Cameron Is Right: Of Course Gary Barlow Can Keep His Poxy OBE
SO. Gary Barlow’s been found to have “invested” in a tax avoidance scheme. So therefore there are cries that he should be stripped of his OBE, or hand it back himself. The very idea of which is bloody stupid.
For he’s not actually broken the law as yet. He’ll only do that if he doesn’t stump up the tax which HMRC now thinks is rightfully due.
David Cameron today insisted it is not ‘necessary’ for Gary Barlow to be stripped of his OBE despite a court ruling the Take That star had invested in a massive tax avoidance scheme.
Barlow has been branded ‘unethical’ by one MP and faced a barrage of criticism on social media, but the Prime Minister insisted the singer had ‘done a huge amount for the country’ including raising money for charity.
Much as it pains me to say this Cameron is correct here. Even if not for the right reason.
When (Sir) Lester Piggott was sent to prison for tax evasion, a criminal offence, he was rightfully stripped of his knighthood. Because he had committed a criminal offence and was sentenced to a substantial period in pokey. Those are the rules on such things.
Gary Barlow hasn’t committed, at least as far as we know, a criminal offence and he’s most certainly not been found guilty of one. What has happened is that a tax arrangement that he thought was legal has now been declared to be not legal: thus he has to pay the tax that he hasn’t so far. This is all, thus, so far a civil matter, not a criminal one. And we don’t strip people of their titles for civil matters, only for serious criminal ones.
All of this has bugger all to do with whatever he’s done or not for charity. It’s about the rule of law itself. And that’s not something that we change according to the whims of the howling mob.