This time the hypocrisy has gone too far, this time David Cameron must go.
It was obvious from the moment that Downing Street refused to deny that David Cameron had benefitted from offshore funds that there was something being concealed. It took four statements for him to admit that he had owned shares in Blairmore Holdings (the company set up by his late father, Ian Cameron in the Bahamas to avoid paying UK taxes).
Tax evasion takes money out of our public services, distorts the economy and especially the housing market
At first it was a “private matter” not to be disclosed. Then he had not benefitted from his father’s offshore tax dodging ways, then this was amended to the statement that he and his family will not benefit “in the future” before the truth finally was given in an ITV interview.
Mr Cameron’s weaseling around, rather than just coming out with the truth from the outset, has only made the situation worse and shown him for what he truly is – a seasoned liar. His choice of words in previous statements were too carefully constructed to seem sincere, rather clearly shaped to conceal the truth.
So, it took him four attempts to finally decide that honesty might be the best policy, perhaps upon advice that the truth would out anyway – or to entertain a more cynical thought, perhaps the last few days have been a legal scramble to hide any further offshore interests he may have.
David Cameron and his government had claimed that they would be the government to put an end to tax avoidance, and the rhetoric has been strong. But it has proved to be all talk and no action as very little has been done to tackle the issue: indeed in 2013 Mr Cameron personally intervened to ensure that trusts were to be treated differently from companies in anti-money laundering rules.
Political Scrapbook has also reported that Cameron did not declare the income he received from selling his shares in Blairmore Holdings, potentially misleading the House of Commons and in breach of the ‘requirements for Registrations‘. There may yet be more to be discovered.
Tory donors and peers alike have been revealed to have used the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to set up shell companies for the purpose of avoiding UK tax – so are we really surprised that the Tory party have done little to clamp down on this “immoral” behaviour and allowed London and the UK crown dependencies to become the tax haven capitals of the world?
The perception that the ruling class is somehow above the law must be challenged.
Enough of the ducking and diving, Mr Cameron must now come completely clean – as a clear parliamentary conflict of interests has become apparent. In 2012 Mr Cameron called tax evasion “frankly and morally wrong” – the hypocrisy is stark and striking. Cameron claimed he would publish his tax returns in 2012, another one of his promises that he seems to have forgotten to follow through with – it is time we finally hold him to account.
Not paying tax may not be illegal, but it is certainly immoral. It is a form of theft, like any other. Tax evasion takes money out of our public services, distorts the economy and especially the housing market – contributing to the fact that housing prices are so high and home ownership is all but a dream for a great number of the younger generation.
The idea that legality is the be all and end all is a dangerous one – we cannot allow this assertion to be used to shut down the tax avoidance argument. It should not be that the richer you are the more free you are to not contribute: especially given that those who are still lecture others on the benefits of hard work. It is certainly not acceptable in the case of big corporations who draw on the hard work of employees to earn their profits, yet contribute little or nothing to the state that educated and cares for their workforce.
Most people would have suspected that the super-rich would behave in such a despicable way, but what is most worrying is the attitude that this is normal and that nothing can be done to put a stop to it – the perception that the ruling class is somehow above the law must be challenged.
#UK Twitter right now: "Let's hope Cameron resigns."
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 7, 2016
Mr Snowden is right, if we only hope alone then David Cameron and tax havens and corruption among the ruling classes will remain – we must act to ensure that change happens, it is in the interests of ourselves and our children.
To consider the tax evasion issue in both a wider context, and on a global scale: the 1% own as much as the rest of the planet combined. The money we need to fix the world’s problems is there, but it is being hoarded out of sight – a better world is possible, but the greed of the super-rich must be challenged before it can come about.
The TJN calculate that ‘global poverty would be permanently eradicated, way beyond the goals of the international targets on halving global poverty by 2015‘ if we had stopped the flow of money to tax havens in 2002. Yet today over a billion people still live in poverty, and over 22,000 children a day die because of it.
Mr Cameron’s weaseling around, rather than just coming out with the truth from the outset, has only made the situation worse and shown him for what he truly is – a seasoned liar
David Cameron’s assertion that “we’re all in this together” has been shot down and his credibility, and that of his government’s austerity plan, lay in tatters. While the majority of us are suffering from cuts to services, stagnating wages and declining living standards, the rich are allowed to avoid paying their fair share, despite reaping the benefits of our state, and further increase their wealth.
Are we comfortable with our country being run by a man, and his colleagues, who believe they have a right to pay less tax than we do? We can no longer believe a word this man says – he simply must resign.
It is time for capitalism to take its final bow and leave the stage, the Panama Papers reveal that corruption and greed are intrinsic and are horrendously damaging the world. Capitalism has failed the many in favour of the few – and we deserve better.