DWFriday. 8th April, 2016. The blood in the water: the predators can taste it. A big fish is thrashing around somewhere in the shallows. Its oxygen is depleting and every spasm meant to signal strength is really a show of vulnerability. It can now only be a matter of time…

And it is, surely, only a matter of time before David Cameron succumbs. He thrashes from one statement to another because he faces a crisis like none he’s known. Everyday political difficulties are just that: they exist in a political sphere that rarely intrudes on reality. Politicians can change their mind about proposals and it does little to change our perceptions of who they are. That’s why Prime Ministers rarely fall on matters of detail. They fall when some crisis exposes a fundamental flaw in their character. Margaret Thatcher fell because her inner strength led to an arrogant belief in her powers that blinded her to the dangers of imposing a tax that was widely disliked. With John Major it was quite the opposite: a lack of political courage to call an election which led to a huge defeat when he finally went to the country at the last (and wrong) moment. Tony Blair left office because his sense of virtue became overwhelming. The very quality that led him to power also led him to try to do the ‘right thing’ in the Middle East. The result was a much criticised war and a long tragic aftermath. With Gordon Brown, it was a simple failure to appreciate that politics is a game of personality as much as policy. The man with all the policies and no personality lost to a quite insubstantial man with all the charisma. It was, in other words, the familiar story of Gordon Brown’s life.

When it comes to matters of policy, politicians can usually brazenly stand their ground, smile for the press, and know that the headline writers will soon grow weary and find another victim for their puns. This time, however, the crisis is not something abstracted from the person of David Cameron. It goes the very core of his identity and of who he is as a man. He claims to have nothing to do with the business affairs of his late father Ian Cameron and he might well be right. Yet he’s also not being entirely truthful or, at least, truthful to himself. Those business affairs made him who he is. He was born, raised, educated, and given a privileged start because of those business affairs. Privilege, however earned, tells us a great deal about David Cameron and it has always been the fatal flaw most likely to bring him down.

The term ‘existential’ is thrown around whenever a politician faces a real threat to their career. In that sense, Cameron’s plight might well be existential. However, it’s existential in the greater sense of that word in that it has so much to do with his ‘being’. Those of us born with British passports might think of ourselves as subjects of the British crown. We are part of a system that exists above us, around us, and, in a sense, through us. ‘Being’ British shapes us all in some way. It informs our sense of duty as citizens and our part in the social contract right down to the grubby business of paying tax. The Panama Papers exposes the lie that we are all subjects in the same way. From the perspective of being outside London and well beyond traditional Tory homeland, the news feels like an affirmation of something that we’ve known all this time. The system is what we always thought it was: something that benefited those in a position to work the rules and punish those of us who have no choice but be subject to the rules.

We always knew that some places — some people — were bearing the weight of government cuts heavier than others but the basic mathematics always seemed right. Not enough money was in the taxman’s kitty. Expenditure did not match revenue. The government’s talk was always about cutting back on waste and lowering their expenditure. So we gritted our teeth whenever we hit one of the potholes that have now grown so deep they seem to be have been scraped during some glacial retreat. We grit them even more when our libraries and local colleges are bulldozed. Some of us even gritted our teeth when we were treated cruelly, when new rules and regulations were imposed without feeling, nuance, or care. So much about ‘austerity’ felt wrong but the pain at least made some sense because the government made strong claims that it was more than disguised ideology. The Conservatives fought the last election on that dog whistle message of being ‘for hardworking people’, a deeply sinister message but one that also implied that our collective efforts could turn the country around.

Except now we know that there were people — quite a few people, it seems — who were not so invested in that collective effort. Is it any surprise that David Cameron now finds himself in such a bad place given that he mocked Jimmy Carr just a few years ago in words that should rightly haunt him?

People work hard, they pay their taxes, they save up to go to one of his shows. They buy the tickets. He is taking the money from those tickets and he, as far as I can see, is putting all of that into some very dodgy tax avoiding schemes.

It’s not so much what his father had been doing (and from which the young Cameron had benefited) but his temerity in thinking that it was somehow different to what Carr had done. He is shamed by his hypocrisy as much as he’s shamed by his actions. But it is the same pathology shared by all those that view sharp financial practices as being somehow different to, for example, benefits fraud. It is the flawed reasoning of those who think that the wealthy are simply being ‘clever’ by protecting their assets by keeping them offshore. In some countries, at different times, such ‘cleverness’ would be enough to provoke a revolution.

Cameron is struggling to prevent this story developing into a full blown crisis. The crisis weakens his hold on the party, already split by the EU referendum. His personal crisis could easily become a crisis of leadership, with Boris Johnson eager to take over. Would Cameron quit over these revelations? Hard to say that he would, no matter how hard Tom Watson cries foul. It has never been Cameron’s character to feel much shame. He is too relaxed when being brazen. Since the Blair regime, it has become the habit of governments in crisis to simply fall silent. They offer no spokespeople to the news channels. No ministers are sent to argue the government position.  Yet even if Cameron thought it a reason to resign, he is in no position to do so. Not now. Not with the nation supposedly contemplating the tricky European question.

The irony is, of course, that Cameron’s plight lends strength to his argument that we should stay in Europe. The European Union, it seems, wanted to protect us from these shabby arrangements. Granted, it was the Prime Minister who is said to have blocked those reforms but it perhaps shames Cameron more than it shames his argument, which at least offers him one hope of salvation. Ultimately these revelations weaken the notional arguments of those who claim that we need to reclaim our sovereignty. Brexit is predicated on the belief that we can do these things without European oversight. Yet there will be a few asking if we can really trust an elite that is now widely perceived as putting their private interests over those of the public. Might the Brexit argument seem more persuasive among those that know that their own finances are in order, safely protected in some overseas fund? In the very same way that ‘austerity’ didn’t feel too bad so long as you had a couple of million in the bank, might Brexit feel more attractive when you don’t need (or welcome) the protection of European law?

Those questions are the reason why Cameron is now facing a crisis. It’s not simply about the hypocrisy of the man sitting in Downing Street. It is about flawed paradigms of society and nation and how and where might the majority feel less exposed to the avarice of the few.

David Waywell writes and cartoons at his blog The Spine.
or email at dr.d.waywell[at]gmail.com.

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22 Comments on "Blood in the water"

  1. Paul Corrick | 8th April 2016 at 3:07 pm | Reply

    Great article David. By coincidence I have just been talking about this on Facebook with a friend who posted about Cameron “I don’t detect foul play here …since all earnings were declared to HMRC.” Even before I could make a comment another friend wrote “Illegal no, immoral? Wonder what Jimmy Carr would say”. Whatever your view this story only reinforces the image of a Prime Minister and party out of touch with much of the electorate of which some are facing difficult times and being told “We all need to tighten our belts”. I think it will have an impact on those looking at his judgement re Europe and will be used as ammunition by those who feel we are not all in this together. I watched question time last night and a woman shouted “None of you lot know what you are talking about you have never had a proper job” That sort of mistrust and cynicism I think is only made worse when people see the headlines. This will probably not be the end for Cameron but it is another hole in his boat and will only make him weaker.

    • Very true. Didn’t see QT but I know that attitude and in many ways share it. Cameron’s weakness is that he’s not Joe Normal and he could never claim to be. It’s this kind of story that was always likely to break him. It fits into the narrative of the Eton toff, the pig’s head, the Bullingdon Club, straight into a cushy job, then into the Tory Party and with wheels greased to help him up the ladder. It highlights the central weakness of Cameron’s claims to rule for the single nation and the only reason he clings on, I suspect, is because many people including his rivals share his sins. From out here, in low paying, zero-hour contract northern Britain, it looks quite different and the whole system looks to be broken.

  2. mahatmacoatmabag | 8th April 2016 at 4:17 pm | Reply

    Its rumoured that Dave has the following printed on his visit card:
    You can trust me because I know what’s best for you.
    You can trust me because I know what’s best for the country .
    You can trust me because I would never avoid paying tax.
    You can trust me because I have made the best deal with Brussels.
    You can trust me because I have stopped illegals entering the UK.
    You can trust me because I would never perform a sex act on a pigs head.
    Yes I’m Dave the successor of the great Tony Blair and I want your vote to remain in the EU.

  3. I guess I have a simple problem with this. I’m a brit through and through – to the very core. Our history shows many examples of a class system, an elite system, and frankly humans have these systems, they just change in shape and name, but exist everywhere. My big and serious problem is that some people are very quick to through in the idea that the EU is equal or better.

    And yet my real perception is harsh in response. The EU is worse in every single unmitigated vector. Every single one. Its less democratic – which is by almost hilarious design. Its less competent. Its more corrupt. Its poorer economically and in business.

    Cameron – and apparently Mr Waywell both put forward that I should perhaps meekly sit here and suck my thumb. I should ignore the deepening corruption, lack of democracy, pure elitism of the EU. What am I supposed to do with the fact Britain created more jobs than the rest of the EU put together in recent years? What of the 50% youth unemployment in the med area – that as far as I can see would unhinge anything but the non removable, unchangeable, implacable, untouchable EU.

    And much of this is before really getting started on failed protectionism, the immigration crisis (and it is a crisis) – and much beyond.

    I have a fundamental – and I think many people have fundamental issue because in very simple terms, the EU does a freaking piss poor job. And can’t be changed. Its the people’s job to challenge and throw out bad governance, which really is at the core of most of Britain’s innate resistance to the EU’s collective of overpaid, failed political classes and their impositions.

    Its time journalists understood this instead of the continual ‘pro’ EU slant that seems to exist.

    • Fair points AdmV0rl0n but I should stress that I’m not a journalist (or, at least, I don’t see myself as a journalist). I’m also not promoting a pro-EU agenda because I’m part of some larger conspiracy. I think (and I stress ‘think’) that I’m for staying in Europe because I trust the EU more than I trust Priti Patel, Iain Duncan Smith, and a few others in the Brexit campaign who, it seems to me, would happily strip ordinary British workers of the protection offered by the EU. I don’t believe that my living conditions will improve by leaving Europe. I think the north of England (where I live) will suffer more from government entirely from London. I also fail to see how being separate from the EU makes us stronger in the face of nations such as China. Had the UK worked with the EU to protect our steel industry, I doubt if we’d be facing the complete closure of that industry.

      I’m not disagreeing with some of the points you make. I do believe that the EU has suffered because it became too big. I do think it needs reform. In that sense, I think Boris was probably right if he’d stuck to the ‘stay but renegotiate’ stance people thought he wanted at the beginning. I don’t mind us being trouble makers inside Europe. But, again, I really don’t trust the people that are backing Brexit. I suspect they have motives that have a lot to do with abandoning Britain utterly to the free market and that scares the crap out of me. The market knows no morality. It would eat us alive.

  4. nehad ismail | 8th April 2016 at 5:19 pm | Reply

    Thanks David. My comment is short as other comments have touched on what is in my head. I simply say:
    Change the law and end tax-havens.
    I want David Cameron to come clean and stay as Prime Minister. Despite all his faults I prefer Cameron to Boris Johnson. BJ will a disaster.

    • I agree, Nehad, that Boris would possibly be a disaster. At least he’s not done enough to convince me to think otherwise. That said, I remain deeply skeptical about Cameron. His ability to project gravitas hides what I suspect is a remarkable lack of gravitas.

  5. Lesley Lubert | 8th April 2016 at 5:22 pm | Reply

    I would like to know how much the EU has laid down at Cameron’s door, to persuade the country to stay IN..Fundamental change has not taken place, the EU is awash with jobless people, and yet DC is becoming more and more desperate.

    Why would anyone dispose of their holdings in Blairgate, just prior to becoming PM. Sureley it is not necessary if all was above board…or is it “a private matter”. We would all like to have tax evasive private matters, but HMRC do not allow it for PLEBS.

    • Just having that very conversation, Lesley. That he got rid of those holdings so close to becoming PM suggests that he knew they could damage him. If so, then why was he happy to hold them previously? Was it a matter of his being bothered that he might be seen being a bit tricky than he was actually bothered by the thought of being tricky? I think this whole story has some way to run.

      • Lesley Lubert | 12th April 2016 at 7:41 am | Reply

        It smells at the very least David! What was going on in previous years while leader of the opposition?

        • Very true, Lesley, and his denial yesterday was rather weaselly, I thought, pure dog whistle politics but with the added spice of veiled threats towards journalists: i.e. “drop the story or we’ll demand that you release your tax details”.

  6. Hmmmm, well, thats at least a very open response. I had taken it in a moderate sense that your opinion piece was in essense some form of journalism. But its ok, I don’t have any problem with opinions. I’d add that I think recent events with Duncan-Smith nominally actually have shown a more compassionate man than perhaps you believe. I’m not sure either on the basis that you pitch that everyone on the brexit side is some kind of lunatic and everyone on the in side isn’t – I think the argument is far from so simple.

    I also disagree in some other areas. I don’t think the EU has made any difference in claims made where they protect workers. One careful, considered view on the state of europe may come back at you with ‘what workers?’. When you have had raging unemployment for decades with nominal failure being the norm – it’s right to reach a challenge state where you demand job growth, not just locked in jobs for the boys. Surely this was the hellhole we reached in the 1970s and a totally dead state scenario in the UK. Do you care for the employees in the EU who have a job, and you ignore the millions upon millions languishing – or? What do you say now to a Greek unemployed man, who has been unemployed for say X time, and his streets are flooded by not just Syrians, but many others from elsewhere. And Merkel then says ‘COME!’.

    My leaning is anti European more by circumstance and situation than an outright unmovable position. I wish Europe was economically NOT a freaking basket case. Its core value was based around no war, and economic success. On both counts its been abjectly failing. By *far* the largest serious issue today with the EU – are its ongoing failure state. And when people or governments come to the monolithic state suggesting or asking for entirely sensible consideration of change, they meet the implacable, dire, appalling brick wall. That cannot continue. And it won’t continue.

    And its not just Britain. Its becoming a serious problem for the EU to win a vote on anything, anywhere. The blame is constant feedback mechanisms pointed at the people or state, never at the EU. Its a dictatorship that can’t, won’t change. You may have noted the EU lost in Holland.

    Let me put another thing to you. If you examine the steel case – and I mean, examine it, you’ll quite quickly uncover that a very serious limitation is the handcuffed state the UK and Welsh states find themselves in. They will not be allowed to step in properly to save workers, or an industry. Its easy to blame tories, its easy to blame Cameron. Its easy to blame TATA.

    The fact is the Tories in trying to continue their efforts to create investment screwed up. They operated on a basis of not limiting Chinese imports of steel. But look deeper – why have some EU states been allowed to protect their steel industries. Thats not a single market.

    Laughably – to really show that no good deal goes unpunished, the Chinese put a steel tariff on British steal. Lock stock and barrel.

    Tata is fundamentally stuck with a 140,000 worker pension problem, and a steel industry glut that means very little chance for it. But this business sits inside an EU that shouldn’t have excessive steel and other products import problems, its supposedly a market that defies that. Its also another fact that the EU is pathetically weak. Its weak politically, its weak dimplomatically, Its weak economically. Its peoples are wholly divided and the federal effort constantly works against natural grain. The Chinese tariff on British steel was met by what? Nothing.

    It’s the slowest growing eco-block on the planet. Its got huge problems. The immigration problem is only a tip of the spear. There was a saying from world war one where the Germans came to say that they had tied themselves to a corpse (Austro-Hungarian empire).

    On the inner workings of the EU, when you examine what has been said – a staple diet is fed to Brits that ‘we are better inside and can influence things’ – This was really quite blown out of the water by Cameron going into negotiations and coming out with basically *Nothing.* If you explore that, you soon come across a deep truth. We are not influencing, and in fact our influence in voting patters and in policy has become increasingly difficult to defend. The EU and UK has been diverging deeply and that divergence has grown worse. If you reach an end point where what you say, what you need, what you want is ignored, sidelined, or brushed under the carpet – you reach where we are. Stay in a club where you’ll eat what you are given, or get out.

    With Cameron – They were so willing to properly consider things that their response was to utterly mess the Government of the UK around, and thus the people. I sit on the opposite side to Cameron on this EU vote, but the democrat in my is on his side, and on the side of all, not just tory MPs, but all MPs – who have spoken about – and understand what people in the UK feel on this. Many many people feel that the vote in the 70s was both rigged, a lie, and based on a different question. And that a vote here was avoided like the plague because the answer was never going to be right. *If* the EU had been wise, it could and should hav made a wise deal giving Cameron some serious ground to come back and fight on. That would have been pro Europe. That would have been modern. That would have been pro-EU. That would have been democratic. Instead, we’ve had the greatest show on earth confirming almost all aspects of everything a Briton might cite in their issue with the EU. I don’t blame Cameron in either way on this. Should he win or lose, he’ll have carried out a deep british wish to vote on the ideal of ‘ever closer union’ and all the baggage with that. If he wins, it won’t be with anything thanks to the EU. I feel kind of sorry for him. He’s kind of the straw man at fault for all by all. If he loses, then the EU will play the game it always plays anyway – ignore the vote, make them vote again until they say yes. But future British Governments will have more leverage to make their arguments than in many decades. And bottom line, it may be good that the EU is for once actually forced to really go through an examination. Its needed. In fact I’d say that both Pro and Anti EU people could find common ground on a basis that the EU institution actually be driven into some much needed reforms.

    Perhaps a no and real threat of Brexit might wake people up to reality. Or not. But right now, thats just one angle. Regarding China – The thing I’ll say is this. If we are to be individualistic – I think as a country we have the intrinsic ability now to fight – people underrate the level of the country. That doesn’t mean ‘easy’. No. Not what I am saying. But compete and fight we could. Inside the EU, we can’t do that. We’re sat round a table of fat lazy ignorant *ucks, who don’t grow economically, and their brightest ideal of late is open armed stupidity and an all to obvious policy of new underslave class = answer to growth and economic problems. The underslave class is poorly equipped to survive the dire consequences, and the social backlash already shows very dark problems in multiple areas.

    My country, and the people in it fought Fascists and Nazi’s to the very edge of existance, history and survival. Now the EU and its actions and policies are directly fueling a rise in dark, evil facist, nationalism. Something down to its very bone structure its designs were meant to stop. Its quite obscene that Nazi’s and anti Jewish behaviour inside the EU today is fueled, driven and activated by the EU and its failures, activites, and behaviours.

    I’ve rambled, and certainly have no problem with your opinions. But both your opinion and the EU have to be challenged. Hopefully you take this in good spirit, because I only write in honestly held view, but happy to discuss akin to over a beer etc! 🙂

    • Thanks for such a well considered response. I must admit that I’m due to run out the door in a minute so I haven’t time to respond in length. Briefly, though, Not sure what would constitute ‘journalism’ except I take it as a pejorative term used to imply a certain cozy opinion of people living inside a square few miles in the centre of London. If so, then I’m definitely not that. 😉

      I’d say that you highlight how utterly unknowable this subject really is and how difficult it will be for anybody to really understand how or why they should vote. I’ve written before that we’ll all vote from a sense of ignorance and I still hold that to be true. I think we all want the same things but we diverge as to how we think we can best achieve those things. There is no sense that this is a black or white issue (or even an in/out, yes/no issue). I would agree that not everybody wanting out are loons as I’d never claim the in campaign is characterised by sanity. Again, there’s a whole spectrum of people and views. However, I would add that I do have a particular bee in my bonnet about Priti Patel. I would also have less worry about leaving if the Conservatives were actually conservative and not a bunch of free market ideologues. I also think that this is a very bad time to having this debate and I see nothing to convince me that ‘in’ will ultimately win.

  7. Paul Corrick | 9th April 2016 at 3:13 pm | Reply

    I heard Cameron this morning say that this had been a bad week for him, that he had made mistakes and he personally had lessons to learn .The cynics will say he had to do this to try and stop the media storm and attempt to move on others will say he has made a brave move and has decided at last to be open and honest if a bit late. on Europe I agree with David that we will vote from a position of ignorance. I try and resd and follow the arguments of both the Remain side and the Brexit side and find myself more and more confused. Even though my natural instinct is to be a Euro-Sceptic I am not confident leaving will really make things any better. My main worries are will staying in or out make us less or more vulnerable to Terrorism,will it help or hinder our economy,will it help us be more democratic and will our vital services like the NHS,Schools and hospitals be better served by being in or out? I think AdmV0rl0n has made some good arguments which many will have sympathy with. The trouble is there are some strong counter arguments to and at times the whole issue is as clear as mud.

    As for Cameron I guess the result of the referendum will determine his immediate future and this vote is as much a vote on Europe as it is on his leadership.

  8. Have found it incredibly difficult to get excited by this story, rich bloke avoids tax shocker!, politician indulges in hypocrisy revelation!. As far as the EU goes I would be stunned if the leading political lights on the continent weren’t up to similar shenanigans, they clearly just haven’t used this single firm in Panama but other firms and other tax havens are available. What I find most interesting is that after David Cameron published his tax return no one looked at his salary and thought bugger me, no wonder we have wound up with an independently wealthy clot running the country. You either have to be rich already, low on talent, power mad, or playing the long game financially to take on such a job. Seriously? £140,000 to run the 5th biggest economy in the world?. It is practically an invitation to corruption (not that I am remotely suggesting that David Cameron or any British PM ever has or would succumb to any attempts to corrupt them of course) To put it into context for those who perhaps don’t dwell within the orbit of London that salary would be considerably below average for any even half way decent degree educated professional of Camerons age living within commute distance of the smoke. Compared to the higher achievers it is derisory. Just one example, the average pay with bonus of FTSE 100 FD’s (not even the top job) was £2.4 million last year. If you make the assumption that these people are some of the most capable financial minds in the country then you want them in government, but why would they ditch the chance of £2.4 million for an MP’s salary of £75,000 which may double if they get lucky, especially given the extra scrutiny and flak that comes with the job.

    • Don’t you think it’s very noticeable that nearly everybody asked about it (and a few of the journalists asking the question) look extremely uncomfortable with the subject? Boris looked really uncomfortable yesterday when pestered on the street by Channel 4. It suggests what I think most people suspect: that all these buggers are at it. And there I’d agree with you. Not an exciting story except there is a terrible stench of hypocrisy about the dodging. Sort of like the American election. Trump has had affairs and nobody really seems bothered. However, if he’s been preaching morality with a Bible in his hand, then it would make a huge difference. Cameron claims we’re in this together but I don’t see him sitting with me every couple of weeks in an overcrowded hospital waiting room or bouncing on the potholes in all our terrible roads. There are places where austerity has hit hard and it’s difficult to be calm about these stories. I know the rich do these things but I don’t believe *all* the rich do it, like I know that not all poor people cheat the benefits system. There is in this story some element of the ‘basic decent human being’ test and there, I suspect, Cameron has been perceived to have failed.

      Regarding pay: I can’t comment and my capacity for sympathy is around zero. They all seem immensely wealthy and I’d be lucky to live on the scraps from their table. Besides, Cameron will make a fortune like Blair did once he leaves office.

  9. “Besides, Cameron will make a fortune like Blair did once he leaves office.”

    I think you have missed my point on pay David. I would like to think that we could have people of a high calibre running this country, we clearly don’t at the moment and the way we remunerate doesn’t help this. You mention the fortune that is made after a career in politics which is in my view far more worrying than any tax avoidance. If you have ministers who are poorly paid paid while in office becoming highly paid ‘advisors’ to the same companies that they awarded contracts to after they leave office then something is clearly not working. It’s probably prudent for me to stop there.

    • Didn’t miss your point, Rob, as much as I simply ruled myself out of being fit to sit on the jury. I understand that it’s not a fortune according to other industries but there is a point at which my eyes simply glaze over and I’m incapable of understanding what money means or have any sympathy for the argument that they deserve more. I mean, these amounts are the kinds of sums that would change my life if I could earn them for a single year. The jobs I look at are utterly demeaning in pay and shameful for my qualifications. I am simply unable to equate real world pay to the pay in the city/politics etc. It’s an alternate reality I don’t understand.

      From my point of view, the whole system stinks because (as you point out) it has much to do with lining each other’s pockets. These people can peddle influence because they exist is a closed system. For example, was it a mere coincidence that the Archbishop of Canterbury discovered his real father worked with Churchill? What chance that would happen to me, to you, or to most ordinary folk in the UK? Doesn’t that imply that there our elite exist in a bubble and there’s no obvious way to change that?

  10. You can never change human nature which is to favour your own circle, however there are fairly simple measures that can be put in place to make it harder to ‘buy’ political favours. Of course human nature provides the stumbling block again as no politician that finally manages to sit at the dining table is likely to want to cut off the lovely supply of gravy.

    • Precisely so but how a self-interested party manages to break that pattern of self-interest is one that I don’t think we have entirely solved. Perhaps we might never solve it. Like you say, it’s part of human nature to self-select and that’s why I don’t hold out much hope of anything changing soon. That said: in the short term, it is fun watching Cameron squirm.

  11. I have a minor issue with all of this, and that is how an individual uses their money, investments, and offshore Banks – isn’t the point. In fact I’d argue its every single person – including politicians – right to make investments and improve their life and that of their family. My only criteria comes down to that they do so honestly and pay the taxes due.

    Its become too easy to have certain people use this ‘thing’ as a vehicle and a club and to miss what really matters. Cameron did an interesting thing, as a public person he published his returns. If he’s lied – he’s really put himself in a hole. If he has not – then there is little mileage left.

    Its interesting that others – whom I will not name – have found responding and publishing their own – quite an interesting road to walk down.

    • I don’t disagree with that, Mr AdmVOrlOn. If what he has done is legal than we really should have no reason to complain. It does, however, come down to that old distinction between ethics and morals. Ethically he is in the clear because he followed the agreed laws of the land. Morally, however, there are questions to answer. Why, for example, get rid of your connections to these offshore funds just before he came into power? If he knew it was something that might harm him, he must also have known that it looked morally questionable. If they were morally dubious, then it says something about him as a man that he would retain them for as long as he did. And that’s surely the point in all of this. We all know what tax dodging looks like. Just because governments struggle to formulate laws without loopholes doesn’t mean that Cameron and the rest are suddenly whiter than white. Kudos to them for playing the system but, really, there is a hell of a lot of hypocrisy given what he said about Jimmy Carr, Google, etc.

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