David Cameron seems a little bit confused as to how the public can be outraged by his involvement in offshore tax avoidance schemes.
Our ‘Right Honourable’ Prime Minister admitted yesterday that he did in fact have a share in a tax avoiding scheme established by his father, and there are now very legitimate calls for the Tory leader to resign.
So let’s retrace how Cam tried and failed to lie to the electorate he supposedly represents…
— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) April 8, 2016
Following the Panama Papers leak, Dave’s family name was thrown under the microscope.
It turns out that Ian Cameron, who died in 2010, was a director of Blairmore Holdings, a Bahama registered trust set up in 1982 while young David was being educated at Eton.
As reported by The Guardian, the firm made it very clear in a prospectus for investors that ‘the affairs of the fund should be managed and conducted so that it does not become resident in the United Kingdom for UK taxation purposes.’
Alarm bells that David Cameron could be involved quickly began to chime – but, sensing the concern, the PM set about putting his involvement on the record.
‘I own no shares’ – Good, but that wasn’t the question was it Mr Cameron?
The interviewer actually asked: “Can you clarify for the record that you and your family have not derived any benefit in the PAST, and will not in the future from the offshore Blairmore Holdings fund, mentioned in the Panama papers?”
And, as it transpired, Dave did have a little more to own up to.
Oh, so D Cam did derive benefits in the past from his ownership of shares in a fund registered in an offshore tax haven.
But he only made a profit of £18,000 on an original investment of around £12,000 – that’s just pocket money.
Except it isn’t.
David Cameron made what is, to many of us, equivalent to a year’s salary from investment in a company that actively admitted it was designed to avoid UK taxation.
While the practice wasn’t strictly illegal – Dave and his wife Samantha will have paid income tax on their profits – Cameron’s admission is problematic on numerous fronts.
1) He, an elected official, deliberately misled the nation.
2) While not illegal, the investment was shady as fuck, and failure to recognise that fact demonstrates how out of touch the Tory PM is.
3) If he had ‘nothing to hide’, why did it take him five days to come clean, and why did the PM try to oppose an EU crackdown on tax avoidance firms?
4) David sold his shares in Blairmore Holdings in 2010 before he became PM, but he took over as Tory leader in 2005 – why did it take five years to sell?
5) Regardless of the income tax, the profits gained were inevitably greater due to Blairmore’s offshore status.
6) Hypocrisy thy name is Cameron – are we conveniently forgetting his remarks made about Jimmy Carr in 2012?
In his own words, the use of tax avoiding accounts should be considered ‘morally wrong’, ‘not fair’, and ‘not right’ – so why are the goalposts suddenly moving?
It would appear that publicists attached to the Conservative Party are only too aware of the ridiculous hypocrisy demonstrated by their leader and other ministers.
Unfortunately for the PM, social media activists are a damn sight quicker at nailing a screenshot than his party is at hitting delete…
This tweet seems to be missing from your Twitter feed.
Any idea where it’s gone?
— Karl Turner MP (@KarlTurnerMP) April 7, 2016
Now before the calls of ‘you would if you could’ rain down, let’s be clear on this.
David Cameron is an elected official with accountability to his constituency and the nation – not a millionaire playboy limited to public ridicule for chancing his arm.
Politicians are hardly renowned as trustworthy as it is, and this latest episode suggests the most politically powerful man in our nation cannot be trusted.
Bernie Sanders, as reported by the New Statesman, warned how a trade agreement with Panama would ultimately be exploited by the rich to get richer.
He said in the Senate in 2011:
It turns out that Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade US taxes by stashing their cash in off-shore tax havens. And, the Panama Free Trade Agreement would make this bad situation much worse.
Low and behold he was absolutely correct – so we really shouldn’t be surprised that the Etonian son of a stockbroker would do similar across the pond. But we shouldn’t stand for it either.
Today 3 million families would have been £1,000 worse-off if Osborne & Cameron had introduced their tax credit cutshttps://t.co/5MOEqnqKJC
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) April 6, 2016
So often we stare down the barrel of David Cameron’s unobtrusive pointed thumb as he smugly pronounces moral ideals in parliament. Ideals to which he is apparently exempt.
The UK public though, unlike the butchered head of a pig (allegedly), does not have to swallow whatever is forced down their collective throats.
David Cameron may not have broken the law, but he is living his life by a different set of standards to those he expects the nation to conform.
There is simply no excuse for his actions.