Re: Stop taxing profits
You can make Google obliged to report any profits relating to the UK. They sell advertising both globally, and specific to the UK market. Now you might not be able to capture tax on the global stuff, but anything advertised specifically to UK customers is relatively easy to demonstrate.
There's huge room for fights here. There will never be a perfect tax system that doesn't over-burden companies with regulation or tax, or let them take the piss. But we're currently at the extreme piss-taking swing of the public policy spectrum, and so naturally (as these things do) there's a reaction against that. We'll probably start moving too far back the other way.
This is another facet of globalisation. It's had many positive benefits, but also some costs. Society reacts slowly to change, and so we're still only scratching the surface of what we need to do about it. But big companies are really taking the piss on tax, they know it, everyone else knows it. They're rubbing everyone's faces in it, and maybe their executives are stupid enough to think they can get away with it forever. But times have changed, public mood has changed, and governments in the West are in desperate need of more tax revenue. Like banking, the sector as a whole needs to start behaving more reasonably, and in a manner that is sustainable in terms of long-term public opinion. Or the chances are they'll get regulated to buggery.
Populism (of right and left) is on the march in politics. Especially in Europe. That's changed the political landscape. A lot of things that have pretty much been settled for the last few decades may change dramatically. Or not. Economics is changing too. China's rise is looking likely to slow, because you can't bankrupt your customers without eventually screwing yourself too. This is a lesson that huge trade-surplus economies like China and Germany are going to learn painfully over the next few years - along with certain multi-nationals who rely on mixed market Western economies for their survival but don't want to pay the taxes that make them work.