IN a move normally associated with a money drenched US presidential election, British prime minister David Cameron took the unprecedented step of releasing his tax returns, and immediately managed to worsen his dire situation.
Cameron, who comes from wealthy stock, has been fighting for his job in recent days as revelations from the Panama Papers place his family among those benefitting from various offshore banking syndicates.
Although he initially promised more than four years ago to be fully transparent about his personal finances, it was hardly a coincidence that he chose this Saturday April 9 to finally release his tax records.
It can be assumed that, unless Cameron is opting for a kamikaze political death rather than the slow poison of a Brexit vote, that the move has spectacularly backfired after the records showed indisputably that the Cameron family had managed to avoid paying £80,000 in inheritance tax.
Cameron’s father died in 2010 and his mother then transferred two sums of £100,000 into his personal accounts as a gift in order to help him overcome hefty inheritance tax payments on the estate.
It is the modus operandi of wealthy families everywhere but has further muddied the prime minister’s reputation after the Panama Papers revealed his father made huge profits from the kinds of offshore networks that have been exposed.
The revelations are largely seen as not befitting of a British prime minister and further tying the political establishment to unseen, anti-democratic financial interests.
“It has not been a great week. I know that I should have handled this better, I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them. Don’t blame No 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers, blame me.” Cameron said in response to snowballing criticism and calls for his resignation.
The prime minister has switched tones from the defiant to the apologetic as he swings whichever way the wind blows to cover his back and protect what remains of his legacy.
Regardless of your political persuasion, the prime minister was looking set to go down as an average Conservative leader who changed a few things around, implemented brutal austerity measures and made a mess in a country with brownish people.
Now, like Tony Blair before him, he looks set to be remembered more for the disaster of his premiership than any successes he may have consoled himself with claiming.
Should more revelations come forward there is every possibility that the combined mess of the Panama Papers, and the looming Brexit vote, could unseat the man who asked us to ‘call him Dave’, well before the end of his planned stay in Number 10.
The Eton-educated British prime minister who was hounded out of office for financial irregularities, who oversaw Britain’s exit from the European Union against his will, and the likely collapse of the United Kingdom with the loss of Scotland, would certainly see our Dave secure his place in history.