Not Saussure

March 23, 2007

Telegraph watch

Filed under: press — notsaussure @ 8:02 pm

Dunno what’s going on here.     

Joshua Rozenberg has written a jokey report in The Telegraph about a High Court ruling as to whether establishments like Spearmint Rhino are required to pay VAT on the fees punters pay for “private dances”  (no, the court decided the club isn’t required to pay VAT since “private dances” and “sit downs” are services provided by the dancer, who is operating her own business; the club ‘does not make a supply of services for VAT purposes’).

Much chuckling by the bench during the course of the judgement as they take the opportunity to display judicial ignorance about exactly what the dancer’s job involved and make some bad puns in the process.

But the Telegraph’s sub-editors, possibly so overcome by the thought of lap dancers that their glasses have steamed up to the extent they couldn’t read the article, have headlined a story about HM Revenue and Customs losing the case (since the dancers don’t have to pay VAT unless they’re earning more than £64,000 a year, which most of them apparently aren’t) as ‘ Strippers are exposed to the taxman’ and captioned a photo ‘Exotic dancers must share their gains with the taxman’, which they must of course, in the form of income tax, but that’ not what the story was about.

It’s at this point one wants to cry ‘Don’t these people have editors?’ but they are the editors.

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  1. “A spokesman confirmed that dancers would not have to charge VAT unless they were earning more than £64,000 a year but could not say how much money Revenue and Customs would lose as a result of the ruling”.

    I thought numbers was the name of their game?

    Comment by jailhouselawyer — March 23, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

  2. Headline writers are complete crap. In my experience a typical headline tells you the subject of the article accurately about 95% of the time, and the conclusion accurately about 60% of the time. I documented a wonderful example of this back at my old blog. This BBC article from July 2006 is headlined “28-day terror limit ‘inadequate'” However if you read the article, it becomes clear that the report purportedly quoted in the headline actually says that there was no evidence that more than 28 days was necessary, or in other words the exact opposite of what the headline said.

    Comment by Dan Goodman — March 23, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

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