By John Charles Dyer, UK Correspondent
28 July 2012.
It is quiet tonight.
The nation focuses on the Olympics. GS4’s failure to deliver on its security contract, the call up of hundreds of troops to rescue them, Lord Ashcroft’s £7 million NHS profits, even new “hackgate” arrests, are just shadows at the edges of the Olympic sunrise. The Olympics - and the nation’s pride and celebration at holding them - have overwhelmed political news.
To be sure, it is also the Parliamentary recess. But for the moment the warm glow of the Olympics has overtaken the political fuss and fury. The focus engenders a surreal calm, an inexplicable good cheer given the actual state of affairs not only in the UK, the Eurozone and the US, but across the globe.
A good time to reflect.
Mitt Romney triggered a brief flurry. Romney provoked universal indignation commenting negatively on British preparations for the Olympics.
Romney’s staff exacerbated the outrage. Someone “leaked” an alleged security briefing by British intelligence. That just isn’t done. The secrecy of the intelligence service is sacrosanct. Briefings are reserved for a select and cleared few.
An American criticizing British performance is tricky ground indeed, as I am only too aware. I've lost friends offended by mine.
It raises a fair question. How is me being critical any different from Romney?
When I retired to the UK, I embraced my tax paying responsibilities under the Tax Treaty between the US and the UK. I pay full tax on my entire income. I do not avoid those responsibilities by taking advantage of the non domicile provisions of the tax code (which could minimize my tax burden). I pay full freight. I'm proud of it.
Romney allegedly built his wealth in part by minimizing his US tax. When confronted with that allegation, he failed to produce tax returns from a time before he knew he would be running for President so the American people could see the documentation.
Romney, a rich man, allegedly avoids the taxes of the nation he aspires to lead. I, a retired public servant, pay full freight.
I participate actively in civic life. The government (and friends) may not always like what I say, but I am an equal opportunity critic. I am sometimes also positive (as in my comments on the Queen, the actions of the Church of England, and the British Foreign Office). Even when critical, I make constructive suggestions.
Romney simply implied the negative to an American audience without providing constructive suggestion to his British hosts.