Quentin Kelp MP - Greek Philosophy, Tax and Haemorrhoids

Written by tjmstroud

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Dear Constituents

I have had such a hectic week and am now well behind with my newsletters.

You might have thought I had already forgotten about you what with the summer recess and the sun shining but this is far from the truth. The sun will continue to shine ever brightly through my regular Newsletter.

I'm off to Greece in a week or so, on a fact-finding visit. It's also so that I can look back in years to come and say that I was in Athens on August 20th when Greece finally ran out of money altogether and went bankrupt.

That experience will then put me in a strong position to know how to deal with bankruptcy, running street battles and financing of the many soup kitchens that will spring up in UK if that other lot gain power at the next election.

Today's problems are all to do with people not paying their taxes you see, and the Greeks are experts on this subject. They have been working on clever accountancy procedures and tax evasion schemes since when Archimedes, Aristotle and Hippocrates sat around shrouded in their shaggy beards inventing arithmetic.

Archimedes spent far too long in the bath and Aristotle spent too long measuring the circumference of the earth. Hippocrates, being the medic, was the clever one in that he concerned himself with measuring the circumference of the anus.

Now you might well ask about the connection between Greek taxes and the anus but it was Hippocrates who introduced the first treatment for haemorrhoids. And what is the connection between tax and haemorrhoids?

Well Hippocrates' method for treating haemorrhoids involved burning and cauterisation. He was also the first to use the word excise - not as in "Customs and Excise" but as in the excising of piles. This effect is the same in that tax is also excised painfully from the reluctant. I learned all this from my friend Doctor Sinnick.

"Quent," he said, "Piles are like tax - painful, unpleasant, irritating, sore, and a pain in the arse. But once they are gone you can start smiling again."

This is why we still talk about piling on the agony and piles of tax forms.

Hippocrates recommended ligating piles, in other words strangling them. Once ligated, he often dried them out with a red hot poker. Hot pokers, as such, are not applicable to tax.

The playing of poker on the other hand offers real opportunities. If you lose or you win but can show you've actually lost you can offset these losses against tax. All it requires is some simple accountancy procedures which, of course, due to their long experience with mathematics the Greeks have perfected.

So being a pain in the arse like piles, the Greeks have long applied Hippocratic principles or hypocrisy as it is sometimes now called to reduce their tax liability or eliminate it altogether. Put simply, they cut taxes out because they are a pain in the butt.

So while Hippocrates focussed on the bottom line Aristotle looked at the creditors and debtors list. He said he could conceive of nothing more beautiful than the science of mathematics and the Greeks loved him for this. He loved rows and rows of ancient columns - whether in stone or numbers. This ancient but towering figure of logic, deep thinking, astronomy, maths and physics was the original architect of tax dodging.

Archimedes got out of his cold bath and ran out shouting "I've found it! Eureka."

Aristotle, on the other hand, stood up from his writing tablet and ran out shouting "I've found it! A loophole."

Archimedes has recently been blamed by the Greeks for using the word Eureka far too freely as this suggested he too pro-European and probably in the pocket of the Bundesbank.

But who taught Aristotle? Why Plato himself. Plato delighted in geometry but it is said that he, too, had a liking for sharp practice. Apparently he had a notice pinned on his office door that said "Let no-one enter who doesn't know a right angle from a U-turn."

But let us return from these ancient times to the here and now. All this valuable background on Greece was obtained for me by Anthea (my PA) so that I was fully briefed for when I go to Athens in a few weeks' time. In fact, I have already put some ideas to good use and am on the look-out for sharp practice and immoral activities related to tax.

"Let there be no more immoral behaviour, Anthea," I said, "Well, on the tax front, at least."

But this grossly immoral behaviour even extends to my part-time chauffeur, Charles. Even he asks for cash when he's finished a job and I now know it's just to avoid tax. It's no longer just the Greeks. Tax avoidance has come to Krupton.

But as a highly respected politician I cannot risk my hard earned reputation by appearing to be party to devious tax dodging schemes.

So, as from today, I will be asking Charles to go back home after he has dropped me off at the Red Lion. He must then sit and type out a proper VAT invoice on headed paper and post it to me with a first class stamp. He'll just have to find a way to finance the delay between when I decide to open his envelope, write a cheque for £25, post it back and the bank clears it.

And I won't be accepting any dodgy arguments that his costs have suddenly risen astronomically due to bureaucracy. In these days of austerity, belts need to be tightened and efficiencies must be shown - even by Charles.

So with the world full of immoral people all trying to get away with not paying their due tax, I have asked Anthea to look into those multinationals with offices in Luxemburg and the Cayman Islands.

Unlike small time tax dodgers and crooks like Charles, these highly efficient organisations are forced to account for every penny of profit they make. And all this before they can lend any money back to their subsidiaries at low interest rates. It is just not fair. There is one rule for the big, rich and organised and another for the small, poor and disorganised.

I'm now going to book my air ticket ready for my fact finding visit to Athens. I'll get Anthea to do it as she has a friend who works in the travel agents.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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