The Furore Over David Cameron’s Tax Affairs Reveals Britain At Its Worst

David Cameron Tax Protest - Panama Papers

Responsibly lowering his tax liability through perfectly legal means is one of the few things that David Cameron has accomplished with any real competence. If only his stewardship of British sovereignty and democracy was half as accomplished, his premiership might not be such a letdown

No, I’m not going to write about David Cameron’s tax return, because despite the sound and fury emanating from the Paul Mason, “neo-liberalism” hating Left, it is a complete non-story.

That much is outlined well enough here, here, here and here.

This blog is more than happy to discuss tax reform – preferably of the fundamental and flattening kind – but not through the lens of our national envy and hatred of wealth and success. Because this tawdry intermission in our political conversation serves only to highlight all of the flawed parts of our national psyche – particularly the disdain bordering on hatred many people feel toward wealth and success – while fading out everything that makes us great.

Of course there are privileged people in this country with wealth and resources that the poorest among us can only dream about. But every moment we waste casting envious eyes at those with more than us, bemoaning our own lot in life and viewing ourselves as part of a vast Collective of the Oppressed and Hard Done By is a moment we are not accepting the agency and responsibility we have for our own lives and decisions.

Should we be outraged that the legal, private tax affairs of an elected politician somehow set a bad example? Okay – but only if we are really willing to go down a path that ultimately will lead to witch-hunts of anybody who fails to “voluntarily” donate 90% of their income to Our Blessed NHS (genuflect).

Bear in mind, many of those shouting the loudest themselves are guilty of the same (or worse) behaviour, cynically (and hypocritically) attempting to use this story to advance their political agenda. And in terms of Cameron’s mishandling of the media story, are we really going to focus on this one particular instance and not the many other clangers? I could write a blog post every day for a year about why David Cameron is a lousy conservative and a disappointing prime minister, and still not get around to talking about his family’s mundane tax affairs.

So if you want to read a furious polemic about the Evil Tories and their inherited wealth, look elsewhere – Owen Jones and Paul Mason will take good care of you. Likewise if you want to read a simpering, fawning defence of the prime minister.

Our country faces an existential choice in the coming EU referendum while the liberal, enlightenment values which we supposedly hold dear are under attack everywhere from GCHQ to social media to the university campus.

And so long as that remains the case, this blog will focus on the things that matter, not the shiny distractions which only serve to reveal our petty biases and jealousies.

 

Panama Papers - Mossack Fonseca - Tax Avoidance Evasion

Top Image: Newsweek

Bottom Image: BBC

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