As the SKWAWKBOX predicted last night, the mainstream media – including BBC News – have run prominent features this morning on the issue of Jeremy Corbyn’s tax return.
Even though it was debunked last night – to the abject humiliation of its originators.
Various figures who made themselves look foolish by jumping on the smear-bandwagon have been busy backtracking – or trying to cover their tracks – this morning.
Blairite MP Tom Blenkinsop couldn’t help himself – and then was obviously tipped off what an idiot he was going to look and deleted his tweet. Fortunately, Politwoops kept a copy:
Tory MP Steve Baker tweeted last year when Corbyn released his previous tax return – then panicked and re-found it to delete it last night:
Arch-tory blogger Guido Fawkes leaped in with a full-on smear about a ‘missing £40,000’:
Then, by this morning, he was singing a rather different tune:
Fawkes being Fawkes, there’s no retraction or correction, just a different angle of attack. So, Guido, ‘to be clear’ – these are figures from Corbyn’s PAYE (pay as you earn) numbers and descriptions shown on his payslips, just like the rest of us who pay tax through an employer. If you have a problem, take it up with the House of Commons salaries department.
The BBC meanwhile, did a half-retraction, but using wording that suggested there might still something fishy going on:
Some people might still be confused about the £40k vs £27k figures. This is simple: Corbyn only became leader of the opposition (LOTO) in late September 2015, so in the 2015/16 tax year (which ended 5 April 2016 and is the most recent completed tax year) he was only paid the LOTO supplement for a little over 6 months.
A couple of other things that you won’t hear blairites, Tories or the mainstream news mention: Jeremy Corbyn gave away at least £5,420 in donations to charity. Those are mentioned on page four of his tax return:
Those are just the payments he made under the Gift Aid scheme that allows charities to claim back part of the tax paid on donations. If Corbyn made other donations that weren’t under Gift Aid (for example to organisations that don’t qualify),those wouldn’t appear on his tax return – so the £5,420 is a minimum.
The other thing you won’t hear from the mainstream media or right-wingers is this little sentence from the summary page of his return:
Jeremy Corbyn paid more tax than he owed. Just like he did the previous year. So any suggestion otherwise exists only in the minds of people so desperate to smear Corbyn – or to deflect attention away from Chancellor Philip Hammond’s refusal to disclose a single line of his return – that they will leap onto any opportunity to throw mud.
And some are still doing so, even though they’re now known to be spreading ‘fake news’, presumably in the hope that some will stick anyway in the minds of many.
So, in summary, we have a situation in which Corbyn paid too much tax, lots of people picked up mud and threw it, some tried to cover their tracks, some tried to bluster their way out of it and the BBC corrected its own fake news in a way that appears designed to leave a stain – while ignoring that Corbyn actually overpaid his tax and gave away well over £5,000 to charity, while Philip Hammond, by hiding his tax return, suggests that he does have something to hide.
That’s the real news – and it’s up to you and me to get it out there.
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