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Daily Mail Group & Telegraph pull our Tax Dodger Ads

January 4th, 2011 by

This morning our “George Osborne The Artful Dodger” tax dodger ad was meant to run in the Metro, Guardian, Indepdendent and the i.

It has become clear that the Daily Mail group of newspapers (which includes the Metro) pulled out of running our ads at the last minute – they were meant to appear in the Metro this morning but there was no sign of them. We’re trying to find out what their excuses are and will update this blog post with the latest developments.

The Telegraph also refused to run the ad.

You can view the ad here: on page 28 of the i, page 18 of the Independent and page 14 of the Guardian.

Update 1: Left Foot Forward have more details here

Update 2: Here’s the ad

George Osborne as the Artful Dodger Ad

Photograph by 38 Degrees

Update 3: If you want to complain about our ads being pulled you can email the editors at the papers that didn’t run the ads here: managingeditor@dailymail.co.uk (Daily Mail); telegraphenquiries@telegraph.co.uk (Daily Telegraph); news.london@ukmetro.co.uk (Metro)

Update 4: We’ve just heard from the Metro why they refused to print our ad. Here’s a copy of the email they sent:
“I gave it the OK before Christmas, but said it would have to be pulled if there was any controversy, and now Conservative HQ are on the attack over the ‘tax dodger’ claims.
“I don’t have a problem with the group advertising with us but obviously we don’t want to run anything that could be viewed as libellous.”
And here’s David’s response:
“It’s a bit implausible that they were genuinely worried about libel – we had been told that the adverts had been looked at and approved by their libel lawyers several days earlier, they’d been looked at and approved by 38 Degrees libel lawyers several days before that, and several other papers felt comfortable running them.”

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  • http://twitter.com/deniswalker Denis Walker

    Great – this will get more publicity than if they'd just run the ads :-)

  • Michael Loftus1

    Now you know how it feels.
    Remember the Scottish BBC bias campaign, which you lied about.

  • http://twitter.com/Actlovewalktalk Peter Hicks

    #George Osbourne needs to be paying his taxes – as do multinationals. Its not about robbing from the rich to give to the poor, its about playing fair!

  • Simon

    As Dennis Walker wrote, if you work this right then you should be able to massively amplify the effect with little extra spending. I'm sure there will be plenty in the media ready to report on “the ads they refused to print”.

  • Paul Aron

    Hey – let's give the Mail & Telegraph credit where it's due: perhaps they are in favour of people dodging taxes….

  • Doreenogden

    Any chance of posters being available for labour members to display in home windows across the country ?

  • Davidcrowson

    Well done for your continued hard work on this campaign – it's hardly surrprising to see the 'usual suspects' in the right wing press responding to type. As someone has already said – their refusal to print (at the agreed price) is likely to generate more publicity anyway.

  • Spag_hoops

    Why Labour members? Shouldn't those of us who don't suck up to any particular political party have more right to put up these posters than anyone else? Labour are as much to blame as anyone. It's through their own corruption and incompetence that the current lot got in in the first place. I'd hope 38 degrees doesn't favour any particular party, otherwise I'm asking for my donation back.

  • gasinoreg

    More tax dodging reported in Private Eye – this time it's HSBC

    http://www.private-eye.co.uk/s…

  • Gordon Mackley

    No great surprise. These are of course just the type of people who would witter on about preserving the value of 'free speech' in Britain but then hypocrisy is hardly a novel concept in the British press!

  • http://twitter.com/putt1ck Chris Puttick

    I would note that (a) finding a way to legally minimise the tax you pay (avoidance) is quite sensible[1] and that (b) illegally not paying tax (evasion) is the biggest portion of the £120bn figure you quote (apparently the actual source for this is work by Richard Murphy and John Christensen) with even the TUC only quoting £25bn for avoidance[2]. And like so many things with really big numbers attached, you'll find that much evasion is not a few multi-billionaires taking suitcases of diamonds through customs, but many sole traders taking cash in hand on the occasional job, or those doing a little work on the side and then not reporting that income. Many small amounts making very large amounts when aggregated.

    When I joined 38 Degrees mailing list I was under the impression that it was a sensible campaign group, using people power to bring real change. But curiosity about the £120bn figure lead to a little research which uncovers the facts behind the numbers, which is makes this campaign look like a smear one, not a change one. Are other campaigns the same?

    [1] Personally I've avoided filling the forms until going freelance this year, because I couldn't face it for the small amounts I knew I could claim e.g. my membership of my professional body (Institute for the Management of Information Systems in case you were wondering), but most “avoidance” is just claiming those things you are entitled under law to claim.

    [2] An excellent and informed discussion can be found here: http://www.publications.parlia…

  • http://twitter.com/raymondonia ray turner

    RT..

  • jim

    Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and Co. make much of the “fact” that we are all in this together. If the ordinary working man/woman is put out of work he/she will make a personal sacrifice of up to 60% of his/her income. How much personal sacrifice are the millionaires on the governments front bench prepared to make to prove that we are all in this together?

  • jim

    Would the goverment please tell the country whom we are in debt to?

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.chewter Robert Chewter

    THIS IS OSBOURNE PRE ELECTION PROMISE..MIND YOU HE ALSO BLAME THE PUBLIC FOR THE 'DEFECIT'…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new…

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.chewter Robert Chewter

    Apparently we are in debt to the banks who we lent 1.3 trillion quid to…and er..hmm yeah i dont get it either?..shouldnt they be paying us back?

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.chewter Robert Chewter

    seems that osbourne was gonna 'crack down' on the corps tax fiddlers…pre election..er what happend? did he forget?..

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new…

  • Simon

    Well it obviously touched a sore spot if the ads were pulled by the Daily Fail and The Torygraph, no smoke without fire eh!!! Just goes to show we live in a Corporate Communist state, the Politburo made up of tax avoiding multi-millionaires and their chums. Keep up the good work 38 Degrees.

  • Stirling222

    Remember not to confuse politicians with party members.

  • http://twitter.com/ReFocusOnline ReFocus

    Seems like we are getting too close to the truth! Makes us laugh when the people making these decisions believe they won't be exposed. At least we have a voice with 38 degrees. Let's keep getting the message out there.

  • Gillbusher

    the whole thing is disgusting……….we no longer seem to have freedom of speech without undertones….I despair of this government and the so called freedom press…… but what did we all expect…lies seem to be a normal way of life nowerdays, and they take great delight in rubbing it in our faces!

  • jwarren

    cheers chris for the link to the discussion in the house of commons. Cor, that John Redwood still thinks its ok so long as you can get away with it doesn't he!

  • galahad

    The Mail loves to publish banner headlines about welfare state scroungers but seems to come over all timid and shy when it comes to exposing the rich cheats. Benefit 'cheats' work the system so how are they worse than people being employed to find obscure loopholes in the tax system. That old saying that it doesn't matter who you vote for the government gets in couldn't be more true now.

  • Harlandallister

    why don't we have a list of papers that don't print 38 Degrees adverts
    so we can choose which ones we would like to buy ?

  • Ross1923

    Since the ad has had the desired effect ~ of rattling them ~ put other ads from the contributed volume straight into print. And as stickers at bus stops. But not only one ad. Hit them from all directions. See the Tax Ads Pool. Use them all if necessary. There is no reason to use only the “approved” ad. A bit of anarchy will not go amiss here. Let's not play by rules. They don't.

    There are many disrespectful, thought provoking, aggressive ads, to make them take notice.

    Hit them with everything, as cheaply as possible.

    Encourage supporters to print A4 versions on home printers and hand them out anywhere to spread the message. Put them in shop windows or hand them out in the streets or at football matches. But above all, keep up the pressure in low or no-cost ways.

    And never give in.

  • Markjsemple

    A couple of things spring out of the Eye article; firstly, it is one person who makes the decision over whether the huge vodafone corp pays company liable tax (that it's liable for anyway!)
    secondly, shouldn't the British company that owns HSBC Holdings Asia BV be liable for tax? as it is a UK based company

    Also, we are home to most of the tax havens in the world – which is pretty much the sole reason london is the financial capital it is. Are there any plans to do a bit of manufacturing or summat so we can get around this problem as a nation?

  • http://twitter.com/craigmcgill Craig McGill

    Can I just ask why 38 Degrees is supporting the companies which do their best to not pay full whack tax. The Guardian is well known for the tax avoidance schemes it has been carrying out, yet 38 Degrees went and gave it advertising money.

    Surely that was a bit wrong no? Or are you only going after some companies?

  • Andy

    I'm not surprised the ad was refused. It seems to suggest that tax 'avoidance' is also wrong and criminal, when in fact it is perfectly normal. This ad is pure political bile, and has no place in ANY newspaper.

  • Edward Davies

    This lot in power makes me want to puke.
    They're turning the screws on the majority of working people. yet are making sure they and their wealty and powerful friends don't suffer any pain.

  • Katykoo

    Why dont you just organise a demonstration about tax dodging. Its obvious tory papers aren't going to print this ad. And good point about paying for these ads! Why pay the Torygraph anything!!

  • http://www.philtaylor.org.uk Phil Taylor

    38 Degrees,

    Whoever you are?

    Would you like to to substantiate your £120 billion figure?

    The June budget predicted that total government receipts would be £548 billion in 2010-2011. Just how on earth did you come up with £120 billion? 22% of total receipts? £120 billion is a fantasy figure.

  • Stewey

    Hi Craig, it isn't enough just to advertise to like-minded people, the result is that we just talk to ourselves. What is needed to cut through right wing propaganda and for that to happen people who are fooled by what they write need to be convinced and exposed to opinions contrary to what they are reading in the paper.

    So while it seems bad to be paying these papers to advertise in them, the end justifies the means in this instance.

  • Stewey

    Exactly right Ross, a bit of social disobedience is exactly what should be happening. Had the suffragets (probably spelt that wrong) not been willing to cause some trouble, women might still not have the right to vote in this day and age.

  • Ann

    Tax avoidance is perfectly normal? The majority of people pay tax by PAYE, it is not a 'choice' for them. It is not criminal, but perhaps it should be.

  • Radfax

    Once again they try to control the real voices of the people.
    Ignore negative rumours, the force is with us.United for freedom, liberty, justice and peace for all

  • Ollyb_1st

    Katykoo – the TUC and, hopefully, organisations such as this is having a massive rally on 26 March to protest against the way in which the government is acting

  • Alan Bond

    This figure just goes to show how big the extent of the problem is and remember it's been going on since 1980 – that's a lot of billions stolen from us by fat cats.

  • Alan Bond

    The Guardian is not a company but is actually run by a Trust fund so nobody profits from its operation.

  • cynicalHighlander

    38 Degrees are run by people trying to better their own prominence and using people to justify their existance.
    http://38degrees.uservoice.com…

  • flaming

    I saw the ad in Tuesday's edition of “i” newspaper.
    It attracted me to google the 38 degrees website.
    Excellent stuff! Posters who are against “the black” – would point out it is small beer compared to the huge and ongoing sums from big compaies; tax paid by non tax paying companies and celeb. mega rich individuals would get us out of the debt
    in a short time.

  • Fcbauer

    I emailed the Metro (please do the same…) with:
    Good morning,

    I am part of a group that invested money to buy advertising into your newspaper recently, we had booked these adverts nationwide as part of a campaign.
    The group in question is ’38 DEGREES’ we had booked advertising to appear in the Metro newspaper in good faith, but we were informed at the last minute that you would not be running these ads, WHY?

    Here’s an exert from the website we use that explains your companies response to us when we asked initially why you did not run these adverts, this is taken from here – http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2…
    “Update 3: If you want to complain about our ads being pulled you can email the editors at the papers that didn’t run the ads here: managingeditor@dailymail.co.uk (Daily Mail); telegraphenquiries@telegraph.co.uk (Daily Telegraph); news.london@ukmetro.co.uk (Metro)
    Update 4: We’ve just heard from the Metro why they refused to print our ad. Here’s a copy of the email they sent:
    “I gave it the OK before Christmas, but said it would have to be pulled if there was any controversy, and now Conservative HQ are on the attack over the ‘tax dodger’ claims.
    “I don’t have a problem with the group advertising with us but obviously we don’t want to run anything that could be viewed as libellous.”
    And here’s David’s response:
    “It’s a bit implausible that they were genuinely worried about libel – we had been told that the adverts had been looked at and approved by their libel lawyers several days earlier, they’d been looked at and approved by 38 Degrees libel lawyers several days before that, and several other papers felt comfortable running them.”
    I would like to know how exactly this could have been viewed as libelous when you’d had and approved the adverts prior to print, our group ’38 DEGREES’ had also had them approved by libel lawyers, so how is it that your newspaper can simply pull the adverts and trot out that as an excuse when quite clearly it’s no excuse at all? We are not willing to accept this as a valid reason at all, clearly you are bowing to political pressure and that’s not what the ‘FREE PRESS’ should be about is it?
    By not running the adverts, your company has only served to add more fuel to the fire, as you’ll now be fielding emails like this and also have our members posting things like this all over their social media etc

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter,

    Regards

  • Larry Bracewell

    Like paying yourself a “dividend” instead of a salary? You trivialise what could ultimately bring our whole capitalist society crashing down! If the rules are not properly enforced, human nature will ultimately destroy itself!

  • John Beech

    The fact that Tory newspapers refuse to publish your ad. proves that they– Best friends of the tax dodgers- are running scared. This is the first time this iussue has been brought effectively to the attention of the tax-paying public. In the context of savage cuts to public services, there is much public anger about the scale of tax-dodging to be exploited. We need to re-direct anger about benfits scrounging [a puny amount compared to the £120b identified] towards massive tax dodging…..

  • Monsalvat

    Piffle!

  • EWW

    Fabulous website!!! Your Artful Dodger campaign caught my eye today and I have just registered to support your website. These people should not be allowed to get away with these shameful acts while the rest of us non-millionaires are suffering vat hikes and increased tuition fees!! I'm a mature Social Science student and dread what this once great country has in store for my six and two year old children.

  • EIRAWINROW

    That'll be the same Daily Mail that encouraged it's readers to complain to the BBC about a radio broadcast with Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand that they'd never even heard, right? NOT IN MY BACK YARD, DAILY MAIL!!!!

  • Larry Bracewell

    What is happening today? Have heard nothing from David or anyone, are you being Gagged?

  • Chris_cheetham_2002

    He's a millionaire shafting the poorest in society – in my mind that makes him a criminal along with the rest of the cabinet millionaires

  • David Humphrey

    That doesn't answer Phil Taylor's question at all. If you want to be taken seriously, you should at least quote primary references, give a breakdown of the overall number into categories of avoidance, and, given your reply, should now clarify whether your figure is for one year or for all years from 1980.

  • Grant Ford

    Terrific advert,brilliant campaign.

    Keep up the excellent work.

  • Spag_hoops

    But why be a member of a party that is led by politicians who have their own interests at heart, not the people's? Doesn't that make you part of the problem, not part of the solution?

  • Spag_hoops

    There's a big difference between claiming expenses, outgoings etc. which I see as informing Inland Revenue accurately about what my income _is_ and moving that income around from account to account to avoid paying the right amount of tax on it. I think doing the former still means I'm an honest person, the latter would make me a crook.