Unless you've been living under a rock, on drugs or just in a different country for the last few days you can't fail to have heard or read about the big hoo-ha involving UK comedian, Jimmy Carr, and K2.
Yeah, that was my first thought too: he hasn't exactly got the physique of a mountaineer.
But it turns out K2 is some clever-clever, smarmy, rich man's tax dodge. I'm not sure of the ins and outs because whenever I read financial information all I hear in my head is farting noises but the basic premise seems to be that rich bastards pay their money into an account in Jersey and then the people running the account pay the money back out to them as "a loan". And because it is classed as a loan rather than a wage these mega-earners don't have to pay the statutory 50% tax rate on their stratospheric earnings.
All perfectly legal as Jimmy Carr and other K2 members have been desperate to point out.
So 'legally' the UK has missed out on something like £45bn per year on missed tax payments because of schemes like K2. Or £45mn. Or 45 drachma. One of those.
This is not funny when the likes of you and me are struggling to make ends meet and the government and tax office and the banks seem set on nobbling the poor, the middle wage earners and small business men in general.
K2 would be a great idea if we could all take advantage of it. The unfairness lies in the fact that it is a club that only the obscenely rich can join.
David Cameron (hardly short of a few bob himself) has condemned Jimmy Carr as "morally wrong".
Now up to that point I was bitterly disappointed with Jimmy Carr. I mean, how could he co-present such politically satirical programmes like 10 O'clock Live, lampooning the misdemeanours of others, when he himself was effectively ripping the entire country off?
But Cameron's condemnation just sticks in my craw worse than the whole K2 bunch. Are we to believe that Cameron knew nothing of this? That all our deeply respected politicians had no idea that such schemes existed and have done so for years and years? Are we to believe that they themselves have never partook of such perfectly legal tax dodging shenanigans?
It seems to me that Cameron's comdemnation comes only on the back of the recent media coverage. Up to then he was happy to have us all ignorant. Isn't that morally wrong too?
Jimmy Carr has today apologized for a "terrible error of judgement" over K2. He was asked by his financial advisor if he wanted to pay less tax without breaking the law. He said yes.
Well, bugger me, but who wouldn't?
The problem isn't Jimmy Carr or even K2 or it's directors (who are surely more morally repugnant than everybody?)... the problem is the long standing loophole in the law that allows such schemes to exist and to flourish. These schemes and loopholes are not new developments; they've been around for decades.
And whose fault is that?
The politicians and the bankers.
Frankie Boyle Tweeted this morning that if he'd been called "morally wrong" by Cameron he'd put it on his [tour] posters. I'd be tempted to put it on a T-shirt and wear it with pride.
Pot. Kettle. Black.
I wonder if my employer would care to loan me next month's wages rather than paying me...?
Trouble is, with my luck, they'd expect me to pay it back...