It is interesting how quickly people like to change the subject to someone else’s wrongdoing when they get caught out. Recently, our esteemed BBC got caught out. Twice, actually.
Tax Avoidance for Me (but Not for Thee)
Over the summer, the BBC came under scrutiny over the way it paid its employees. They said three hundred employees had tax-avoidance arrangements.
A month ago, we learned it may be 25,000 employees. The BBC forced employees onto a plan to dodge employer National Insurance (13.8% on all earnings). It is “important to the economics of the BBC,” so it is saving money — tax avoidance. It may be an illegal violation of IR35.
Let’s Change the Subject, Shall We?
Less than two weeks later, a major headline on the BBC website screamed, “Starbucks paid just £8.6m UK tax in 14 years.” The headline was dishonest. Starbucks paid far more than £8.6m in VAT and National Insurance (maybe the BBC is allergic to discussing NI :)), as well as providing employment for many who pay income tax.
Next was eBay, less than a week later. Then Apple. Of course, many people won’t read the article, just the headline, and so won’t see what the BBC admits:
It has not been suggested that any of their tax avoidance schemes are illegal.
All of the companies pay considerable amounts of other taxes in the UK, such as National Insurance, and raise large sums of VAT.
This weekend, it was “State School Teachers Employed by Tax-Avoiding Firm” — exactly what the BBC does.
The articles mentioning low corporate taxes all mention others who have been criticised for (legal) corporate tax avoidance. None mention the BBC’s own dubious tax avoidance.
Exposing the Scandalous Cover-up
I’m not going to link to any of this, because no one needs to fill their minds with the details. Most of us already know too much about the Jimmy Savile scandal. A BBC star apparently abused hundreds of kids, many on BBC property, and the BBC covered it up. A BBC Newsnight investigation was stopped last year — but it all came out last month.
Let’s Change the Subject, Shall We?
This weekend, the BBC had (amazingly) a Newsnight report about a politician who was allegedly involved in abusing children in Wales. It’s old news — the allegations were investigated long ago. But perhaps there was a cover-up, and if someone got away with wickedness back then, he should be tried and convicted (as many were in the 90s).
But are the people at Newsnight (of all programmes) not embarrassed to resurrect an old cover-up scandal right now, when their own current cover-up scandal is raging?
The BBC articles discussing this new/old scandal don’t mention their own problems….
Learning Our Lesson
It is easy to blast away at BBC hypocrisy, but more profitable to take a lesson for ourselves about “the deceitfulness of sin,” about how we should respond when we stumble.
What the BBC has done here, while wrong, is natural. We all prefer to discuss something else when we’ve done wrong. But God does NOT approve talking of others who sin (in similar or different ways) when we’ve gone astray. It dishonours Him to behave as if His attention is diverted by such tactics. Nor should we diminish the glories of His forgiveness by acting as if it is unavailable or incomplete.
I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
Changing the subject to others’ sins is simply a way to hide our own iniquity. God’s solution is full confession and forgiveness. It may be embarrassing, but it is healing. Full confession removes the fear of exposure — you don’t worry about the rest of the facts coming out. It restores confidence in His great love when His forgiveness conquers and replaces our sin.
Follow-up post: Quick! Dig Yourself in Deeper!
Our anger is most easily aroused against the sins of which we are also guilty.
Often true. And when we add that to the temptation of wanting to deflect attention from our own sin, we can easily end up being very hypocritical.
And surely the Police do not arrest and bail someone without prima facie evidence…
I wish I had your confidence, Franky. Try telling that to the family of a Scotsman who had a table leg in a bag and was shot and killed in Hackney by the police because they accepted hearsay evidence that his accent was Irish and he had something that looked like it might have been a gun in a plastic bag in a public place, or the the man who used to live down the street from me, a manual worker whose schoolboy stepson attacked him but his wife and stepson accused the man of attacking stepson. I tell you that the man could have blown his stepson into the middle of next week by sneezing in his general direction from 20 yards away. The man had a wound on his nose where stepson had hit it (it needed stitches at the local A&E) but the lad was totally unharmed. Man was arrested and held overnight in the cells at the local cop shop. Police are like the rest of us, human and therefore fallible.
As with all public officials, we hope and pray they will do right. There are checks and restraints in place that help reduce problems, but as you said, Fred, they are fallible and make mistakes, and they are sinners who just blatantly do wrong sometimes. Just like the rest of us.