The Queen’s Controversy
In the first story today, we go to the UK to discuss the controversy surrounding the Queen. It was revealed by The Guardian this weekend that the Queen instructed lawyers to lobby the government to change a piece of legislation that would have uncovered her wealth to the public.
In the 1970s, the government wanted to introduce a law that would allow directors to demand the nominees that owned their company’s shares reveal their identities. The Queen, purportedly, wanted an exemption to this in order to ensure that the public didn’t know about her “embarrassing” wealth.
Now the Monarch does actually have some powers that come in handy when it comes to issues like this. The most notable being the Queen’s Consent. Essentially before Parliament is allowed to debate issues related to the Crown, the Monarch has to be given warning and has to sign off on the debate.
According to the Guardian, it’s because of this foresight about bills related to the Crown that allowed the Queen to employ lawyers to lobby the government to change the law – with the hope of getting that exemption.
The issue the government found was that a blanket exemption for the Crown would make it abundantly clear to the public what was going on, if the Queen didn’t have to report you could easily infer that there was a reason for that. So, on the advice of the Trade Secretary, Geoffrey Howe, the government was given the power to exempt various groups from the new rules. This would include: “heads of state, governments, central monetary authorities, investment boards and international bodies formed by governments” – however, the change was supposedly designed specifically to allow the government to exempt the Queen.
The BBC have reported, however, that Buckingham Palace stated that claims that the Queen tried to ‘block’ any legislation is “simply incorrect”. However, this is not the issue. The bill passed, albeit with amendment. The controversy here is how the Queen supposedly managed to amend the bill – not refuse it entirely – so this denial from the Palace may simply not be enough to make this controversy go away.
An Amazon Tax
For the second story today, we stay in the UK to discuss something known as the “excessive profits tax”. This is a tax that has supposedly been proposed as a way of paying for the pandemic. This could come alongside a tax on online retailers – an idea supposedly backed by the Chancellor. The logic behind these taxes are that online retailers have profited hugely from the lockdowns that have been imposed on high street companies.
People who may have previously spent the day looking around high street shops for furniture and TVs are now finding themselves unable to do so – and have decided instead to simply buy these things online from a company such as Amazon. Due to this, online retailers have seen huge profits at the cost of the high street – something that, it has been suggested, government may try to rectify through aggressive taxes on online retailers.
You’d be forgiven if you wondered exactly which party is in power at the moment in the UK upon hearing such speculation. Consider this happening outside a pandemic – a right-wing, Conservative government attempting to redistribute wealth by introducing huge taxes on companies making huge profits. It would simply be unheard of. But, it seems like this may well be the case.
To be clear, though, while speculation has suggested that these taxes may be implemented – this is pure speculation. Largely from The Telegraph. In fact, a Treasury source has stated that an excessive profits tax “is not something the Treasury is looking into”. So, we’ll need to see what happens.
Super Bowl 55
In the third story of today, we are looking at yesterday’s NFL SuperBowl 55.
One of the world’s biggest sporting events, it was held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – coincidentally this was the first time a team had played at their home stadium in SuperBowl history.
The stadium holds over 65,000 people, but as we are in a pandemic, there was no way it was going to be at full capacity. About 25,000 fans were admitted, including 7,500 healthcare staff who had been vaccinated. In addition, there were 30,000 cardboard cutouts of fans.
The game was billed as a face-off between the league’s current best quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, and the greatest of all time, Tom Brady. Kansas City were favourites, but in the end, it was a bit of a blowout in the other direction, with Brady’s Buccaneers winning 31-9.
For those of you who think the news is too long, be sure to check out tomorrow’s Daily Briefing.