What is more surprising? The fact that Baroness Ashton has slotted herself nicely into some sort of legal loophole that prevents her from having to pay full tax or the fact that, despite being born and raised her, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs has not been to Blighty at all in her current capacity as an EU supremo.
Well, neither really.
We shouldn't be surprised that yet again EU fatcats have conjured up ways to keep their claws on greedy stashes of taxpayers money (lest we forget that it is you, the citizen of the EU who is paying her wage and you, the citizen of the cash strapped UK who will not benefit from her withheld taxes). We should also not be surprised that 10 Downing Street is the last place the Labour, Europhile sovereignty sapping High Rep would want to go, well, at least while DC is trying to prove to his backbenchers that he IS serious about placing a stranglehold on the UK-EU power shift.
(I do usually cross reference with the BBC here, that bastion of neutrality of course, who unlike every other media platform in the UK has not reported Ashton loopholegate, so here is the Telegraph's representation)
According to that article: her salary of £230,000 a year(£100,000+ more than Hillary Clinton) is paid at a reduced tax rate that begins at eight per cent and only rises to 45 per cent after an earnings ceiling of £70,000. While the reduced rates are automatic, EU officials can choose to give the difference to the exchequer in their home country, a political party or a charity, but most, including her, do not.
So when she next, along with her cronies, stands up in front of Parliament and argues why the EU needs more money, or finances should be driven into this project, or in that direction, I hope someone points out that she herself could be a bit more honest about the state of her personal finances and the hypocrisy of Eurocrats banging on about the need for more investment from member states, when ultimately, nobody benefits but them.
It has also been in the news recently that the EU are fining British councils a total of around £1bn for misuse of funds etc. This is from the organisation that for a 14th year in a row has not had it's annual accounts signed off by auditors. Worse still is the added insult that under the Localism Bill, councils will be made liable for many of the fines imposed on the UK for breaking EU rules. So that means unsuspecting citizens will see local councils closing libraries, cutting street lighting, not repairing roads, reducing services all because Brussels says we have not spent the money we recoup from our huge membership fees as they wish.
Yet again, the solution isn't hard to imagine...