For many years now, Humbuggery between consenting adults has been legal. A stream of apologist spin doctors are working overtime at the moment to stress that the Prime Minister’s access to ‘Blairmore’ cash and George Osborne’s company dividends were not illegal.
They are of course absolutely right.
The flaw in their observation is that, as a moral, ethical or even political defence in the context of austerity politics, is has no merit: it is utterly risible.
This is what David Cameron said on 20th June 2012 about anti-Establishment comic Jimmy Carr’s use of a tax avoidance scheme:
“It is straightforward tax avoidance, and unfair on the people who pay to watch him perform that he is not paying his taxes in the same way that they do….I think particularly the Jimmy Carr scheme…well, 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 these schemes we have seen are quite frankly morally wrong.”
But when it came to Tory donor Gary Barlow’s tax dodge, Well….Dave got him an OBE, and said “I have not had time to look into the Gary Barlow scheme”. And he never found the time…because that’s the last we ever heard from him on the subject.
And when it came to Carr’s wheeze…he funnelled £3m of his income through a company based on tax haven Jersey. Dave’s Dad, however, founded a company in Panama and then shopped around using tax lawyers – looking first at the Cayman Isles & Bermuda – before deciding Ireland would be a good place to avoid paying his fair share. The move to Ireland came in the same month of 2012 when Cameron was railing against tax avoidance schemes, describing them as “morally unacceptable” from the Despatch Box.
David Cameron has been revealed as a hypocritical humbug – giving an impression of being tax-clean when in fact the opposite was true. And he is joined in happy humbuggery by his incompetent Chancellor who posted this on Twitter this morning –
– while knowing full well that Osborne & Little’s tax advisors ensured the family business paid zero corporation tax for eight years…and that his parents trousered £270,000 in dividends while the company was supposedly making ‘losses’.
His family’s British Virgin Islands tax scam wrested twice as much from the HMRC’s grip as Jimmy Carr’s scheme.
Four years ago, Mr Osborne spoke out against “morally repugnant” tax avoidance, making it a major part of his 2012 budget speech.
Humbug? For God’s sake Britain, this is the sort of extra-strong mint humbug that leaves one breathless.
So here we are, with the two biggest players on Team Tory caught taking double helpings to match their well-documented double standards.
As George Orwell might have remarked, “We’re all in this together, but 97% are deeper in it than others”.