Emma Thompson on tax-strike until HSBC tax evaders are jailed


JK Rowling does this too…it would be game changer.


Personally I disagree. I dunno about UK but here in the US there are plenty of crackpots who refuse to pay their taxes because they’ve thought up a legal theory that exempts them. The courts always seem to disagree. They’ve kind of spoiled the whole tax-protest game so that, even if your cause is righteous, you seem to be using an excuse to just not pay your share.

Particularly celebrities who, I assume, are fairly well-paid. It really just looks like they’re being greedy. I very much agree with their cause; I only wish they had a different way of protesting. Throw a brick or something.


Yeah, no one’s going to jail. I expect concessions or gestures will be made but no one except Emma and hubby and perhaps at a stretch a token scapegoat banker will do any time (with rewards to look forward to after for taking one for the team).
It’s a bold move and it shines a brighter light on an area of corruption than us gnats could ever achieve without first becoming a national treasure, but titans don’t fall or change their ways so easily.

Little did Mrs Thompson know, but HSBC was also doing a tax strike because of HMRC not going after Starbucks! Why aren’t we praising HSBC?

Really, this is stupid. The point of a boycott is that you are forgoing something you want for some higher end. There is thus an element of sacrifice and that makes the protest have meaning. A ‘boycott’ that wholly benefits oneself, whose price is paid for by others - that’s no boycott, it’s indistinguishable from shallow opportunism.


There are other ways to wage this wage war. Emma and Wisey should get wise and look for ways to hide their stash too. They were beaten at the game.

“The courts always seem to disagree.” I think the whole point is that DOESN’T happen here in the UK. If it did then there’d be nothing to protest against. The HSBC tax evaders haven’t been taken to court or the tax reclaimed. If they’re taken to court then so should the tax evaders they’re protesting against. I thought that was the whole point of this “protest”?

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Wise told the Evening Standard. “… I am a profound fucking socialist…"

Nope, you haven’t earned that title if you hold back on your fair contribution. True lefties pay their tax whilst knowing fully well that a certain percentage of state finances are lost due to tax cheats, benefit cheats, corruption etc etc.

Refusing to pay any taxes and announcing it in the Guardian is not tax avoidance or evasion - it’s civil disobedience in kind in protest of the unbalanced application of the law. There’s no way that they will be better off due to this action. The point is not that they don’t want to pay those taxes, it’s that they’re tired of tax evasion by the rich being winked at while low income benefit fraud is given a much higher priority. They may go to prison, but this would increase the pressure to do the same for actual tax cheats.


So they’re going to protest people not paying tax, by not paying tax…

Whilst i agree that tax evasion/avoidance by the wealthy is one of the greatest problems this country faces, this seems like a profoundly stupid method to protest this. Far too easy for anyone else to twist it into “see, they don’t pay tax either, so why should we?” :confused:

Well obviously SOMEONE is going to jail, they can’t just let these protestors get away with spitting in the face of the establishment!


The point of course is that if they are taken to court it will set a legal precedent and will implicitly mean that others will also have to be taken to court. At the moment in the UK non of the high profile tax evaders have faced a single day in court.

If on the other hand Thompson and Wise are not taken to court in spite of announcing to the national press that they have broken the law, then that is also a pretty big statement from the powers that be in regard to their respect for the rule of law.


At least Thompson and Wise are drawing public attention to what they’re doing in what could be an act of civil disobedience in the model of Thoreau who did go to jail (albeit for a very short time) for refusing to pay taxes.

But, yeah, I agree that at the very least this looks self-serving. One thing I wish they’d do is put aside the amount they would be paying in taxes and not use it for their own benefit–essentially lock it up and say, “You can have it when justice is done.” I feel like that’s only part of what they could do to draw attention to the problem, though.

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I feel like a lot of the commenters in this thread don’t quite get how incredibly media friendly and popular Emma Thompson is. Jailing her and refusing to prosecute a banker (who are widely reviled even if the government still believes they are untouchable ‘wealth creators’) would be political suicide this close to a general election.

Given that successive UK governments have gone out of their way to minimise the public voice and give disproportionate influence to the wealthy, this is exactly the kind of protest that the government will listen to. In the mean time, anyone with any kind of credit arrangement with HSBC should also consider defaulting on it until somebody, somewhere prosecutes these assholes. In the 21st century, economic pressure is the only way to get results, whether you’re a lobbyist, a 1%er or one of the 7 billion people who don’t fall into either or both of this categories.


The government isn’t the one who decides who gets prosecuted. That is decided by the the Crown Prosecution Service. I really don’t want to live in a world where we get politically motivated prosecutions just before elections.


More people would be aware of this if Emma Watson were taking up the tax protest. It probably wouldn’t work out though, as she is dating an individual who is living on state benefit.

The CPS is highly selective in who it prosecutes. For them, people like tax evaders and transphobes just dont seem like they are worth dealing with.

I think the whole point is that DOESN’T happen here in the UK.

It may not happen often enough but that is nonsense - Celebrity Tax Avoiders

There’s no need for a legal precedent that not paying tax is illegal. It is - sometimes. The situation is that rich tax evaders have very good lawyers, and very good tax advisers that can identify loopholes in the law and play the system to achieve good effects. The political and economic power of both the people offering advice and their clients makes legislative action to close loopholes impossible.

What would it mean for these tax strikers to get purposefully arrested? Not much, if they don’t use the loopholes that exist. This is about as dumb and as immoral (though obviously to a lesser degree) as murdering a guy in broad daylight to protest police shootings. You simply invalidate your message - anyone who didn’t see tax evasion as an issue will just see a hypocrite get their just desserts, and anyone who does think it is a problem isn’t going to ask for clemency for people who tax dodge ‘for the right reasons’. If Thompson wants to get arrested to send a message, then go smash up a HSBC office or something.

And what if they aren’t taken to court anytime soon?

What’s nonsense? Your link doesn’t contradict what I said. confused