Most accountants (other than Colonel “Mad Mike” Hoare, the mercenary and Chartered Accountant, who was eventually struck off after his conviction for leading an unsuccessful coup against the government of the Seychelles) are far more likely to be thought dull than dangerous. So it was a surprise to find that at least one member of the Scottish Parliament wants to deter you from reading my dangerous scribblings about tax and escorts. I’ve been redacted!
Back in December last year I submitted a response to the consultation document Rhoda Grant MSP launched as part of her attempt to criminalise the purchase of sex in Scotland. You can read what I said in the blog post I wrote at the time.
This week the Scottish Parliament published Rhoda Grant’s summary of the consultation responses, and alongside it she’s published on her own website the individual responses. They take a bit of finding because you have to follow a link in the summary document and then wade through a couple of badly thrown together Excel spreadsheets (why? I regard designing a spreadsheet as a quasi-spiritual process, and to see Excel abused in this way simply appalls me). And why there are two spreadsheets I have no idea: all the information could very easily have been put on a single spreadsheet and then sorted into a sensible order.
Eventually I found the published copy of my response. And guess what? It’s been censored, and the opening sentence now reads:
My name is Jolyon. I am an accountant and the author of [Redacted] which provides free tax advice to UK escorts and other individual sex workers.
Presumably Ms Grant thinks it is a very dangerous idea for sex workers to have access to a free source of reliable advice on how to meet their obligations to the state by paying tax on their business income. Or maybe she thinks TaxRelief4escorts is just another place where vulnerable women are lured into the clutches of rapacious and exploitative accountants?
In my original submission I wrote this:
Your proposal to criminalise the purchase of sex seems to be predicated upon the assumption that all sex workers are victims of violence who need the protection of the state. However the evidence of my web site is that there are substantial numbers of sex workers actively seeking tax advice and instructing accountants to help them comply with their legal obligations. These are not, I suggest, the behaviours of trafficked, pimped and coerced workers, but rather of individuals who having entered the industry with their eyes wide open are anxious to fulfill their obligations as business owners by registering and paying their taxes.
As well as protecting escorts from pimps, traffickers and punters, the saintly Ms Grant, now wants to protect you from accountants. Aren’t you the lucky ones?