“I appreciate as a comedian, people will expect me to ‘make light’ of this situation, but I’m not going to in this statement as this is obviously a serious matter.

“I met with a financial adviser and he said to me ‘Do you want to pay less tax? It’s totally legal’. I said ‘Yes’.

“I now realise I’ve made a terrible error of judgment. Although I’ve been advised the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal, and has been fully disclosed to HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs), I’m no longer involved in it and will in future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly. Apologies to everyone. Jimmy Carr”

This is the ‘apology’ made by Jimmy Carr on his Twitter account after a furore errupted over his tax dealings. Actually, I should say ‘the comedian Jimmy Carr’, because that’s good etiquette when posting about public affairs, not to assume everybody knows who Jimmy Carr is now.

Readers will surely know that Carr was using a Jersey-based tax firm to pay only 1% tax, and that this is a Bad Thing. David Cameron… soz, the prime Minster David Cameron, publicly ticked Carr off for it, a large part of the media condemned him as if he’s broken the law, like Fred The Shred (did he actually break the law either?), and now Jimmy Carr has said sorry.

The thing that bites my buns is that we can be fairly certain that Carr isn’t particularly sorry, and why should he be? It’s not something I recognise as in his personality to bow and scrape for forgiveness, and a phrase like ‘terrible error of judgement’ suggests he’s hamming it up a bit.

A much more sensible explanation for his mea culpa is that Carr, unlike a bank manager or a Formula 1 driver, relies on the good will of the public for his living. If enough of them stop going to his gigs, or buying his DVDs, the loss of earnings will offset even a 1% tax scheme. This apology was the smartest thing he could do in the circumstances. The smartest thing we can do is appreciate that this doesn’t mean anyone is genuinely abashed about avoiding tax.

If anything, being berated by a politician for something that is entirely legal makes it look even more acceptable, if not a lucrative boost for Jimmy Carr’s profile.

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