Monday, June 13, 2011

Social Stalls, Evil Prevails, Tories Cheer

So, Facebook seems to be going backwards in the UK, with half a million people disabling or neglecting their accounts in the past month. Is it the next Second Life or MySpace ?

At roughly the same time France bans its public broadcasters from favouring the American social media giants, whilst the UK government says that it is going to delivery democracy via this American capitalist machine. Yes, the Tories are going to put the delivery of our government onto an American social network. You just couldn't make it up. If only we had any kind of political opposition in the UK, they could already have ousted the teenage ditherers who are now running our land (well, apart from Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland).

If there is one thing that has come to embody our dreadful coalition senior partners, it is their willingness to think that American multinationals have the answer to everything. The Tories in the UK are more tea party than the most rabid Palin supporter in the States. Labour was bad enough with PFI, as the current Southern Cross debacle is beginning to show, now we have a philosophy that seems to think that the benevolence of the markets, and US multinationals in particular, is the only answer that we have left in the UK.

Google is the best thing since sliced bread, and we should build similar companies in the UK. Well, Mr Cameron, the main reason we can't build similar companies in the UK is that they get crushed by Google doing things for free, subsidised by their tax dodging. My holding company pays tax at around 20% in the UK (and then another 30% in income tax and 13% in NI) - Google pays less than 3% in corporation tax. So, my small companies cannot win, whatever we do, since the UK Government hobbles us with a 17% growth tax against American multinational. And there are plenty of other examples of this beyond Google.

At the same time, the US grant stupid, sweeping patents for the most obvious of things, even when there is huge previous art, whereas patenting anything in the UK in time to protect and commercialise it is now impossible, in my view.

So, the French model is intriguing. They, of course, have a huge nuclear industry and energy security, so don't need to send their troops to be massacred in wars that can never be won. They also haven't sold out most of their infrastructure to German and American companies and to an overseas government like, er.. France, who own 27% of Orange, for example, as well as some of our major water companies.

So, a company like Daily Motion, often coined as the runt cousin to YouTube, was heavily invested in the the French government and then bought by Orange. In the Bay area they create an ecosystem around private money, the French have done the same with public money in a clever way.

So, after my latest tax bills (that would be NI, PAYE, VAT and corporation taxes), which take away a huge amount of the value my companies have created - largely through export - I've decided it simply isn't worth bothering trying to build a company in the UK unless it's the family firm and you get lifetime CGT relief.

So, Mr Cameron, would you be seen being driven around in a Chevy, built in the US, or drinking Bud, or outsourcing all of our defence IT procurement to the Japanese (oops, that last one wasn't your fault, that was Maggie) ? So stop selling our country's core assets to other European governments and to grasping Americans who will, duh, take 20% off the top that we could have re-invested, That's much more expensive than the 3-4% we would have to pay to fund our own infrastructure. And stop selling the entrepreneurs in this country down the swanee by subsidising massive American competitors who can crush any nascent competitors by undermining their business models using tax lawyers, not a free market.

So, Mr Cameron, stop supporting the massive interests of huge, grasping online and offline multinationals with money to bribe, cajole and gain access that the vast majority of small UK businesses, which should be supported to the hilt by their Government, never have.