Dear Mr Cook,
I’m writing to you because it appears you’ve misunderstood. We live in a democracy run by a human society and the people within it. The facts and laws that you talk about, the one that’s avoid you contributing very much tax at all, are determined by other humans. And those humans are getting increasingly aggravated with your organisation’s behaviour. Sorry, but that’s the way it is.
You’ve labelled us claiming €13bn off you as being 'politically motivated’. As if that were a bad thing. As if what you’re talking about is an unwieldy tentacle of some twisted evil sea monster that is out of control; something that is irrationally encroaching on your right to siphon off loads of cash how you want.
Nope. If something is 'politically motivated' that means that it comes from a basis of popular opinion. I presume you use the phrase to instil the image of fickle politicians just trying to win the next election; of a political class just playing for votes. Well, votes are how people express their opinions - and if their opinions are that you don’t have the right to financially benefit from a countries infrastructure and economic history without contributing fairly to its upkeep, then yes, those politicians should start reflecting those views and getting in your face.
You might be right. You don’t seem to have done anything against the law, or technically wrong. But your case study has alerted us to the fact that the law is obviously crap. It doesn’t serve the purpose we want it to and so we want it changed. And guess what, as a democratic system where the law evolves based on the views of the people, we have the right to have it changed too - even if you, with your expensive contingent of lawyers don’t personally agree with it (because it financially burdens you, while financially benefitting many, many others).
You've called the decision to call out your behaviour as 'maddening'. Well you're not the only one who's damn mad!
Don’t feel too down though. You’re not the only one to get confused recently. This week our UK Prime Minister called a national doctors strike 'political' too. Lots of you are trying to argue that anything political, anything that raises a debate about the way our society is structured or how fair it is which doesn’t work in your favour, is bad.
It’s not. Politics is generally pretty good. It’s done a lot for us the last 500 years - since we gave up on the idea of undemocratically selected institutions controlling the way we live our lives. You are the biggest corporate entity in the world, but you should never forget that you are made up of small, individual human beings. You yourself are a human being (ignoring conspiracy theories). When other human beings call you out on your moral code, they’re not stupid. They’re different to you. They’re in a different situation to you. They have a different perspective to you. And it turns out there might be more humans that are different to you, that have a different values system to you, than you originally thought. Welcome to democracy. You’re gonna love it!
A European citizen (for now)
P. S. We're going to skip over the fact that your comments are also playing politics, because we simply don't have time to dive into hypocrisy too much.