the International Criminal Court that it is investigating British troops’ alleged war crimes in Iraq led to much disbelief at such impertinence. “The government completely rejects the allegation that there was systematic abuse carried out by the British armed forces in Iraq,” insisted Dominic Grieve, the attorney general. The Guardian reported: “British defence officials are confident that the ICC will not announce a formal investigation because the UK has the capacity to investigate the allegations itself.” In other UK news this week: a Bahraini citizen is seeking judicial review of the CPS’s granting of immunity to the King of Bahrain’s son, which is claimed to be “erroneous in law”, after he was accused of torturing prisoners in the 2011 pro-democracy uprisings; and the coalition government has granted temporary diplomatic immunity Tzipi Livni, Israel’s justice minister ahead of a visit to London despite alleged breaches of international law that include war crimes.
BORIS Johnson joined David Cameron on the campaign trail this week as speculation continues to increase that he will make a return to Parliament at next year’s General Election. The bumbling buffoon had already ensured he was in the news and the subject of widespread ridicule after his comparison of the BBC’s treatment of Jeremey Clarkson and Boko Haram’s kidnapping of hundreds of girls in Nigeria. “In our own modest way, we live in a Boko Haram world,” Bojo claimed, seemingly on account of the fact that Clarkson can’t refer to black people as he likes. Though isn’t it actually Boko Haram who live in a Jeremy Clarkson world, swanning about the place doing whatever they like and not feeling they have to answer to anyone? Over to you Boris.