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The non-event of the season

Dec 20, 2007, 07:50 AM
Authors : Daniel
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Post date : Dec 20, 2007, 07:50 AM
The policy of regular parliamentary updates to keep the House up-to-date on matters of importance may be good for governmental transparency and the larger democratic process - but it's a pain in the rump for tax journalists.
Over the past week or so, the Chancellor has been expected to make two nerve-tingling proclamations, first on CGT and then on the HMRC's loss of confidential data.
Each occasion was preceded by media outlets of every hue running items full of expectancy and the promise of a cracking story tomorrow. Editors all over the country set aside print and web space in anticipation. (At least, I know I did.)
And then the moment came... and nothing happened.
Both times, the Chancellor said little more than 'I'll tell you later', meaning Parliament was up-to-speed, but my peers and I had blank expressions on our faces and blank spaces to fill in our papers and on our sites.
Okay, the capital gains 'announcement' was easy. My inbox filled with press releases bemoaning Mr Darling's lack of action, and everyone I phoned was willing to have a whinge, too. Wringing a few hundred words out of a non-event was simple, if unchallenging.
Skip a week ahead, and the country is ready for the Poynter report; again, zilch substance.
No worries, I thought as a sat back and waited for my email to start pinging.
I'm still waiting.
No one bothered commenting. Well, one or two people did, once I'd hunted them down. Far more had nowt to say when challenged. I got a story, but it's not going to win me any prizes.
What's even more galling is that there's little tax-flavoured meat about now, in the run up to Christmas (the traditional end-of-year 'silly season' when everyone's winding down or already on holiday). One juicy story would have been a real festive feast. Instead, I've been scraping around for morsels all week.
In fact, that's why I've not posted this entry sooner. Well, that and the fact that I've... er... been playing Richard's sprout game.

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