back to article Stiff upper lip time, Brits: After bullying France to drop its digital tax on Silicon Valley, Trump's coming for you next

French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed his country will suspend its plan to slap a digital tax on tech giants after threats from US president Donald Trump to impose trade tariffs. Macron indicated in a tweet earlier this week he was considering hitting pause on the techno-levies, saying he had had a “great discussion …

  1. LDS Silver badge

    He's threatening Italy as well

    He's trying to apply the old "divide et impera" - and EU would be wise to adopt a single stance - even if small countries who take advantage of the actual tax holes will try to avoid it - and it's also time to stop this kind of internal tax havens. EU should apply tariffs and regulations that hit Wall Street hard - and stop to buy US "goods" like the F-35.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: He's threatening Italy as well

      Definitely - one person always has a problem standing up to the school bully. An EU-wide measure would be far more effective and harder to attack, the discussions necessary to create it would probably make it stronger too.

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: He's threatening Italy as well

        > school bully

        Trumpkinson's Schooldays

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: He's threatening Italy as well

          Boris is the boy East who will fearlessly stand up to the flash git.

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: He's threatening Italy as well

          I discovered when I was 13 that if you belt a bully on the nose, he will usually leave you alone ater that.

          Of course in this case may have a hellfire missile to contend with but you pays yer money and takes yer chances.

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: He's threatening Italy as well

            So to read between the lines... put Trump and Bojo in the middle of the desert with a hellfire apiece and let nature take its course...? Sounds like a plan with no drawbacks.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: He's threatening Italy as well

              Alas, for the US, Mike Pence is a drawback.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: He's threatening Italy as well

            if you belt a bully on the nose, he will usually leave you alone ater that

            Or, in my case, having an older brother who, on discovering that I was being bullied[1], had a quiet chat with said bully (during which said bully lost two front teeth) which resulted in me being left alone by all the bullies[2].

            He had to apologise in school assembly but let it quietly be known that he would be happy to have similar discussions with anyone else that bullied me..

            [1] The only one of my 3 older brothers that actually cared.. He's still the only one I actually talk to on a regular basis.

            [2] Being (at that time) a small skinny kid with glasses that was actually interested in learning made me a natural target. The fact that I didn't kowtow to the bullies didn't exactly help.

      2. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: He's threatening Italy as well

        "An EU-wide measure would be far more effective"

        Remind me again why we're no longer in the EU? Oh yes, it's because standing alone we can make better deals with the USA...

        1. noboard

          Re: He's threatening Italy as well

          as opposed to being in the EU who failed to reach an agreement when they tried.

          Not sure what your point is.

          1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

            Re: He's threatening Italy as well

            The point is that a one small guy can be bullied by a large one, but a large group is less likely to be.

            The EU failed to reach an agreement, but didn't have to agree to anything they didn't like. We may get an agreement, but we will probably have to agree to many terms we do not like to do so in a reasonable time, and we will do so because we (or at least our govt) will be desperate to get that agreement.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: He's threatening Italy as well

              @Dr. Mouse

              "The EU failed to reach an agreement, but didn't have to agree to anything they didn't like"

              Why would we?

              "but we will probably have to agree to many terms we do not like to do so in a reasonable time"

              Why?

              "and we will do so because we (or at least our govt) will be desperate to get that agreement."

              Why?

              1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                Why? Why? Why?

                Because the government knows we'll be fucked post-brexit if we don't get that deal, so will commit to anything to have it.

                Of course we'll be fucked in other ways once we have it.

                Welcome to brexit.

                1. RegGuy1
                  Happy

                  Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                  I want out of Brexit.

                  Can we go back in? Schengen's not so bad, and those Euro coins are awfully nice...

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                    @RegGuy1

                    "I want out of Brexit.

                    Can we go back in? Schengen's not so bad, and those Euro coins are awfully nice..."

                    Actually yes you can. You can move to one of the member countries and they even have those coins.

                    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

                      Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                      So why didn't those who wanted out leave? There are even more countries outside the EU than inside.

                      There's a simple answer. I want to live in the UK, but I want the UK to be a member of the EU. This is no different to those before the referendum who wanted to live in the UK but didn't want the UK to be a member of the EU.

                      Quite frankly, this is the most annoying comment a lever can give. It's hypocritical in most cases, as the vast majority of leavers could have left the UK to live in a non EU country but chose not to, and mainly for the reasons above. Or also assumes that the reason is that the remainer loves the EU, whereas normally it's just a matter of not wanting our country to harm itself, which we believe leaving the EU will do. This is way more irritating a response than the usual ignorant-but-sincere "the EU force us to do xyz" when xyz had nothing to do with the EU, because it doesn't require knowledge to work out the answer, just a tiny amount of thought about their own position before the referendum. A tiny amount of empathy based on their own experiences.

                      So no, I won't just go to live in another EU country (even though, through second citizenship of another EU country, I'm one of the lucky few who could relatively easily). I'll continue to live in the UK, continue to try to do what I think best for my country. If everything goes well with Brexit, I'll acknowledge my mistake. If things go badly, as I expect they will, I'll continue pushing for us to be members of the EU (and don't be surprised if I say "I told you so")

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                        @Dr. Mouse

                        "So why didn't those who wanted out leave?"

                        Dont you remainers like to pipe on about freedom of movement and right to live in the EU? Even more important and you might have missed it RegGuy1 also wanted the Euro. Something we were smart enough not to take on in the UK.

                        "I want to live in the UK, but I want the UK to be a member of the EU"

                        And a sports car and a golden toilet and a unicorn. However the democratic result is leave. So why do you matter more than everyone else?

                        "Or also assumes that the reason is that the remainer loves the EU, whereas normally it's just a matter of not wanting our country to harm itself, which we believe leaving the EU will do"

                        Isnt it a bit arrogant to think you dont want harm to the country but the majority of the people do? Leavers dont want this country harmed and feel it is being harmed by the EU.

                        "I'll continue to live in the UK, continue to try to do what I think best for my country."

                        Good. I am sure you expect that of the rest of us even if we had voted to remain. And if someone feels so strongly that they wish to be in an EU country with Schengen and the currency then that isnt here anyway.

                        "If everything goes well with Brexit, I'll acknowledge my mistake."

                        Maybe but I expect this will be the same as the Euro argument. The Eurosceptics were right, and there are so few people who admit to supporting the Euro.

                        "If things go badly, as I expect they will, I'll continue pushing for us to be members of the EU (and don't be surprised if I say "I told you so")"

                        Thats understandable. Thats why I like to point out I am a Eurosceptic because I was right against the same opposition as now. And if the UK cant even get a simple majority support to remain why would we vote to rejoin without the opt outs of the political project?

                        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

                          Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                          You've misinterpretted what I said. I suspect on purpose.

                          "the democratic result is leave. So why do you matter more than everyone else?"

                          I am not saying that I do. I'm saying what I wanted: To live in the UK, with the UK a member of the EU. I don't want to just live in an EU member state. I didn't say that my wishes were more important, just explaining what they were to demonstrate that they are not fulfilled by me moving to an EU state.

                          "Isnt it a bit arrogant to think you dont want harm to the country but the majority of the people do?"

                          Again, not what I said nor what I intended to say. I am sure that no one wants to damage the country. I believe that Brexit will damage it, so do not want to do it. This does not mean I think those who want Brexit do want to damage it, they just don't believe Brexit will damage it.

                          "if someone feels so strongly that they wish to be in an EU country with Schengen and the currency then that isnt here anyway"

                          But, if they want to live in the UK, and that be an EU country with Schengen and the Euro, they are perfectly at liberty to say so and to campaign and work towards making that happen. Just as those who wanted out of the EU were entitled to campaign to leave, and those who want to rejoin and entitle to campaign to do so. It's a core part of democracy.

                          "if the UK cant even get a simple majority support to remain why would we vote to rejoin"

                          I believe that there will be enough negative consequences of leaving, and that many of the purported benefits will fail to appear. Because of this, I believe there is a reasonable chance that there will be a shift in favour of being in the EU within a few years of leaving, and it would only take a small shift for the majority to be in favour of being inside. Even with having to adopt the Euro/Schengen etc, if Brexit goes badly enough I can still see it happening. I hope it doesn't, I hope it goes well and I have to admit that I was wrong, but even the most ardent Brexiteer should be able to see there is a risk of all sorts of negative consequences.

                          1. codejunky Silver badge

                            Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                            @Dr. Mouse

                            "I am not saying that I do. I'm saying what I wanted: To live in the UK, with the UK a member of the EU."

                            Ok but I was responding to RegGuy1 who wanted more Europe than the UK was involved with anyway. So moving would meet his desires unless the UK is more desirable than an EU member country for other reasons. As it also seems with you that the UK is more desirable even out of the EU than going to a member country.

                            "But, if they want to live in the UK, and that be an EU country with Schengen and the Euro, they are perfectly at liberty to say so and to campaign and work towards making that happen."

                            Thay did. There was a referendum and everything. And then there was 2 GE and the MEP election which repeated the democratic result of the UK to leave the EU. Hell once we leave they can campaign to rejoin. That would be acceptable behaviour. That is not the behaviour we have had to tolerate at all.

                            "I hope it doesn't, I hope it goes well and I have to admit that I was wrong, but even the most ardent Brexiteer should be able to see there is a risk of all sorts of negative consequences."

                            There are risks to remaining or leaving. We will have to see how it turns out. I do think the UK will require some seriously bad management to be in as dire a state as the EU proper. I say that considering it was seriously bad management which put the EU proper in such a dire state.

                      2. LucreLout Silver badge

                        Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                        There's a simple answer. I want to live in the UK, but I want the UK to be a member of the EU.

                        Sorry, but those days end forever on Friday.

                        in most cases, as the vast majority of leavers could have left the UK to live in a non EU country but chose not to

                        Totally different thing. they didn't have the right to live in a non-EU country. They could have requested to live in one of their choice, but they didn't have any rights to it. You did, and you still do all week. If the EU is so great, then go and live in it. If it's actually more important to you to live in the UK, even once outside the EU, well, then just do nothing but don't complain that you didn't have options.

                        The whole of Europe now has an option to live in a non-EU country by right - they should simply move here by Friday. That could be considered a perfectly reasonable position to take in the rEU starting next week, and one I expect will be used in borderline member states such as Denmark, Italy etc.

                        A tiny amount of empathy based on their own experiences.

                        Its not a lack of empathy, its that Leavers patience has been exhausted. Leavers won the debate, then they won the referendum, then they had to win two general elections and then they still had to win the debate in parliament. We've had to win 5 times - how many times do you think remain would have had to win? One time and you know it.

                        In or out of the EU is a binary thing - they insist that it be so. Once the vote became leave, Leavers offered remainers a compromise that would have achieved more of what remainers wanted than what Leavers wanted, and it was rejected angrily by remain. Boris deal is the only compromise now open to us - close trading ties and on going friendship.

                        If things go badly, as I expect they will, I'll continue pushing for us to be members of the EU

                        There's no in-again referendum coming. No political party is going to offer you that option for decades - you had chance to cancel Brexit at the election but most of you voted for marxism instead of the libdems. That debate is settled now, and for all time: The Overton window has moved well away from here.

                        The EU as you perceive it now will not exist in 10 - 20 years time. The cracks are already widening to breaking point, and once other nations see us doing well, better even than they are, then the clamor to leave will grow elsewhere. Best case for you is the EU reforms to be much much less than it is now, worst case, it simply implodes. There is no future in which it endures on the trajectory of 2016 - ever closer union is dead in the water.

                        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

                          Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                          "Sorry, but those days end forever on Friday."

                          Forever is a long time. Nothing done prevents us from ever rejoining.

                          "they didn't have the right to live in a non-EU country"

                          They still had the option to leave. It's still hypocritical to say "if you want to remain, go live in an EU country" if you didn't leave pre-ref.

                          "There's no in-again referendum coming. No political party is going to offer you that option for decades"

                          If things go reasonably well, I agree. If they go badly, we could well be having a rejoin referendum within the next decade.

                          "The EU as you perceive it now will not exist in 10 - 20 years time"

                          The world as we perceive it now will not exist in 10-20 years time. Things change.

                          "The cracks are already widening to breaking point"

                          Eurosceptics have been saying this for decades...

                          "once other nations see us doing well, better even than they are, then the clamor to leave will grow elsewhere"

                          If we do well, some may. I hope you are right that we will, and there is a chance of that. However, you should be able to admit that there's a chance Brexit won't work out well for us, and I doubt there will be a "clamor [sic] to leave" if that happens, or even if we struggle but get by: We will have to be doing demonstrably and significantly better than it's thought we would have inside the EU for it to be seen as enough of a positive result for other countries to "follow".

                          "There is no future in which it endures on the trajectory of 2016 - ever closer union is dead in the water"

                          That's not a bad thing. I'm no fan of the EU, just believe we would be better off in than out. It would be much better if reformed in some aspects.

                  2. LucreLout Silver badge

                    Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                    Can we go back in? Schengen's not so bad, and those Euro coins are awfully nice..

                    Sure, you've the whole rest of the working week to move to France - there you may enjoy European Socialism at its finest. If that's not what you actually want, well......

                2. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                  @Jason Bloomberg

                  "Why? Why? Why?

                  Because the government knows we'll be fucked post-brexit if we don't get that deal, so will commit to anything to have it."

                  Sorry but that doesnt answer the question. You claim we will be fucked if we dont get the deal.. again why? I am seriously asking because people seem to approach this from the EU's perspective of requiring a deal. But by leaving we dont need to be protectionist for 27 countries nor require high tariffs and strict quota's so why the desperation for the trade deal?

                  I am not saying trade deals aint good, but the sheer desperation from remainers about them seems excessive. And I do think I know why as the EU requires such trade deals to survive and that is the environment you are used to.

                  1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

                    Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                    We will need trade deals because we won't have any, and the global system is heavily weighted in favour of trade deals. We will need one with the EU, particularly, because it contains all of our closest trading partners. We (businesses in the UK) cannot instantly set up new supply lines and attract new customers. Having to trade as a third country with the EU will do immediate damage to a large number of businesses in the UK.

                    AFAIK, there are no countries operating with no international trade deals. There was one, tiny nation, but they recently struck a deal. There are certainly no first world countries operating without.

                    I know we are currently taking of trade deals with other countries. However, none of these will be able to instantly replace being part of the single market, let alone all the ones we already have as part of the EU. Even if they eventually bring us the same value as the single market, the short term damage is likely to send businesses to the wall.

                    Also, although we are talking of deals, none can be signed until after we leave the CU. Once we do that, we are instantly without any deals, which puts us in a weaker position. I don't doubt that there are countries out there which will take advantage of this weakness and demand further concessions beyond what has already been discussed. We won't have to agree to them, of course, but... Only country without a trade deal in a global economy designed for trade deals...

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                      @Dr. Mouse

                      "We will need trade deals because we won't have any"

                      Thats wrong so you can be happy about that. There are trade deals which will be transferred over.

                      "and the global system is heavily weighted in favour of trade deals."

                      It used to be. Before globalisation. Back when trade blocks were far more important. An era passed but one that the EU was designed upon.

                      "We will need one with the EU"

                      Why? People keep saying this shit but never answer the question. Why? You are responding to my comment where I am asking why. Why?

                      "because it contains all of our closest trading partners"

                      Economically or as the crow flies? That does make a difference.

                      "Having to trade as a third country with the EU will do immediate damage to a large number of businesses in the UK."

                      That is somewhat true. By putting up walls (being in the EU) trade has been shifted to be EU biased. But the damage from EU protectionism isnt worth it so lets go global. So yes if you require EU protectionism for a viable business then you may need to adapt.

                      "AFAIK, there are no countries operating with no international trade deals."

                      And we wont be either so this 'concern' is irrelevant.

                      "Even if they eventually bring us the same value as the single market, the short term damage is likely to send businesses to the wall."

                      A recession causes short term damage. Interestingly if you allow the poor performing businesses to be cleared away the resources go to making a stronger economy. Failing to deal with the issue causes economic damage. Interestingly the US and UK reacted to the recession and bounced out, the EU proper is struggling badly.

                      "Also, although we are talking of deals, none can be signed until after we leave the CU. Once we do that, we are instantly without any deals,"

                      The smell of bull is bad. We leave the EU and the next minute sign the deals, there is nothing to stop that nor any reason not to do that.

                      So most of your concerns have been addressed and you should feel happier now you have less to worry about.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's threatening Italy as well

      >He's trying to apply the old "divide et impera" - and EU would be wise to adopt a single stance - even if small countries who take advantage of the actual tax holes will try to avoid it

      About that, wasn't it former commission president Jean Claude Junker who was PM and finance minister of one of those little countries at the time those tax dodging deals were made ?

      https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/04/amazon-eu-tax-irish-government-apple

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: He's threatening Italy as well

        People like Junker were part of the problem, sure. At least, now he's gone. Still, the main issue are Ireland, Luxembourg and Netherlands - all of them small countries without the issues and costs (welfare, immigration, etc.) of the largest ones and determined to take advantage of tax loopholes.

        I would probably start by cutting EU funds to those countries, because evidently they are rich enough they not only don't need them, but should pay more. Think the very rich Luxembourg gets a lot more money than it pays - poor Juncker! Ireland pays a little more, Netherlands is just behind Italy as a net contributor (and per capita pays more - Luxembourg gets more than all other EU states).

        Still Netherlands is a budget/deficit hawk when it comes to other states, but likes to help companies not to pay taxes in the very same states - they have to decide what they want - it can't be only the small citizen and companies to sustain all the tax burden of larger states.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: He's threatening Italy as well

          small countries without the issues and costs (welfare, immigration, etc.)

          You've obviously never been to the Netherlands - they have a similar history with immigration to us (and for similar reasons). And their welfare system is considerably better than ours - especially now.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: He's threatening Italy as well

            Germany has 80M people. France and Italy, 60M. Netherlands 17M, Ireland 6.5M, Luxembourg 0.6M - all together they don't reach half the population of one of the largest. It's very different.

            The largest countries are often not homogeneous. Germany has the ex-East Germany issue, Italy has the South issue. France has its troubles as well. And evidently big changes in the economy, especially manufacturing - hit the hardest the largest manufacturing countries. Not surprisingly, some of those issues triggered Brexit.

            It's clear that those issues can't be solved just by getting and spending more taxes, but as a not so small share of profits "disappear" it does put a lot of pressure especially when the economy is not in good shape, and it does put more pressure on companies and citizens that can't avoid taxes that easily.

            Sure, if you could for example take the North regions of Italy - if they were a separate state of about 30M people they would be probably rich enough to lower taxes at Irish levels. The rest would be a Greek tragedy the EU would need to pay for.

            Immigration, moreover, is not all the same, as it covers a lot of different origins. For example, it's very different to have, say, people from West or East Europe, or Middle East, or Far East, or people from Africa - both in the education/skills of immigrants, and the integration issues.

            Plus there is the difference in the size of the country - with all the related issues in delivering services across a larger country.

            Netherlands is country that does work, but it should be very careful that it does work also because is in a EU which has some larger countries that put their weight in the world stage, and which are a far larger market for its products. If those countries enter a turmoil, Netherlands too will discover it will be hit too.

            1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: He's threatening Italy as well

              Interesting fact:

              The USA is the third largest country by population. If the USA was to increase its population by 1 Billion, it would still be third.

              1. Someone Else Silver badge
                Stop

                Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                The USA is the third largest country by population. If the USA was to increase its population by 1 Billion, it would still be third.

                I do hope you're not advocating for that. Using current demographics as a guide, some 400-million more morons nicknamed "Skeeter" would be a bitter pill for not just the current Left-Ponders, but for the whole world to swallow.

              2. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                Because the only two countries with MORE people are India (1.5B) and China (nearly 2B). The top two alone house nearly half the human population. But I don't know if their social systems are anything to write home about.

                1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
                  Headmaster

                  Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                  USA? Social Systems?

                  1. Jaybus

                    Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                    Since you asked, yes. 23rd in public expenditures as a percentage of GDP and third in net (public + private) social expenditures as a percentage of GDP. https://www.oecd.org/social/soc/OECD2019-Social-Expenditure-Update.pdf

                  2. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                    Point being, can any country housing more than a quarter billion people have any practical chance of having a proper social system capable of handling populations that large (India, China) and/or that diverse (the US)? It's difficult to cite any other country as an example as they're nothing like those top three: fewer people generally in a smaller area (the US IINM ALSO happens to be third in terms of land area--behind Canada and Russia; China is right behind the US).

            2. myhandler

              Re: He's threatening Italy as well

              Which rather highlights the problem of having the one size fits all economic policy, as dictated by single currency Euro. I'm a remainer but the problems aren't going to go away anytime soon.

              1. Len
                Holmes

                Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                The Eurozone does not have a one size fits all economic policy, you're thinking of monetary policy. And monetary policy is only a fairly small component of an economy.

                Granted, politicians all across Europe, North America and parts of Asia have been expecting central banks to use monetary policy to try and solve problems they themselves did not want to touch. Obviously with limited effect as monetary policy is only a very small lever in the economy.

              2. LDS Silver badge

                Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                Euro doesn't require a "one size fits all" policy - and you see different ones applied. It has just some specific boundaries to avoid a rogue country could put the other ones in troubles - like Greece had attempted cooking the books, thinking someone else would have paid its debt.

                No one was ever forced to join the Euro, and the rules were known beforehand.

                UK stayed outside. Denmark is outside, Sweden is outside. After all even the fifty US states have a single currency - and obviously the policies that are good for California may not be good for Mississippi.

                Ironically, Irish backs were bailed out by EFSF because of the Euro.

                1. veti Silver badge

                  Re: He's threatening Italy as well

                  No, the rules were published beforehand, but it was also conveyed that those rules would never be applied. (If they had been, then Italy could never have joined, and the whole thing would have been pointless.) The actual rules were, and still are, either a closely guarded secret, or being made up as they go along.

            3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

              Re: He's threatening Italy as well

              > Germany has the ex-East Germany issue

              What ex-East Germany issue would that be then? It certainly isn't economic.

              https://www.dw.com/en/cep-study-germany-gains-most-from-euro-introduction/a-47675856

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He's threatening Italy as well

          "Still, the main issue are Ireland, Luxembourg and Netherlands - all of them small countries without the issues and costs (welfare, immigration, etc.) of the largest ones and determined to take advantage of tax loopholes."

          If you take away the tax loopholes in Ireland and Luxembourg do they remain net contributors to the EU or does the EU start subsidising them to make up for the losses?

          And do businesses relocate from Netherlands/Ireland/Luxembourg if there is no longer a financial incentive to be there?

          The trouble with destroying snakes nests is that the snakes often just move elsewhere....

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: He's threatening Italy as well

            There is a difference between tax loopholes/secret deals, and low tax rates. The problem of Ireland, Luxembourg and Netherlands is not they have low tax rates it's they help companies to make profits disappear without even paying the low local tax rates - using complex tax engineering and shell companies.

            Remember the 13 *billions* EU told Ireland it should collect at its actual tax rates?

            Of course this tax engineering enriches the local professionals able to orchestrate it, and the politicians sustaining it.

            So, once again, closing the tax loopholes will let them still encourage companies to establish their HQ there without secret deals - and where would they go in EU, otherwise? Paying the higher tax rates elsewhere?

            Probably countries like Ireland would need to pay more and get less from EU, but because it will have far more billions in tax revenues. Luxembourg will stop to take far more than it pays from EU - it is not a net contributor, it gets more money per capita than any other EU country. Netherlands should be happy countries like Italy will have more money to reduce its debt - as it keeps on asking.

            1. Len

              Re: He's threatening Italy as well

              I don't know enough about Irish and only very little about Luxembourg tax policy but I understand the Dutch situation better. I had to as we moved our HQ to Amsterdam to escape Brexit.

              What's happened in The Netherlands, in a nutshell, is that at one point a decade or two ago they dropped taxation on royalties from Intellectual Property as a measure to stimulate innovation, R&D etc. That may or may not have worked but as a side effect global multinationals noticed that too and starting using it.

              That's why Google has sold the IP rights to its search algorithm to a company in The Netherlands they own and leases it back at extortionate amounts. Big bucks flow from Mountain View to the Dutch company to pay for the search tech but the Dutch company does not pay tax on income from IP so they avoid tax. That's why the country is 'home' to famous names such as U2, the Rolling Stones and IKEA.

              I don't have the sense this was what the country expected to happen when they made royalties tax free but I can imagine it's now hard to change from one day to the next.

            2. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: He's threatening Italy as well

              Remember the 13 *billions* EU told Ireland it should collect at its actual tax rates?

              The same EU that was absolutely happy to flush Irelands economy down the shitter in 2008, right alongside Greece. They had to be bailed out by a mates rates loan from the UK, despite our own economic troubles of the day. It's really quite astounding how short some memories are... Mr Varadkar I'm looking at you!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's threatening Italy as well

      "He's trying to apply the old "divide et impera" - and EU would be wise to adopt a single stance"

      Macron or Trump?

      Macron's approach was likely to lead to the US increasing import duties and so was for effect rather than implementation. It played to the voters and shows the EU that the EU needs to act to address this. Trumps counter is an easy political win and of little consequence when only one country is affected.

      The EU are looking at the issue from a different angle (ensuring tech companies pay appropriate tax levels by going after Ireland and Luxembourg) but that may change over time. The EU's approach is likely to be the most effective way of addressing the issues but will result in much of the income being redistributed to the countries that currently benefit from these big tech companies. i.e. France is unlikely to gain a great deal.

      I'm unsure what the final agreements will be but most options for taxing foreign entities results in "unexpected" results for those that assume there will be no repercussions.

    4. Someone Else Silver badge

      @LDS -- Re: He's threatening Italy as well

      [...] and stop to buy US "goods" like the F-35.

      Pray tell, what is "good" about an F-35?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    strong with the weak ...

    and weak with the strong, like the whole french administration is always, particularly with taxes.

    As a french, I could spend days depicting how the tax administration, which, by the way, is not the revenue tax admin,

    but a gigantic money laundry machine called URSAFF, is harassing small entrepreneurs about anything and everything.

    I've recently been told, in one bar, the owner was fined for undeclared work. Why ? It turned out when the milicia came to check on

    him, he spotted a customer bringing back their glasses to the cashier => undeclared work + fine.

    This is as bad as it is in Hollande/Macron France, today.

    And people ask why we have yellow jackets !

    1. Dr_N Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: strong with the weak ...

      AC>And people ask why we have yellow jackets !

      It's for road safety, non?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: strong with the weak ...

        > It's for road safety, non?

        Helps stop the strikers getting knocked down on picket lines. Usually.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: strong with the weak ...

          Or for a certain type of employer, makes for an easier target.

    2. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: strong with the weak ...

      Apparently then, from your description, it is the new version of General Farm.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: strong with the weak ...

      "he spotted a customer bringing back their glasses to the cashier => undeclared work + fine."

      That is pure, unadulterated, second-hand BS* with zero evidence to show for it.

      "And people ask why we have yellow jackets !"

      Because too many are as gullible as you are, I'm afraid, and will believe any conspiracy they hear about.

      * Bar Story. Of course.

  3. Len
    Happy

    Trump is great for Europe

    "but while the president will be able to claim victory for his form of diplomacy, experts warn that it will only redouble Europe’s efforts to agree a tax across the whole of Europe in place in time for 2021."

    It may sound counter-intuitive at first but Trump is actually great for Europe. Under previous US presidents, when the US could still be considered an ally, it would have been quite uncomfortable for Europe to increase its independent infrastructure to shield against US interference.

    The creation of a European-only financial transaction system where the Americans could not spy or even block (like they can with SWIFT) would have been unthinkable under Obama or Bush. Now we have INSTEX. I remember when the US seized a large amount some German chap had transferred using SWIFT, the US didn't like the transaction and, as it was denominated in USD, they decided they had jurisdiction. Poof gone! It took all sorts of walking on egg shells to protect SWIFT transactions against future interventions as we couldn't upset an ally. Not any more.

    Similarly I wouldn't be surprised if the F35 is the last time European countries get hoodwinked into buying American fighter jets and opt for a European built fighter jet instead.

    Now Trump's blocking of country-level tech taxes seems to ensure an EU-wide tech tax will be voted through soon.

    Next on my wish list is a proper European credit card company to get out of the Visa and Mastercard stranglehold. US administrations like to use them to block payments to companies and causes they don't like and we just have to put up with it. Perhaps all we need is Trump instructing Visa and Mastercard to no longer process payments to climate change investigators and we're there.

    1. Julz Silver badge

      Re: Trump is great for Europe

      There is always the JCB card but it's only available to certain nationals.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trump is great for Europe

        Monegasque?

        Oh, sorry. Wrong JCB. :-o

    2. Shardik

      Re: Trump is great for Europe

      You say all this as if something that's good for Europe will be good for the UK.

      Thought we'd decided that isn't how we want things to work in future?

      And an EU-wide tech tax just as we leave the EU. Guess the Bully will leave us alone now, certainly won't be picking on the little guy standing on his own.

      1. Len

        Re: Trump is great for Europe

        The UK will still be in Europe, of course. It's just that the government has decided it wants to leave the EU. The UK will, however, still remain in the EU's trade and regulatory orbit and will still follow most of its decisions, regardless of what the regime's idiots want people to believe. Therefore, what's good for the whole of Europe is good for the UK.

        But yes, the UK might be slightly easier to pick off than, let's say, Portugal. Ultimately the behaviour of this and the next American administration will not be to our liking. The US doesn't have allies, it only has interests. There is not much we can do about that at the moment.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "he UK will, however, still remain in the EU's trade and regulatory orbit"

          Are you sure? It looks to me that the interests behind Boris & C. want to avoid exactly that to make a lot money quickly and with little oversight. Of course that will benefit only a small minority in London, but voters outside London gave them the ruling stick...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Trump is great for Europe

          " The US doesn't have allies, it only has interests."

          Really? Do you honestly think that the US is alone in that attitude? The reality is ALL countries act like that, as any leader that doesn't put their country's interests first does not remain a leader for long. Why do you think The Donald won? And will probably win again? He is America first, and has the cojones (unlike the previous president) to backup his words with action. Like him or hate him, you have to respect a leader who fearlessly puts his country's interests first.

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: Trump is great for Europe

            Downvoted because while I agree with the sentiment, Trump appears to only have Trump's interests (with a nod to some allies when it is in his interest) at heart.

          2. Len

            Re: Trump is great for Europe

            Oh, of course all countries have interests. For most countries having allies is an interest in itself, though. Much less so for the US.

          3. israel_hands

            Re: Trump is great for Europe

            But Trump doesn't put his country's interests first. He puts his own interests prejudices first and then cloaks it in bullshit nationalism and dog-whistle politics.

            Just another rich cunt kicking peasants in the face while they cheer him on because it's easier to believe his lies that it's all somebody elses fault than it is to face up to the reality that shit is complicated and can't be resolved by chanting USA! USA! USA! at a problem until it goes away.

            1. Beridhren the Wise

              Re: Trump is great for Europe

              So all Trump supporters are idiots? That is an easy position to fall into if you don't like President Trump, but as with all stereotypes it is also wrong. I remember when Hillary said that Trump supporters were a basket of deplorables, as if no liberals were deplorable, and look where that got her.

              And you speak of his lies as if he is the only one who does that, don't UK pols lie as well and are still elected? So before you accuse someone else of a fault, I suggest a good look in the mirror. Or as someone once put it, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

              1. Someone Else Silver badge

                @ Beridhren -- Re: Trump is great for Europe

                I remember when Hillary said that Trump supporters were a basket of deplorables, as if no liberals were deplorable, [...]

                This is the sort of false whataboutism that makes all you autocrat lickspittles sound so bloody stupid (and also confirms the original assertion in your post.

                Maybe consider a different handle....

                1. Beridhren the Wise

                  Re: @ Beridhren -- Trump is great for Europe

                  "false whataboutism that makes all you autocrat lickspittles"

                  Now, I don't normally allow myself to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man as it is usually a waste of my time, but your reply amused me so I thought I would make an exception.

                  You are unable to refute my position using logic, facts, or history but cannot admit (heaven forbid!) that I am right so you resort to a personal attack in an emotional and fact free rant. That''s how I know I am right and that your position is indefensible, because if you could defend it using facts, reason and history, you would have.

                  So I will keep my handle, thank you very much.

                  P.S. Your emotional and fact free rant proves beyond all doubt that you are a eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay, and at least four of your ulcers are working overtime. I highly suggest you go to your doctor forthwith and get some much needed medication before your condition worsens.

              2. DougS Silver badge

                Re: Trump is great for Europe

                So all Trump supporters are idiots?

                If they actually believe his "MAGA" "America first" etc. line and believe he's acting in anyone's interest but his own, then yes, they are idiots.

              3. ecofeco Silver badge

                Re: Trump is great for Europe

                "So all Trump supporters are idiots?"

                In short, yes.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Trump is great for Europe

                I always wondered what would've happened if, at that moment, a boy came along fresh from a baptism, sort of like the little girl who knew no evil calling out the lack of clothes on the Emperor.

          4. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

            Re: Trump is great for Europe

            and has the cojones

            I love how you mince oaths in Mexican! Sooo sexy!!!! ¿Quieres estar mi amigo?

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Trump is great for Europe

      but Trump is actually great for Europe

      I listened to a bit of his whinge^w speech yesterday when he was complaining about how horrible the EU was to the poor, misunderstood and unappreciated USA..

      After about 5 minutes I turned over to BBC Parliament, only to find Trump-lite was on for PMQ.

      I ended up switching it off and listening to music instead.

  4. Thought About IT

    But, but, but ...

    We were promised we'd get our sovereignty back after Brexit, so would stop being rule takers. Surely Johnson didn't lie to us?

    1. jaywin

      Re: But, but, but ...

      We've completely normalised politicians lying to us, it's all about who's lies fit best with what we want to hear. "But that's a lie" is no use as a rebuttal in these times, you need to come up with a better lie instead.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: But, but, but ...

        >you need to come up with a better lie instead.

        Or give up and walk away. No point debating with liars and charlatans anymore. When you point out their lies they just move on to their next lie. It's pointless. Welcome to the world we've created. We made it all our own.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: But, but, but ...

          There's nowhere to walk away that isn't under their influence, and giving up amounts to suicide. So you MUST keep trying, if only to avoid the Grim Reaper.

    2. Len
      Stop

      Re: But, but, but ...

      Sovereignty ends at the border.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: But, but, but ...

        Sovereignty ends at reality.

    3. codejunky Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: But, but, but ...

      @Thought About IT

      "We were promised we'd get our sovereignty back after Brexit, so would stop being rule takers. Surely Johnson didn't lie to us?"

      Just to think about your comment. Currently we are under the EU and have abandoned our own sovereignty to the EU. And this hypothetical situation has you jizz your pants?

      1. Thought About IT

        Re: But, but, but ...

        Being good neighbours and following the rules of the club, which we were intimately involved in writing, is hardly "abandoning our democracy"!

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: But, but, but ...

          @Thought About IT

          "Being good neighbours and following the rules of the club, which we were intimately involved in writing, is hardly "abandoning our democracy"!"

          Apply those words to trade with the US, hey look you justified it. Basically you are complaining the US may try to tell us what to do while promoting remaining under the EU and being told what to do.

          1. Smooth Newt
            Meh

            Re: But, but, but ...

            Apply those words to trade with the US, hey look you justified it. Basically you are complaining the US may try to tell us what to do while promoting remaining under the EU and being told what to do.

            We don't have any representation on US law making bodies, but we do have in the EU equivalents and we are choosing to give those up.

            Now we are leaving the EU, we certainly will be kicked around by them as outsiders. We will also be kicked around by the Americans. Both will do so with impunity as we will be just another smallish country instead of part of a massively powerful trading bloc. We'll be the nail instead of part of the hammer. And this is supposed to be better?

            In ten years or so, as the English apply to rejoin the EU, they will look back at the Brexit debacle and all that follows from it, with the country's precipitous decline from being a leading member of the most powerful trading bloc in the world to a small, impoverished England and Wales that is kicked around by everyone else, and think:

            "Let us admit it fairly, as a business people should,

            We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good.

            Not on a single issue, or in one direction or twain,

            But conclusively, comprehensively, and several times and again,"

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: But, but, but ...

              @Smooth Newt

              "We don't have any representation on US law making bodies, but we do have in the EU equivalents and we are choosing to give those up."

              In those EU bodies we have to negotiate, with the US we have to negotiate. Just because we give the money to the EU to pay 'our representatives' instead of paying our representatives ourselves doesnt change much in that respect.

              "Now we are leaving the EU, we certainly will be kicked around by them as outsiders"

              Why? What is this desire to be a pathetic wimpy idiot? It must be a desire because its not necessary. We leave the EU and reach an agreement. That agreement is either a mutual compromise or an agreement to go to WTO terms. However if the EU wants to kick us then they aint really reliable friends are they?

              "We will also be kicked around by the Americans."

              Why? What is this desire to be a pathetic wimpy idiot? It must be a desire because its not necessary. Our gov proposes a tax (not a particularly good one either) to attack certain companies. The US isnt stopping us from doing it, they are forewarning us that they will impose tariffs on their own people if we do it. If that is being kicked around you must hate being in the EU.

              "Both will do so with impunity as we will be just another smallish country instead of part of a massively powerful trading bloc."

              Powerful? This is the economically declining, failed to react to the recession, hides behind the US trade block?

              "In ten years or so, as the English apply to rejoin the EU"

              With opt outs and a fear campaign the country couldnt be convinced to give a majority support to the EU. Why do you think we would have an overwhelming majority to join something we reject even as a member?

              "with the country's precipitous decline from being a leading member of the most powerful trading bloc in the world to a small, impoverished England and Wales that is kicked around by everyone else"

              So whichever way that is thought out (in or out of the EU) you think we have a pathetic, weak little country? If you live here I suggest move. Maybe to the US or China where they are big countries (population, landmass, etc). The UK is the 5th richest country in the world.

              1. Len
                Holmes

                Re: But, but, but ...

                "The UK is the 5th richest country in the world."

                Sorry, this is my pet peeve. The UK is not the 5th richest country in the world, it usually sits somewhere between 25th and 30th place on the list of richest countries. In the EU alone there are ten countries richer than the UK.

                What you are referring to is size of the economy. The UK is the 5th/6th/7th biggest economy in the world depending on whose measurements you use. And that is predominantly a function of the size of the population. The UK is about to be overtaken by India when it comes to size of the economy. Not because India is richer, far from it. It's just that India has so many more people than the UK that –even though it's overall a poor country– it's GDP will overtake the UK's either this year or next.

                Therefore, say "5th biggest economy in the world", not "5th richest country in the world". A quick glimpse outside London (or Edinburgh) will show you that the UK is not that rich.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: But, but, but ...

                  @Len

                  Cheers for the correction

              2. Smooth Newt

                Re: But, but, but ...

                So whichever way that is thought out (in or out of the EU) you think we have a pathetic, weak little country?

                Strength in a negotiation is how badly each party wants/needs the agreement compared to what they can offer. The UK, with its $2.6 trillion GDP, is a minnow compared to most of the regional trading blocs that it will have to negotiate with, particularly as its biggest potential markets are developed economies.

                The size of the market the UK can offer is generally small compared to the size of the market that the other side can offer. i.e. We will stand to benefit far more from the agreement than they do - we can offer comparatively little, but need the agreement a lot. That is the very definition of weakness in a negotiation.

                GDP of the EU = $18 trillion

                GDP of China = $13 trillion

                GDP of NAFTA = $24 trillion

                GDP of SAARC = $11.6 trillion

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: But, but, but ...

                  @Smooth Newt

                  "Strength in a negotiation is how badly each party wants/needs the agreement compared to what they can offer"

                  Or that it mutually benefits and isnt a zero sum game.

                  "We will stand to benefit far more from the agreement than they do - we can offer comparatively little, but need the agreement a lot."

                  Why not a mutual benefit? Why would we be able to offer little? Why do we need the agreement a lot?

                  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: But, but, but ...

                    To be mutually beneficial, you need leverage: something the other side cannot easily get another way. That's one reason the southern states lost the Civil War. They thought they would leverage their cotton exports to get the UK on board. The UK just turned around and got their cotton from India instead; the south, a one-trick pony, had no leverage.

                    So the question becomes: What can the UK offer anyone else that's too difficult to get elsewhere?

                    1. Jaybus

                      Re: But, but, but ...

                      It also prevented the southern states from getting France on board, in that France was reluctant to act without British collaboration. Of course, they were already collaborating to handle the Mexican problem. (The Mexican leader had just decided to put a hold on interest payments to French and British financiers.) It was handled by leveraging the fact that the US navy's involvement in a civil war made for a great opportunity to attack Mexico. A very good example of how leverage, or lack thereof, is used in trade "negotiations".

                    2. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: But, but, but ...

                      @Charles 9

                      "To be mutually beneficial, you need leverage: something the other side cannot easily get another way"

                      So we are fine then. Why would anyone buy our products and services now if they are not so good? Access to the global financial markets through the primary hub in Europe being an obvious one.

                      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                        Re: But, but, but ...

                        "Access to the global financial markets through the primary hub in Europe being an obvious one."

                        You assume such a hub cannot be easily replaced, especially given the lengthy timeframe involved. If Wall Street got a good tip that Manhattan would become a triple-distilled mess in about three years time, they would probably be setting up alternative digs within that timeframe, wouldn't you think?

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: But, but, but ...

                          @Charles 9

                          "You assume such a hub cannot be easily replaced"

                          And it cant. Its quite a serious and physical issue to move so many people of so many professions out of one of the better regulatory systems in the world and shift it to ass end of titsville. Thats not being awkward or exaggerating the issue, it would require a whole infrastructure and drag and drop of a whole population and thats without the regulatory changes.

                          "If Wall Street got a good tip that Manhattan would become a triple-distilled mess in about three years time, they would probably be setting up alternative digs within that timeframe, wouldn't you think?"

                          How and where? Its not as simple as moving a few businesses as Junker found out. For all the bluster he got brass plates because the short answer is no. The long answer is build an entirely new city, literally move the very people you require from finance to legal and everything in-between over to this new place which better have the primary language spoken there otherwise (as Junker found out) they will have to switch to English to be understood and on and on.

                          The scale of the problem is massive which is why for all the many years some European countries have coveted Londons financial market the best they could do was look in awe.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But, but, but ...

        codejunky>>And this hypothetical situation has you jizz your pants?

        No one on here whats to hear about your brexfantasies.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: But, but, but ...

      Surely Johnson didn't lie to us?

      Of course not. I'm shocked you would think so!

      Now - about this nice bridge I have in Arizona - you still interested?

    5. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: But, but, but ...

      We were promised we'd get our sovereignty back after Brexit,

      We were never promised that. There was no need because just like all the other EU states we still have it and always had it.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: But, but, but ...

        Te fact that what you state about sovereignty was never lost is correct did not prevent politician claiming twas not so and promising to restore it.

    6. nijam

      Re: But, but, but ...

      "Sovereignty" is just a pretentious word meaning "enough financial and military muscle to do what you like".

      We've pretty much not had that since WW1, in reality.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

    and, if the UK government is not careful, Little Britain will become Little England at some point (see the vote on the UK withdrawal bill by all three devolved governments)...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

      Little England is just what Boris wants. He won't admit it naturally...

      No matter... El Trumpo will impose sanctions on the UK sooner rather than later. Remember it is Presidential Election Year and he needs to keep his supporters on side.

      He's holding a rally very soon in New Jersey at an arena that holds around 17,500 people. No matter, his re-election org printed 100,000 tickets for the event just so that they can boast that they turned thousands of people away while trousering the money from the ticket sales to those who could not get in.

      He appeals to the SUV/Pickup V8 engined driving Good Ole Boyz. He's the modern day 'Boss Hogg'.

      For the good of the world at large, the sooner he is thrown out the better. Mind you his Veep is probably worse. Boris can follow fwiw.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

      >and, if the UK government is not careful...

      I doubt the government will be able to do much, now the wheels have been set in motion. People with a better understanding of history are seeing Little England is an inevitable consequence of Brexit and seeing this a good thing; only that many (in the UK) are going to get a rude awakening as dreams of empire 2.0 etc give way to the cold light of day.

      1. Len
        Meh

        Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

        The UK's future might very well be similar to Italy's predicament. A politically and geographically unstable, low-growth, high-debt country that struggles to come to terms with not being the centre of the known universe any more.

        That said, Italy is among the world's largest exporters, the UK is a net importer so the dynamic will be different.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

      see the vote on the UK withdrawal bill by all three devolved governments

      They all voted to maximise the subsidies & handouts, which is entirely logical. Once they realise that the only subsidies in the future will come from London I think we'll see a change of heart.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

        EU subsidies will always be bigger than London's. It's the EU that has been propping up the areas outside London, not Westminster. Those areas will soon realise.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

          Those areas will soon realise

          And form the Celtic[1] States of Britannia. Which Cornwall will then join..

          Ah well - one can dream.

          [1] And lets not forget - large swathes of 'English' people have considerable amouts of Celtic genetics..

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

      Little Britain will become Little England at some point

      Which is ironic given that Boris paints himself as a One-nation Tory, vowing to protect the Union..

      Of course, his puppetmasters in the ERG don't really care about anything other than making lots and lots of money out of leaving the EU. As far as they are concerned, the devolved administrations should just shut up and do as they are told like good little vassals who don't deserve self-determination..

      Oh, the irony.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

        "Which is ironic given that Boris paints himself as a One-nation Tory, vowing to protect the Union.."

        No irony - Boris will have one nation when the three devolved administrations break away (with Scotland in the lead)...

    5. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

      Little Britain is in France.

      Great Britain is part of the United Kingdom and will next week celebrate its escape from the EU, giving the media and London centric establishment a fine kick in the teeth at the same time.

      It's a wonderful month.

      1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

        Re: Little Britain standing on its own now (well, next week)

        But Petty France is in London!

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "London centric establishment a fine kick in the teeth"

        I'm afraid that you'll discover that after Brexit UK will become even more London-centric than it is today. The plan for a "Singapore on the Thames" doesn't include anything more, nor the money won't go much beyond it. After all, Boris & C. are exactly part of that London establishment you seem to hate.

        Manufacturing plants won't magically reopen on January 31st, nor Liverpool port will be full again of ships bringing cheap goods from the colonies to be resold at higher prices.

        Sure, some very rich Russian, Arab, Chinese or Indian may buy some estate in the country, and employ some English people there as serfs - that's all the jobs they will bring to Britain outside London. Unless, of course, British wages becomes competitive with Chinese and Indian ones...

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: "London centric establishment a fine kick in the teeth"

          Hmm. There I was thinking that the current Government were promising investment in the North of England, exploring the creation of free ports on the Humber and the West coast, and looking to move civil service jobs out of London.

          How silly of me to actually read the news and keep myself up to date on reality.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "London centric establishment a fine kick in the teeth"

            "There I was thinking that the current Government were promising investment in the North of England"

            Investment needs money. Where's that going to come from? I know, the taxes from those businesses, including manufacturing plants (largely in the Midlands and north of England) located in the UK because .. the UK ...provided .... foreign investors ..... with .... an EU base ......oh dear.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: "London centric establishment a fine kick in the teeth"

              "Investment needs money" but political promises are cheap, especially when the RoI is that people believe them.

              Has anyone thought through what is going to happen when all those voters who turned Tory for a day become disillusioned? It won't be pretty...

            2. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: "London centric establishment a fine kick in the teeth"

              Well, for a start I can save you around £70bn by cancelling HS fucking 2.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "London centric establishment a fine kick in the teeth"

                £70 BEEELLION is chump change. Just 200 weeks worth of side-of-red-bus EU payments.

                Paid for in 4 years. Bingo.

  6. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Oui, Mon General

    ...saying he had had a “great discussion with Donald Trump on digital tax. We will work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation.”

    When a greasy little Marseilles club owner meets a greasy large huckster then comes the tug of surrender.

  7. smudge Silver badge
    Holmes

    Shurely shome mishtake here?

    The UK tax is meant to be a temporary measure until a European tax is agreed

    Oh really? So what's all this stuff about leaving the EU, then? Is it a piss-take?

    1. Len
      Meh

      Re: Shurely shome mishtake here?

      The UK will still follow the EU, just not as a member any more.

      Johnson's strategy is to cave in but sell it as a victory back home. And enough people will believe it, just like they did when he convinced them that he secured something special while he actually just accepted the EU's Spring 2018 offer.

      1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Shurely shome mishtake here?

        "The UK will still follow the EU, just not as a member any more."

        Is that like those local gym memberships? You can pay £90 a month to be a member, use it as much as you like, have a say in how it's run, who else can join, and what equipment is available, or you can pay £30 for a day visit with no say whatsoever?

        I'll have 10 days a month at £30 each says the UK...

    2. hmv Silver badge

      Re: Shurely shome mishtake here?

      "Is it a piss-take?"

      Yes.

  8. knarf

    Goverments have two options

    1. Raise VAT (Sales Tax) so the people pay

    2. Have a turnover tax so the companies pay,

    Guess what one will be used going forward.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Goverments have two options

      @knarf

      1. Raise VAT (Sales Tax) so the people pay

      2. Have a turnover tax so the people pay,

      There is no getting out of this the people pay. Also a turnover tax isnt a tax on profit, which means a business can lose money and still be taxed.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Goverments have two options

        It's not so simple - VAT hits directly the customer without companies intervention and it's easier to assign the blame (plus, some can deduct VAT), raising prices directly is always a bet for companies - they can't know what happen to sales - and you can't be sure what your competitor will do (unless you're a monopolist or part of a cartel).

        In not a few countries VAT is already high, and space to increase it even more - and moreover a VAT increase would hit all sales and not only those that are actually avoiding taxation.

        It could be that Amazon goods may see price increases - but it could also mean the local business it's destroying thanks to tax avoidance have better chances to survive and that means employment and taxes paid.

        A turnover tax won't be applied blindly of course, but companies are free to stop to hide profits and being taxed on them as everybody else.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Goverments have two options

          @LDS

          "It could be that Amazon goods may see price increases - but it could also mean the local business it's destroying thanks to tax avoidance have better chances to survive and that means employment and taxes paid."

          Why is Amazon destroying these businesses (it is)? Because it can deliver quicker, cheaper and easier than slogging over to a shop that might not have it and will be more expensive. And the UK has full employment.

          So to undo that would increase the cost of living on people to keep smaller inefficient and expensive shops open. The ones still open and surviving being the ones that are efficient enough, reduced their prices to compete and/or offer something amazon cant (maybe in personal service).

          Amazon is paying tax as it is supposed to and by international rules (and EU rules) is doing nothing wrong.

          "A turnover tax won't be applied blindly of course, but companies are free to stop to hide profits and being taxed on them as everybody else."

          This is not possible as the assumption is that these companies are hiding profits. That is a huge assumption and makes a big difference. Amazon for example are complained about because they do R&D investment instead of running away with that profit and being taxed on it. Thats insanity. The money is invested in R&D which benefits the company in the long run, the employees, future employees and future profit. Surely that is better than them paying a load of tax by taking that money out of the business?

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Goverments have two options

            >And the UK has full employment.

            That is debatable, given the circa 9M "economically inactive" working age taxpayers according to ONS...

            >Why is Amazon destroying these businesses...

            I think the reasons are many and not quite so clear cut as people like to make out.

            For example, recently I was in the market for MS Office licences, but trying to find a reputable small business that sold said licences was too much, it being much simpler to go to the majors such as Amazon. Interestingly, PCworld was prepared to match Amazon's prices, so I was able to walkaway with licence keys in hand...

            >A turnover tax...

            Actually, I agree!!!! :)

            A turnover tax to my mind is based on a false premise: amazon et al. makes lots of money but pay little or no Corporation tax - a voluntary tax in any case.

            The VAT fiddling, is questionable but currently legal within the EU, but the EU are reviewing the rules to combat this abuse.

            However, the big issue is the investment in the UK, specifically jobs, where successive UK governments have encouraged multinationals to do R&D in the UK and use the UK as their gateway to the EU (oops U-turn on this one)...

            So I think if you must have a turnover tax then companies should be able to avoid it by substantive investment in the UK (R&D, manufacturing, EMEA HQ etc.). Only problem Brexit does mess things up..

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Goverments have two options

              @Roland6

              "That is debatable, given the circa 9M "economically inactive" working age taxpayers according to ONS..."

              https://www.statista.com/statistics/268830/unemployment-rate-in-eu-countries/

              We have full employment. You dont have to like it but by the measurement accepted across the EU we do.

              "For example, recently I was in the market for MS Office licences, but trying to find a reputable small business that sold said licences was too much, it being much simpler to go to the majors such as Amazon. Interestingly, PCworld was prepared to match Amazon's prices, so I was able to walkaway with licence keys in hand..."

              That sounds like an advert for Amazon. Why it is successful and not a bad thing either. Kudo's to you for heading out to PC world or anywhere else. That too is not a bad thing. I just dislike the grief given to companies we seem to rely on and get attacked for doing good.

              "Actually, I agree!!!! :)"

              We may disagree on some things but I do enjoy reading your comments and think we probably have quite a bit of common ground we agree on.

              1. LDS Silver badge

                "We have full employment."

                So why all those calls for Brexit to stop those pesky immigrants to steal jobs from British people?

                1. nijam

                  Re: "We have full employment."

                  Those calls are just the voice of racism, I think there's no real evidence that anyone's job has been stolen, let alone on a large scale.

                2. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: "We have full employment."

                  @LDS

                  "So why all those calls for Brexit to stop those pesky immigrants to steal jobs from British people?"

                  The reserve labour issue is that wages dont have so much pressure to rise if there are many people to fill the vacancy. As there are fewer to take the job then the wages rise. As with the expected brexit + uncertainty causing wages to rise while our low employment had limited effect.

                  My issue was more to do with having friends from all over the world yet only those from the promised land could just come over.

              2. Someone Else Silver badge

                Re: Goverments have two options

                We have full employment. You dont [sic] have to like it but by the measurement accepted across the EU we do.

                cf. Your Hero Douchebag-in-Chief railing against the "fake" US unemployment numbers while a candidate, only to embrace those exact same numbers when he stole the election with Putin's help was elected.

                1) Where you stand depends upon where you sit.

                2) Irony is so ironic.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Goverments have two options

                  @Someone Else

                  I am in the UK

          2. LDS Silver badge

            "ecause it can deliver quicker, cheaper and easier"

            And why it could?

            1) Because it doesn't pay the taxes other companies pays

            2) Because it tries to avoid work regulations other companies have to follow

            3) Because it exploits people as much as it can with its "contractor" model.

            If you think, slavery in the British and Spanish colonies, then in the US, was a very efficient business model - and could put out of business many other far less efficient. Maybe not an acceptable one?

            When you have only one big seller setting wages, you will just have poorer people, less employment, and in the end even higher prices. And if it doesn't pay taxes, say good bye to free education and healthcare, and a lot of other things....

            "by international rules (and EU rules) "

            Sure, that's why they are not in a prison for tax crimes. Just those rules were written for a different era, and now people want them changed - as it happens in any democratic country, following democratic rules. Or big companies now dictates the rule?

            "Amazon for example are complained about because they do R&D investment"

            LOL! They do make disappear a lot of profits they should be pay tax upon using sophisticated tax avoidances schemes.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: "ecause it can deliver quicker, cheaper and easier"

              @LDS

              "1) Because it doesn't pay the taxes other companies pays"

              If it is breaking the law this can be prosecuted.

              "2) Because it tries to avoid work regulations other companies have to follow"

              If it is breaking the law this can be prosecuted.

              "3) Because it exploits people as much as it can with its "contractor" model."

              If it is breaking the law this can be prosecuted.

              "If you think, slavery in the British and Spanish colonies, then in the US, was a very efficient business model - and could put out of business many other far less efficient. Maybe not an acceptable one?"

              If you think employed work is slavery then you may want to see slavery.

              "When you have only one big seller setting wages, you will just have poorer people, less employment, and in the end even higher prices"

              Great argument for our market economy and the existence of Amazon which has driven down the prices and employed more people while driving down the cost of living for customers, not just of Amazon but Amazons competitors too!

              "And if it doesn't pay taxes, say good bye to free education and healthcare, and a lot of other things...."

              So its not free education and healthcare otherwise it wouldnt need to pay for them. Yet because it does pay tax they exist based on the fact that they do pay tax and that those services exist.

              "Sure, that's why they are not in a prison for tax crimes. Just those rules were written for a different era, and now people want them changed - as it happens in any democratic country, following democratic rules. Or big companies now dictates the rule?"

              So Amazon has not been doing anything wrong so far, I agree. So lets discuss the turnover tax which would be charged even if the company made a loss. More tax taken from Amazon removes money from the economy and that includes wages, R&D, pensions and the value of being successful. Where will that money come from?

              "LOL! They do make disappear a lot of profits they should be pay tax upon using sophisticated tax avoidances schemes."

              Tax avoidance isnt a crime nor is it a bad thing. If the tax is so hard to collect maybe it is too complicated. Which then means coming up with a good tax with low dead weight costs.

              1. LDS Silver badge

                Re: "because it can deliver quicker, cheaper and easier"

                As already pointed out, Amazon tax avoidance is legal. That doesn't mean it's available to any company. You need to be big enough, being able to open shell companies around the world, shuffle the money around, and pay the expensive consultants able to create this game and keep it going.

                That's why government want to change the rule to make it illegal, so you can't hide behind a finger. Once it's illegal, if you do it you will face the consequences.

                And again, there are ways to try to bypass and avoid work regulations, i.e. trying to say people are not employees but contractors, avoiding direct hires but using shady companies as subcontractors, exploiting immigrants, etc. etc. If a shady subcontractor is caught to break the law - and it happens often, Amazon and the like can always say they were not aware, etc etc.

                Once again, you have to be big enough to employ this tricks. Once the only job YOU will find will be this kind of job, you will understand what it means.

                Amazon didn't anything illegal - yet something can be both legal and wrong - unethical - at the same time, sorry. That's why there are ways to change the rules when they don't work and let wrong thing happens, as the world changes and rules can become outdated as cunning people learn how to bypass them.

                More taxes - or better EQUAL TAXES - on Amazon only mean Mr. Bezos will be a little less rich. Sure, he can decide to be still richer and took away money from R&D (which one? drones? ROTFL!) and wages - but the people could stop to work for Amazon at all.

                And in a more healthy economy taxes will come from other business that aren't pushed out by anti-competitive behaviours of a few molochs, and their employees.

                Amazon drove the prices lower but didn't create more jobns, and especially it doesn't create good jobs. All the gig economy is an example of bad jobs, with people needing two-three to make ends meet.

                Free education and healthcare means you get them regardless of what you pay, and if you are able to pay or not. Most people don't pay enough taxes to pay for them - they get them because other people pay more, and especially business are taxed. In return business get an educated workforce, and rely on the system to have their employee get the required helthcare.

                But keep on being a Pangloss, and believe you live in the best possible world... unless you are Bezos, you will find it is not.

                1. veti Silver badge

                  Re: "because it can deliver quicker, cheaper and easier"

                  Contrary to popular belief, laws are not (in general) made to benefit the rich and powerful.

                  It's the other way round: people and companies become rich and powerful by successfully exploiting the laws. The legitimate loopholes (or "economies", as we used to call them) exploited by Amazon are available to anyone. Amazon merely figured out a cost-effective way to do it.

                  It's important to understand this, because it gives you a valuable predictive insight: if you change the rules, you will not prevent companies or people from becoming rich and powerful by exploiting them. If not Amazon, someone else will do it.

                  I'm not saying the rules can't be improved on. I'm sure they can. What I am saying is that any attempt to change the rules that's inspired by, basically, spite against Amazon - or anyone else, for that matter - is unlikely to be an improvement.

          3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Goverments have two options

            "Because it can deliver quicker, cheaper and easier than slogging over to a shop that might not have it and will be more expensive. "

            Two out of three ain't bad. It might be cheaper and, if they don't mess up delivery, easier but quicker, when you need it now might well be slogging over to a shop. RIP Maplin shops; still, CCL's within driving distance for me.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Goverments have two options

              @Doctor Syntax

              "Two out of three ain't bad. It might be cheaper and, if they don't mess up delivery, easier but quicker, when you need it now might well be slogging over to a shop. RIP Maplin shops; still, CCL's within driving distance for me."

              I was thinking of the bugger of ordering something they dont have in stock. But year RIP Maplin. Not that they made much money from me buying PIC's and little electronics for playing with (only the odd purchase of a larger item).

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Goverments have two options

      I thought the two options were:

      a) Cancel the Silicon Valley tax.

      b) Buy Trump a golf course.

  9. Empire of the Pussycat

    surely a new el reg unit opportunity

    Time (Bojo - Bj)

    1 Bj is the period of time between Trump telling Bojo what to do and him doing it

    Imperial equivalent is the Mogg (Mgg), conversion factor is 1 Bj = 0.0007 Mgg (via the Linguini - Furlong ratio)

  10. JohnG

    Digital tax not needed after Brexit

    A substantial part of the reasoning for a digital tax in the UK has to do with the manner in which a number of multinationals exploit single market rules e.g. goods or services sold in the UK are invoiced from Ireland or Luxembourg, avoiding UK taxes. Once we leave the EU, that particular ruse will no longer be possible and the same businesses will be forced to invoice in the UK, with UK VAT, etc.

    1. H in The Hague Silver badge

      Re: Digital tax not needed after Brexit

      "... are invoiced from Ireland or Luxembourg, avoiding UK taxes. Once we leave the EU, that particular ruse will no longer be possible and the same businesses will be forced to invoice in the UK, with UK VAT, etc."

      Distance sales, if above a certain threshold, have long required the seller to register for VAT in the UK and charge VAT on those sales so that doesn't really change see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-7001-should-i-be-registered-for-vat/vat-notice-7001-should-i-be-registered-for-vat Or you, as the buyer, pay VAT at the time of delivery.

      Those businesses will still be taxed on their profit from UK sales in their home countries, just as UK businesses pay tax in the UK on profits from overseas sales.

      So, no significant change here.

  11. Someone Else Silver badge
    WTF?

    From the sub-head:

    Macron suspends cyber levy plan after The Donald has a quiet word

    When has the Blabbermouth-in-Chief ever had a quiet word?

  12. Rombizio

    He who has the gold, makes the rules.

    See title.

  13. ecofeco Silver badge

    All these comments yet...

    The title of the article is what everyone should be concerned about.

    It's not a joke.

  14. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Why not try

    .... tightening up the loopholes these companies use to legally avoid paying tax on their in-country earnings? Why is there always a rush to create a new special tax? The only reason I see is that the new tax will be choc-o-block full of new loopholes but it will look like the politicians are "doing something" for a very limited value of doing. A 3% tax on revenue/profits that can be shifted someplace else is still zero. There will be more accountants and lawyers, though. So, there's that.

    It's so nice that people around the world believe that the US President has so much power. It's keeps them from going after the real bastiges in Congress with battle axes and spears. (I'd totally waste money on PPV to see that, btw).

  15. Psmo Bronze badge

    Let's not forget....

    as a way to force CalifornianIrish titans like Google, Facebook and Apple to cough up more

    FTFY.

  16. SME Integrator

    Ireland is the problem

    It's obvious to me, most of the companies we are talking about are based in Ireland or Luxembourg

    You can pay as little as 12.5% tax there.

    The reason Ireland objects to the EU tax is because most of the tech giants are there.

    Europe should be pressuring Ireland to fall in line as they are the weak link in the Tax agreements.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Ireland is the problem

      But what kind of pressure CAN they put on them? You'll notice all these countries are small with relatively low populations. IOW, low upkeep. It's pretty much a "location, location, location" advantage: physical, and thus hard to counter.

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