Protesters against tax avoidance are choosing the wrong target in Topshop

The campaign against companies avoiding paying tax by being based offshore got loads of extra publicity at the weekend by targeting Topshop branches around the country, but aside from the fact there appears to have been a nasty undercurrent to the protests, particularly in Brighton, they are choosing the wrong target.

The protesters anger over Green’s tax status might better be directed at the government. Like very many businessmen and businesses, he arranges his tax affairs in the way that suits him best and which is within the law. The previous government had years to change the system and didn’t, and if the new one wanted to it could tomorrow.

Green’s businesses do pay tax in the UK and provide jobs for over 40,000 people. Increasingly Topshop in particular is a global brand which the UK can be proud of. Maybe the protesters should head to the Guardian’s offices to protest about its offshore holdings too, which you don’t see Polly Toynbee writing about on its pages very often.

But I wonder if Philip is regretting helping David Cameron out with his review of government spending? By doing it he left himself exposed to the brutal and very personal world of political journalists and acitivists, for no personal gain except a perhaps a better chance of making it to the Lords. Now the protesters have got the bit between their teeth, I fear we might not have heard the last of the anti-Topshop protests.