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DAVID CAMERON’S assertion that he behaved like a slippery eel over his account in an offshore tax haven was because of anger that his late father’s name was traduced cannot be taken seriously.
His five separate carefully scripted explanations were confected to avoid confirming that his family, including him personally, had benefited in this way.
He knew that voters would smell a rat over the discrepancy between his loud pledges of strong government action against offshore financial antics and his own family’s conduct.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was entirely correct to slate Cameron’s statement as a “masterclass in the art of distraction” and to voice the widely held conviction that, on taxation, “there is now one rule for the super-rich and another for the rest.”
Public awareness is feeding demands that politicians must be open about their tax arrangements and that taxation on the rich must be tightened up.
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg bemoans the erosion of privacy but accepts that this is an inevitable result of many MPs’ sickening behaviour over parliamentary expenses.
The spectacle of MPs claiming expenses to clean a moat at their manor house, replace a leaking pipe under a tennis court or buy a floating duck house as a pond feature had two negative effects for MPs.
The excesses showed that some treated the public purse as a limitless personal account and that the capitalist austerity imposed on working people and benefits claimants did not affect our political representatives.
They exposed the vast gap between lavish lifestyles enjoyed by people we put into Parliament and the stagnating living standards of the majority of the people.
So much for the “all in it together” claptrap disproven on a daily basis.
The longer and more sustained the revelations that there is one law — and luxurious way of life — for the wealthy elite, the greater the insistence on effective legislation to close the ever-expanding gap between rich and poor.
That’s why elements of the plutocracy — not least Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre — have launched a counter-attack, accusing Cameron of “grovelling before the politics-of-envy mob” and demanding repeal of inheritance tax.
The Mail applauds Cameron’s mother for avoiding £70,000 in taxation by giving her son a lifetime gift of £200,000.
It argues that “the Camerons were merely doing what millions of others would do in their position,” which ignores the reality that only a tiny minority of the population could act so.
Inheritance tax affects just 2 per cent of Britain’s population because Parliament, which is overburdened with mouthpieces of the super-rich, ensures that the threshold is so high.
The Mail accuses Labour MPs placing their wealth in family trusts of hypocrisy, which is a subject close to Dacre’s heart since he claims tens of thousands of pounds a year from the EU common agricultural policy (CAP) for his Scottish Highlands shooting and hunting estate while denouncing CAP as “crippingly expensive.”
Cameron attempted to join in the Mail-led tax fightback in Parliament by representing investment trusts in offshore havens as examples of aspiration and wealth creation.
This shows how out of touch he is. Shuffling second-hand shares does not create wealth.
It can certainly make money — just like parcelling up packages of toxic unpayable mortgages made money for bankers before sparking financial collapse.
Britain’s tax laws and the finance sector that has lobbied successfully over decades to shape them to the needs of the super-rich elite have to be reformed.
This is an essential prerequisite for a more just society that rewards working people rather than share-owning parasites.
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