‘Hypocrisy of the stars who shielded cash from taxman’, cries a headline in today’s Daily Mail. But are we sure that it’s really hypocrisy?
Among those ‘outed’ as hypocrites is the actor Michael Caine. But Mr Steerpike seems to recall that the cockney lad has been a vocal campaigner against our tax system, which seem to be one of his pet peeves.
In fact, in the late 1970s Caine moved to the States to avoid them. A country that charges 82 per cent tax on its highest earners isn’t a democracy – rather ‘a communist country without a dictator’, he has been quoted as saying.
Another tax ‘hypocrite’ is TV’s Anne Robinson, according to the Mail. But, like Caine, she has frequently complained about her HMRC bills, deeming them ‘vast’ in 2002.
In Mr Steerpike’s book, their use of a tax avoidance scheme is not hypocrisy; it’s a logical progression from talking the talk to walking the walk.
As The Italian Job taught us: ‘Never underrate the English. They’re not as stupid as they look.’