These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE ME A DIME?

Printed in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying round game v Boreham Wood on
Saturday 1st October 2011. Slough won 3-2 in boiling heat against a
team two leagues above us, cheered on by 277 fans.

Are they for real? Are the rich (and their PR companies) really
demanding that the government abolish the 50% tax rate otherwise they
will have a hissy fit and leave the country. Well seeya. The
government, stuffed full of millionaires says it’s sympathetic. Then
has the cheek to tell public sector workers – already facing a two-
year pay freeze, job losses and inflation running higher than it has
for more than a decade – that they will have to work longer, pay more
and get less pension so we can help reduce Britain’s debt. A debt that
is so big because we had to borrow billions bailing out the bloody
banks. (over 50 per cent of the debt is because of this bailout)

I like the attitude of the fabulously titled Italian ‘simplification
minister’ who told footballers to stop being ‘spoilt children’ after
they complained about a solidarity tax of 5-10% imposed on all high
earners. Italy is introducing austerity measures to pay for its debt
crisis and Minister Roberto Calderoli, lashed out at the country's
professional footballers, threatening to make them pay a new income
tax twice over if they didn’t stop moaning! Mind you, many Italian
footballers negotiate a net salary, which means their clubs pay all
their taxes anyway which could now include the top-up solidarity
tax.

And that’s the problem with ‘we are all in it together’ guff from our
inherited millionaire chancellor Gideon Osborne. We are so blatantly
not. The bankers who crashed the world’s economy demanded less and
less regulation so they could indulge in ever more complex casino
banking scams. But were happy to accept taxpayer’s handouts when it
all went tits up because they were ‘too big to fail’. The super-rich
use every trick in the book to dodge their taxes. Barclays Bob Diamond
received £6.5m on top of his salary but incredibly told a government
committee it was “time to move on from widespread bank-bashing.”

These people look a like the football bosses who load their clubs with
debt then scarper leaving the fans to pick up the pieces. Not that
it’s surprising seeing as the people owning football clubs are the
very same superrich and the ‘unfit and improper.’ Leeds United’s Ken
Bates was named and shamed by the governments regulation committee for
the elaborate web he weaved to hide the fact that he owned the club.
Birmingham City’s owner was recently arrested in Hong Kong on money
laundering charges. Rangers owe millions to the taxman who have frozen
part of the clubs bank account. In a bid to get into the promised land
of the Premiership, many Championship clubs spend nearly all their
turnover on wages some spend even more. And Plymouth Argyle might not
even exist by the time you read this.

Maybe these football clubs and bankers need to take a feather out of
David Wailliams swimming cap. His latest bonkers Thames swimming
venture raised a million quid for sports relief. Asked at the end of
the grueling venture how he felt he replied “Whatever I’m suffering,
its not as bad as being Kenyan,12 years old, homeless, with no shoes
on your feet, no mum and dad.”

The world’s economy is on a knife-edge, yet bankers and top football
clubs carry on as if all is normal, stuffing their pockets and
complaining that it’s not fair they have to contribute to society. A
Premiership where a five year old can predict who will be at the top
is bad for competition and the long term future of the game.

The gap between the rich and poor is greater now than at any point in
the past 50 years. Abolish the 50 per cent tax rate. I agree; as long
as it’s put up to 80%.

* Fantastic article on why attacks on pensions are wrong
http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/this-is-not-a-pension-reform-it-is-simply-a-pay-cut

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