Thursday, 30 October 2008

A Nice Green Leaf: I should Coco


Visitors to the Palm House at Kew often stop to marvel at the seed of a Coco de Mer. The so-called "Seychelles Nut" has the doublefold honour firstly of producing the biggest seeds in the world, weighing in at a sturdy 17 kilos, but also looking remarkably like a curvy lady's bum.

However today's news revealed they now have a further claim to fame, playing a crucial but slightly unexpected role  in a current significant case concerning British tax law. Millionaire businessman Robert Gaines-Cooper is claiming that since the seventies he's actually been resident in the Seychelles, despite the fact that his wife, son and vintage car collection all reside in homely Oxfordshire.

The bit of the case that made me sit up, though, is where Gaines-Cooper claims that it's his coco-de-mer plantation that really proves he is committed to the Seychelles. "there would have been no point in his planting a notoriously slow-growing coco-de-mer tree at Plantation Bois Noir in the 1970s if he had intended to move on", say his lawyers, according to today's Times.

I love the idea that planting slow-growing trees proves that's where you "really" live. And that British tax law is so complicated that you have to prove where it is that your heart is, to find out where your home is.

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