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April 10, 2016

Comments

Metatone

Meh.
This is how politics works.
The vast majority of social security benefits are appropriate and needed.
Doesn't stop the right demonising all the recipients as criminals and wasters in order to score political points.

And indeed, as with Capone, sometimes it's more important to break the aura of invincibility than to nail someone for all their most heinous crimes.

Dave Timoney

I agree that this is not a resigning matter, as it shows neither unethical behaviour (in a nation where tax avoidance has become a cultural norm) or executive incompetence, but it has been illuminating in terms of attitude, which you provocatively illustrate.

£30k might be a mere bagatelle to the likes of Cameron, but it is more than the average annual wage and roughly the size of the average pension pot at retirement. Even more eye-catching has been the revelation that Dave and Sam have made £100k a year in rent from their Notting hill house while being put up in Number 10 at public expense.

Together with the admission that the Blairmore fund was not open to "anyone", what this points to is public distaste not with tax avoidance or a rentier mindset but privilege and profiteering. If Cameron is in political trouble now it isn't because of the usual suspects protesting outside Downing Street, but because of the revulsion of "small investors" at the ease with which he has benefited from the system.

TickyW

Yes, Chris. I heartily agree with you. It does the cause no credit to go after Cameron for such a flimsy reason.

I love the quip about "more holes than a wife beater's vest"

BCFG

Yes, well done Chris for defending the tax dodging prime Minister. As TrickyW says absolutely nothing to see here. It isn't as if we are constantly being told we have run out of money and that cuts are required to balance the books! Or that we now need to work until we drop. No this massive tax evasion has zero affect and we should just all shut up and let Cameron and the rest of his class get on with getting on.

There is no story whatsoever in a British Prime Minister diverting funds from the British state and into his own personal wealth fund. No this is all above board and legal and that is all there is to it.

Even if we add up all the tax evasion and we can show that such massive evasion means British troops are underfunded in the battlefield there is still no story. So once again all shut up at this non story.

Yes look away folks, nothing whatsoever to see here, what is a crook prime minister in comparison to a benefit cheat?

Asking a Prime Minister to resign because he puts his personal fortune before that of the nation. The world has gone mad I tell you! Let us cling to the old values of letting the rich get away with what the fuck they like. May those values never die!

Metatone

Perhaps less cynical than my first comment, Cameron's lobbying against the EU increasing transparency and regulation of funds like Blairmore does look an awful lot like a conflict of interest. It may not in fact be at the level of a resigning matter, but that kind of apparent low-level corruption has always been damaging to politicians...

Luke

Metatone,

"..Cameron's lobbying against the EU increasing transparency and regulation of funds like Blairmore does look an awful lot like a conflict of interest."

A pedantic point, but he lobbied against greater transparency for personal trusts, which wouldn't have made any difference to Blairmore.

Endrew

I approve this message.

Dave Timoney

Luke,

A pedantic point, but we don't know whether Cameron is also the beneficiary of personal trusts because ... lobbying.

theOnlySanePersonOnPlanetEarth

Endrew asked on a previous post,

What are the factors in a society that lead to a more or less authoritarian system evolving?

I would answer that one factor would be endorsing this message!

I am therefore concluding that Endrew supports authoritarianism.

John jones

No Mr Rambling- the amount involved is irrelevant- it's the principle allied strongly to the fact that he has called actions such as this, morally unacceptable.We don't merely accept it just because, to paraphrase, "they're all at it"-not when the man himself has made such a big deal about the principle.He should walk but people don't now do they.

gastro george

Surely the bigger sin is the dissembling and evasion. Even now, his latest position is that the fund is some kind of "normal" unit trust that anybody could have, and which he describes as not being designed to evade tax. But the fund used bearer shares, which *are* designed to evade tax, although Cameron hasn't chosen to do so.

To concentrate on the details that Cameron has published (who knows if he is the eventual beneficiary of a discretionary trust) is the wrong thing to be doing. The target should be to ensure transparency, to attack tax havens and to change our tax laws.

Cliff Tolputt.

Resign? You'll then receive a swift replacement and have the "Yes" campaign seriously damaged at the same time.

Cameron has long since announced an intention to relinquish office within the tenure of this parliament so it appears sensible for a successor to emerge unrushed. Labour did otherwise and division pervades.

I've, as yet, reached no firm decision on the favoured result for the EU referendum but it is important. The grouping is, and will likely become more, good for democracy and for mutual defence and trade. Let not political opportunism work against our long-term interests.

If nothing else Cameron is. and was, a respectful son; and investment a dreaded minefield.

An Alien Visitor

"Surely the bigger sin is the dissembling and evasion"

Politically, damaging the Tories is a higher priority because the only way to attack tax havens and to change our tax laws is to get Corbyn into number 10. No one else will do it. So the political focus on hammering the Tories is the correct strategy, I would say.

gastro george

@AAV - oh, I agree. I just mean that if he'd come up with statement 5 first, he had a chance to defuse the situation. But the way it's had to be dragged out of him is, for a consummate PR man, unforgivable.

Mind you, his PR gloss is coming home to roost. He's long talked the talk, but then done nothing, and it's not been followed up on. Now a lot of chickens are coming home to roost ...

An Alien Visitor

GG - I am not sure if Cameron had said, oh yes I profited from the tax haven, would have diffused anything! As soon as his name was linked he was up to his neck in it!

Somehow though, and I can't figure out why, he has managed to survive this long. Politicians have resigned for much less before.

gastro george

I would be the last person to ever defend Cameron, but has he "profited from a tax haven"? The fund may be based in a tax haven to give the option of avoiding tax but, IIUC, he declared his profit - it just looks bad investing in this kind of fund.

I'm actually more interested in where the rest of daddy's multi-millions went - as Call-Me-Dave would seem to have been a bit short-changed so far, going on his most recent statements.

An Alien Visitor

"but has he "profited from a tax haven"?"

Well if he hasn't I wonder why they go to the bother of sending their money to them!

I am assuming the general purpose of a tax haven is to be left with more money than if you hadn't put it into one!

John

Ken Livingstone was on Russia Today?

So he's a paid Putin disinformation agent too?

gastro george

@AAV - read my original post - the purpose of the trust, IIUC, was that its investors were only identifiable by bearer shares - which means that there was no share register so they were effectively anonymous. It means that the declaration of any profits is entirely optional - and obviously tax-free if not declared. But Cameron declared his profits. I can only presume that he thought it too risky not too as his father ran the trust.

Bob

"Compared to Vladimir Putin’s plundering of Russia"

Yes it would much better to have Yeltsin-two and practically giving the country yet again...

BCFG

I think Ken Livingstone was pointing out that David Cameron had falsely accused him of being a tax dodger.

And Livingstone was pointing out that it was ironic that such a corrupt politician as Cameron would attack Livingstone for doing what Cameron was actually doing.

Maybe Livingstone was on RT because the BBC propaganda unit would not give him the air time?

Also, we need to ask who Cameron is working for? Is he an ISIS agent or his he simply a greedy bastard who puts his own personal fortune before, among other things, ensuring British troops are equipped for battle. His tax dodging and the serial tax dodging of his class takes money from the British army equipment fund and puts it in the Yacht fund of the rich.

Give me Livingstone over Cameron any day of the week.

BCFG

Good point Bob about Yeltsin, the plundering of Russia was a Chicago school economic project carried out by Yeltsin but with 'expertise' from the US and the sort of firms Chris will deal with on a daily basis, I am sure.

The Oil voucher scheme a classic example of how the Russian people were deliberately expropriated by the advanced techniques of Western capitalism. What came to Russia, what plundered the Russian people was the free market which Chris always espouses.

Putin was a reaction to this plundering. He was everything Yeltsin wasn't, fit, articulate and sober.

Will Russia recover from this free market plundering without great damage. The jury is still out on that question!

Another Richard

It's worth noting that the real issue here is not whether or not Cameron personally avoided any tax, it's that he used his influence to block measures to clamp down on tax avoidance by the EU. All while talking tough on tax avoidance.

That he may have stood to gain personally from this is just the icing on the cake.

joe

The investigating journalists working on Panamagate estimate they will take 63 years to go through what they have already got and more pours in each month. Once the prosecutions start then many will blab about others to save their own skins and reduce their sentences. Then the whole thing caves in at an exponential pace.

Cameron senior was estimated to have a wealth of £10m but this wealth dropped to £2.7 in his estate - so presumably £7.3 is undeclared offshore in the name of Mickey Mouse and will be collected unbeknown to HMRC once Cameron leaves No10.

People accept the payment of tax as a necessity but above all that it must be seen to be fairly applied to all. Once Cameron leads UK into austerity then tax retrieval goes right up the issues scale. Instead the public are effectively told that for the richest that any tax payment at all is optional and simply a moral issue.

Cameron's fault is that he has not attacked the issue as a priority as USA has done and UK is still the bad guy with so many offshore tax havens as dependences.
He has not even made "perverting the collection of tax" a criminal offence to make all the lawyers and accountants aiding tax evasion, money laundering and third world looting a criminal offence.

Alex

Politician's careers often stumble on, zombie-like, regardless of their bad policy or worse corruption than the stuff revealed here. That is a lesson I've taken from this blog about how managers and bosses in general keep their jobs but usually not because they merit it. As such, if a small, bad thing gets blown of proportion and threatens a PM's job, I welcome it, because there's so many other resigning cases that never get anywhere near the same attention.

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