Saturday, March 25, 2006

Money, Money Everywhere

What I find most frustrating is the inability, or unwillingness, of the media to follow a story to its proper conclusion.

In the early 1970's I saw a brilliant news item on TV. Apparently some clever clogs down in London had come up with a superb way of paying no tax or national insurance on their wages. What they did, with their employer's (perhaps his name was Del Boy?) collusion, was take their pay in gold sovereigns. These small coins, with a nominal value of one pound, were, and still are, legal tender in the U.K. So, they took their pay at say two pounds a week – in gold sovereigns. Wages, so low that they were not obliged to pay tax or national insurance. But, of course, the gold sovereign itself was worth a lot more. Just take it to a goldsmiths and exchange it for a large portion of cash. Very neat. Lubbly, jubbly as Del Boy would say.

Perfectly legal as the news item pointed out. And, very clever. Just the sort of human interest story that deserves the occasional outing on the news. Problem was - that was the last I ever heard of it! These were, of course, the days long before the Internet and easy research tools. Although I can't prove it, I believe the government stepped in (somehow) to stop this clever scam before the whole nation went back on the gold standard and no-one paid any tax! The media were, and still are, silent on this subject.

Point is – it's happening all over again. Remember the 54 million the crooks walked off with from the Kent storage depot? Well, surprisingly, the story has disappeared! It was exactly a month ago that I wrote about the efforts of the police to bag the crooks who had nabbed a large sum and then left lots of it laying about. Found some in Kent. Found some in Bexleyheath. Found some in Croydon (my favourite)! Woman walks into a building society branch and tries to deposit five thou still wrapped in the paper bands it had on when the robbers lifted it. A few people have been taken into custody in this case. Mostly on suspicion of handling stolen goods. Some 20 odd million is still missing.

What is the media doing? Not much. Today they finally, after a month of silence, reported another arrest. Another small fry apparently. In the intervening month – nothing – the story has just disappeared. If someone could explain this to me, I'd be very grateful.

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