WHAT a striking contrast between the integrity of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s response to the revelation that the man he thought was his father was not his biological father, and David Cameron’s ducking and diving response to the revelation that his father established an offshore fund which paid no UK tax for 30 years.
How can you really condemn others for using offshore accounts to reduce their tax payments as immoral while involved in one yourself?
This situation wouldn’t be so bad for Cameron if it wasn’t for two things. Firstly, the way in which all four statements were dragged out of him, each one seemingly contradicting the one before. As usual, he was being reactive instead of proactive. Secondly, the way he publicly preached ‘morals’ during the Jimmy Carr tax affairs furore. Basically, astonishingly inept PR advice and, for many, a sign of hypocrisy.
Now, none of the information published so far suggests Cameron didn’t pay what was due. We all know he’s a wealthy man from a wealthy background married to a wealthy woman from an equally wealthy background.
The problem here isn’t really about the size of his inheritance, but about transparency. The prime minister not only has to be seen to be doing the right thing, he has to go much further and understand the perception that sometimes even doing the right thing may still be seen as evasive and cagey. In politics, perception is everything.
More recently, he’s become mired in another controversy, the £9m pro-EU leaflet campaign to 27 million homes. Heck, for Brexiteers, the irony is too good to pass up. The PM uses taxpayers’ money to persuade taxpayers to stay in the EU which, for them, wastes taxpayers’ money!
David Cameron has enormous influence in the EU referendum campaign, but both these high-profile controversies have chipped away at his integrity and trustworthiness (his approval ratings for the first time are lower than Jeremy Corbyn’s), hence the shift towards Brexit in recent polls. Anything that causes wavering voters to question his credibility will cut away at the EU campaign he heads up.
Who knows, in the end this ‘Taxgate’ may yet prove to be the strongest argument in favour of Brexit. In it together? Well, some are!
Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89;£0.79) and iBookstore. All profits to Cudeca charity.