David Cameron’s double standards really are appalling. Here’s his official line on his family’s involvement in the Panama tax haven scandal, courtesy of Reuters:
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokeswoman declined to comment on Monday on whether the leader’s family had money invested in offshore funds set up by his father, saying it was a “private matter”.
Cameron’s late father, Ian Cameron, was among hundreds of thousands clients named in more than 11.5 million leaked documents from the files of a law firm based in the tax haven of Panama.
In 2012, British media reported that Cameron’s father ran a network of offshore investment funds to help build the family fortune.
Asked whether she could confirm that no family money was still invested in those funds, Cameron’s spokeswoman said: “That is a private matter, I am focused on what the government is doing.”
The British people don’t think it’s private. They think it is a matter of public interest.
They want to know exactly why Cameron seems to have thought it’s okay for the rest of us to pay the taxes that allow his Conservative Government to operate, while he and his family – while living at public expense – have paid nothing themselves. And they took to Twitter to make their feelings known.
“Tories spend years saying the deficit means they HAVE to punish the poor,” wrote ‘Tom London’. “All the time the rich are dodging tax.
“It is the defining scandal of the age.”
‘Ellie’ asked: “Can I scrawl ‘IT’S A PRIVATE MATTER’ across my next tax return? In red crayon?”
And Ray Tallis pointed out: “In a decent world, Cameron’s father would be seen as a crook. But all his tax dodging was within the law. Meanwhile NHS underfunded.”
Others went to the heart of Cameron’s hypocrisy on the subject, such as This Writer’s old friend PJ Holden, who wrote: “Cameron’s spokeswoman says family investments are ‘private matter’ – oddly not what he said about Jimmy Carr’s tax.”
Here’s what David Cameron said about Jimmy Carr’s tax:
“I think some of these schemes – and I think particularly of the Jimmy Carr scheme – I have had time to read about and I just think this is completely wrong.
“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.
“That is wrong. There is nothing wrong with people planning their tax affairs to invest in their pension and plan for their retirement – that sort of tax management is fine. But some of these schemes we have seen are quite frankly morally wrong.
“The government is acting by looking at a general anti-avoidance law but we do need to make progress on this. It is not fair on hardworking people who do the right thing and pay their taxes to see these sorts of scams taking place.”
What’s the difference between Jimmy Carr’s tax avoidance and that of Cameron Sr?
Oh yes – perhaps it’s a “private matter” because Cameron Sr has passed away.
But then, Ed Miliband’s father was dead when the Daily Mail published this:
Cameron Jr never so much as squeaked about that being a “private matter”!
So let’s be fair: The prime minister has put himself in an untenable position. At the head of a government that has claimed it is doing everything to end tax avoidance – and after he personally denounced another public figure for participating in such “dodgy tax avoiding schemes” – it seems Cameron has taken part in exactly the same schemes himself. It’s possible he is still participating in them.
That’s why This Writer thinks The Mirror is right to reiterate the question of the day on its front page:
If he doesn’t want to answer, let him resign.
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