Brazil's World Cup 'annihilation' by Germany, tax avoidance and migration
- 9 July 2014
Stunned, humiliated, blown apart, annihilated, mullered.
These are just some of the words used on front and back pages alike to describe the state of Brazil's football team - and the host nation's public - after their 7-1 World Cup semi-final hammering at the hands of Germany.
Striking images of the Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, face wrought with anguish, as he and the ball end up in the net appear in many papers. Others use photographs of David Luiz, the former Chelsea central defender who the Independent describes as going "from leader figure to symbol of national disgrace" in the space of 90 minutes.
"The images of him staring, startled, at what was happening are what many will take from this," writes the paper's Ewan MacKenna.
The Times's Matt Dickinson writes: "The ultimate humiliation was saved for last when the Brazil players gathered in the middle of the pitch and tried to applaud those supporters who had not already fled the embarrassment. As the jeers rolled off the terraces, the humbled members of the Selecao (selected team) were forced to abandon the gesture, many sobbing as they fled down the tunnel."
The Daily Mail's photo montage captures "the tears and tantrums of the fans" who, the Daily Mirror's Martin Lipton writes, had come "for the mother of all parties". He adds: "It ended with a nation in trauma. In shame. In humiliation." The Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward believes: "The indignity of this night will haunt Brazilian football for generations."
Reworking its famous "Swedes 2, Turnips 1" headline, the Sun marks the score "Rabbits 1 Herrs 7". Referring to the rapid scoring of Germany's second, third and fourth goals, the paper's Charlie Wyett says Brazil's World Cup "knees up... ended in the space of 179 seconds... A bit like the moment the music stops at a house party, the lights are flicked on and the police pile through the front door".
However, the papers also give due credit to the German team, with the Daily Express's headline using an ironic twist on the popular terrace chant to describe Joachim Low's side as "just like watching Brazil".
"By the end of this utterly mesmerising masterclass... the fans were chanting 'ole' - and that was the Brazilian fans. Germany were so fluid in their movement, so clinical in their finishing that even the vanquished had to applaud," writes the Telegraph's Henry Winter.
Meanwhile Joe Callaghan, in the Independent, wonders if Germany's "golden generation can finally shine" by winning the final.
The Times takes aim at a number of "top businessmen, criminals, celebrities, QCs, NHS doctors, party donors and a judge" who it claims "tried to shelter £1.2bn through one of Britain's most aggressive tax avoidance schemes".
All were investors in the Liberty tax strategy, which was not illegal but faces an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) challenge against its methods, the paper says, noting that tax avoidance costs the economy "at least £5bn a year". Explaining why it believes such schemes to be "technically legal and still wrong", the paper's editorial argues: "It is unfair on fellow citizens because it imposes a higher burden on them, and it is especially unfair when avoidance schemes are available only to the wealthy."
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror says David Beckham is among 1,300 people, including many famous names, who've been warned they might have to pay a total of £520m to the taxman after investing in Ingenious Media, which funds films. "HM Revenue and Customs believes they were a means of dodging tax rather than a legitimate investment," says the paper, although it quotes Ingenious Media describing the payment demands as "indiscriminate and unfair". The Beckhams' spokesman reportedly says the couple have "never been involved in aggressive tax avoidance schemes".
And the taxman's determined his reach ought not to end at the rich and famous, according to the Mail, with HMRC demanding "intrusive new powers to spy on the last 12 months of everybody's bank statements". The paper adds: "This would mean sensitive personal details such as the size of families' monthly mortgage payments, how much they spend in restaurants and the amount saved into a tax-free nest egg are open to scrutiny."
The Mail has two cartoonists address the issues, with Pugh imagining a tax official glancing at a man's bank statement and telling him: "£9.99 on your wife's birthday present doesn't seem very much, does it?" Mac pictures a couple interrupting a break-in to be told by a man who's rummaging through their safe: "Burglar? Certainly not - I'm the local unpaid taxes collector."
Migrants and jobs
"Migrants do take our jobs," is the unequivocal headline on the Daily Express's front page. Reporting the results of a survey by the Home Office's Migration Advisory Committee, it tells readers: "Britons are losing out to foreign workers with one in six low-skilled jobs now held by an immigrant."
Inside, the paper's editorial argues: "The figures really do speak for themselves, loudly, clearly and conclusively."
However, after digesting the same report, the Independent's headline sets out: "The truth about immigration: no impact on jobs, welfare or crime." The paper's Nigel Morris writes: "Sustained immigration over the last 20 years has not harmed British workers' chances of finding a job and has only had a minimal impact on wage levels." The Guardian's interpretation agrees that "there is no strong evidence that new EU migrants have undermined the job prospects of Britain's school-leavers".
However, noting that there are now about 1.3 million people aged 16 to 24 who are not in full-time education or working, the Daily Mail says migrants get jobs because school leavers lack "basic life skills". It says the report identified that "businesses have had to turn to workers from overseas who are better qualified, more reliable, confident and - unlike young Britons - have the good 'manners' needed to work in shops".
"Unless school standards improve - and soon - Brits are going to carry on losing jobs to immigrants for years to come," argues the Sun, in its editorial column. A knock-on effect of immigration is reported by the Telegraph, which says there is "a negative impact on house prices when foreigners move to areas of the country previously dominated by British citizens".
Meanwhile, the Financial Times points out that the report suggested EU migrants had made a £22bn net contribution to UK public finances. But it adds: "The study warned that many migrant workers in agriculture, hospitality and construction were being mistreated by employers and paid less than the minimum wage because of lax enforcement of rules."
A couple of former maths teachers who built up one of the country's largest buy-to-let property portfolios are selling the lot, with an eye to an estimated profit of £200m, reports the Financial Times. They'd originally intended to sell in 2008, only for the market to crash, the paper says.
"In the mid-2000s they were at one point buying houses at the rate of one a day," recalls the Mail. "Their properties generate annual rental income of around £12million," it reports, adding that the government is likely to net about £30m in capital gains tax on the sale.
The couple are reportedly selling because house price rises "can't go on for ever". However, the Daily Express can't see any prospect of them ending any time soon. It reports research suggesting an ordinary three-bed semi in the UK will cost the best part of £330,000 by 2020.
Meanwhile, the Times is among the papers highlighting the prospect of owning a 28-bedroom Devon mansion, complete with a ballroom, 19 reception rooms and eight bathrooms, for £500,000. Alternatively, it points out, if you had the cash, you could blow it all on a garage in Kensington, west London.
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