Fat cats, hedge funds, & off-shore tax havens? The Limousine Liberalism of the Guardian

The Guardian has recently been crusading against large donations from the London financial sector to the Conservative Party, describing in ominous tones the hedge fund managers who have passed millions to Tory coffers, and asking if such donations may influence the policy decisions of Prime Minster David Cameron’s Government.

Typical is a Guardian picture gallery, which portrayed, in unflattering profiles, some of the largest donors – often darkly noting their hedge fund ties.

Well, according to Guido Fawke’s Blog, it looks like the Guardian Media Group (GMG) has quite a cozy relationship with such fat cats, and indeed invested over £223 million in Hedge Funds during the height of the banking crisis, netting a cool £39 million – investments largely off shore from the UK and managed by an enormous, and highly secretive, assets management company (Cambridge Associates) whose client list includes billionaires and foreign governments.

Even more revealing, however, these funds are in addition to GMG assets held in Cayman Islands corporations where the rate of corporation tax is zero. Sources from Guido Fawke’s Blog suggest that GMG has between £300 million and £500 million held offshore. Such tax haven corporate vehicles are used to shield assets from tax.

Alan Rusbridger, Guardian’s Editor-in-Chief, by the way, sits on the Board which approved these investments – authorizing tax avoidance tactics which his paper has crusaded against, noting that such investments costs the UK billions in lost revenue.

In one Guardian expose, Brendan Barber, TUC (Trade Union Congress) general secretary, said:

“Tax avoidance is hollowing out the tax system. With the rest of us having to fill the tax gap left by Britain’s most wealthy, there is a real threat to the future of public services – especially as the recession takes its toll on normal tax flows.

The hypocrisy here is exquisite: a crusading “progressive” activist newspaper which routinely peddles in populist rhetoric about “afflicting the comfortable” and “comforting the afflicted” turns out to be quite comfortable failing to pay their fair share of taxes, thereby playing a major role in diluting the UK Treasury of funds necessary to alleviate the social problems they are always campaigning about.

I guess we can sum up the Guardian’s social mission this way: Do as I say, not as I do.

The Limousine Liberal’s defining modus operandi.

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