Bad 4 television has been accused of exploiting contributors and pandering to prejudices about tax avoiders with it's new reality show set in Goldblock Tower.
The first episode of Avoiders Tower made for extraordinary viewing. It
showed residents discussing schemes for avoiding paying their rent to me. It also featured meetings with their accountants where they planned how to take advantage of various tax loopholes and tax avoidance schemes.
After the first episode aired, Desmond Moneybags, a banker who featured in the show, told the Homeward Gazette:
"They said they wanted to film for a TV show about how great community
spirit is in the tower. I participated in the show on that belief. But this programme has nothing to do with community, which you can tell
from the title. It's all about people in the tower quaffing champagne, getting huge bonuses, eating caviar and dossing around all day. It makes people out as
complete arses !"
Ivor Goldsack, who claimed during the film to have got three times his salary in bonuses and squirreled it away in Monaco, came to his front door and chatted to
neighbours but was reluctant to discuss the documentary. "It's all nonsense,"
said Ivor. "I only doubled my salary - I was just boasting to impress the other members of the golf club. My wife lives in Monaco and she owns me - so everything I earn is legitimately untaxable !"
Another resident, Rich Ascroesus, who was watching a dwarf polishing his front-door knocker, said: "I'm just a cleaner. I launder money on a hot cycle for the other residents. I pay my taxis - I mean taxes."
It's disgusting," said Hyacinth Lottadosh, who featured in episode two in a
subplot that followed the tower's dwarf throwing competition. "It's not a fair picture of what
the tower is like. All the dwarfs who were thrown got half a crown each - and they were very grateful for it, I can assure you. A lot of them are living off the benefits and the whole event raised five pounds and five shillings. A dwarf can easily live off that for a whole year you know ! They are making us look terrible, which we are not. There was one shot of me guffawing and knocking back the champers when a dwarf landed on his head - well, it was funny!"
The broadcaster rejects claims that residents were tricked into taking
part by claiming the programme was all about community spirit. Beaver Hateman
insisted there had been no significant complaints from the participants "Well just those that don't like the old tax man seeing their shenanigans! " he claimed. He also defended the name of the programme, which has upset many
householders. "The majority of residents are tax avoiders," he said.
The executive producer of Avoiders Tower, Hitmouse, denied on
Tuesday that the makers had "bribed" the residents with promises of an expenses paid Champneys weekend spa break.
In an article in 'The Guardian' newspaper, Mister Phillip Hensher argues that something should be done to keep literature at the heart of national life. He uses the example of the belated republishing of my biographies in the United Kingdom as one example of how this may be achieved.
He goes on to suggest that a government recommendation that it is good for you to read 15 books a year might also help.
I used to be a great reader, but since taking my degree I must admit I have read very little. The burden of leadership has been too great, leaving me little time to indulge in the pleasures of fiction. I do find time, however, for the occasional factual discourse on the subjects of economics and good governance.
Also, I still order at least a thousand books every year, for my library, and there is always a vast pile there waiting to be put on shelves.
The building consists of a stupendous hall which goes all round the bases of four big towers that are set about a lake. It's really four rooms in one, and the rooms are so big that if you want to go from one of them to the one opposite it's easier to row across than to walk around. Good boats have been provided for this. Although the lake comes right up to just below the windows, the hall is perfectly dry. It has books going up so high that you can't possibly see where the top rows are, but luckily there's a patent step-ladder with a chair at the back. One simply presses a button and the chair soars right up to the ceiling, so that you can easily reach the topmost books.
Free boating and reading holidays to the library are offered to all the inhabitants of my towers.
This has two successful outcomes - it ensures that all the citizens of Homeward are as well read as possible, and all the rowing improves their fitness !
The Library is a popular destination for winter holidays. The lake freezes over and is perfect for a spot of ice skating. Then, after this physical exertion, guests can curl up by one of the nine immense gas fires that surround the library. What could be better on a cold winter evening?
This is my own little contribution to celebrating the power of reading and the value of literature.
If Messrs Cameron or Gove wish to contact me for further advice I am more than happy to oblige.
I have been recognised in the King of the Badger's New Year Honours list.
I am now a YOB, a Yeoman of the Order of Badgers.
I am very humbled, but also delighted.
Of course, the Badfort Crowd have tried to insinuate that he has just given me the medal because of all the money I lend him, and that he should reward achievement, not cronyism!
The King of the Badgers has assured me that no such thoughts were in his mind, and that this honour is a recognition of my many charitable works. He did complain a bit though about the cost of minting all these medals, which had left him a bit short of funds - so I lent him another few thousand, which I suspect I may never see again.
Given this generous donation, I was a little aggrieved to find that the medal was made of tin, sprayed gold.
There was also, more than a little, surprise when it was announced that George Osbadger, the Town Hall Treasurer, had been made Badger of the Year. Given that he was booed at the Homeward Olympics, he can hardly be described as a popular choice.
Many have put the honour he has received down to his policy of subsiding new burrows by giving out loans for spades and other excavation tools.
The King of the Badgers is very pleased, as he gets extra rates for every new burrow built.
However, the Badfort Crowd claim that this is just getting young badgers into even greater debt "They are literally, digging their own graves!" declared Beaver Hateman.