As those who read my blogs know, I am not a fan of David Cameron, and many of his cronies, like George and Boris, who if the bookies are anything to go by will be perhaps the two favourites from those who will most likely succeed him if he were to stand down as Prime Minister, yet I disagree with a growing cohort of my friends who post on social media, who say he should resign over his part in the latest financial scandal to break, I reported on earlier in the week.
I well recall when I started my own business I paid myself a low salary to minimise Employer NI payments and then declare dividends to avoid Corporation Tax. I still see nothing wrong in doing this much as I suspect does Dave in the way he has handled his tax affairs. By way of an illustration, there was a time when I was a fresh young graduate entering the teaching profession for the first time and I came across one particular pupil who managed to do all sorts of naughty things and get away with it. One day I punished him for something he didn’t do, although to give the young lad his due, he accepted my apology when I realised and then acknowledged my mistake, as well as explanation that it perhaps made up for the times he got away with his wrongdoing. I feel a bit like that with David Cameron. Since getting into power without needing to keep the LibDems onside, I think of all sorts of things he has done wrong and why I would like him to stand down, but not necessarily on this occasion or for this reason. It is true he benefited from his father’s, some will say, unethical investments although others might point out was a widely accepted legitimate way to avoid taxes at the time, and was not too forthcoming about what had gone on until he was pressed on the matter, while lecturing us on the need for honest financial dealings, but I am not sure he has done anything strictly wrong, although I am still open to be convinced either way.
My mind went back to one of my favorite political TV dramas from some years back: “A Very British Coup”. In it the hero, Harry Perkins, came to power because of the financial impropriety of the previous administration. Thinking about it, it was in part at least due to a sense of outrage over financial skullduggery (moral rather than legal) that contributed to the downfall of the John Major government and the Blair / Brown years that followed. While I cannot respond with much enthusiasm to the just in request that I join the demonstration being held right now that is demanding Dave’s resignation, I cannot help but declare my anger that notwithstanding the danger of my succumbing to the politics of envy that it has been under Dave’s watch the haves have more and have nots have less – and much of this is for the wrong reasons.
One thought on “Should Dave resign?”
I feel I must re-iterate what I said earlier. DC has done nothing wrong re this issue. His father was one of many investors who were advised on minimising tax liability in a legitimate way. The Camerons did benefit but sold their shares when DC became PM – and settled any tax liability at the time. Ther are many British citizens who have taken out similar investments to Cameron senior – including for example avoiding tax liability by business expansion schemes whereby one could invest in new small businesses and save tax – and many other incentives offered by successive governments. Today we have ISAs etc which do the same thing. And can we really say that we all pay the amount of tax due on earnings. What about the black economy and the culture of paying for jobs done in cash? There always used to be a distinction between tax avoidance (which was considered to be prudent) and tax evasion which is and always was considered illegal. These days the distinction has become blurred. Unless and until we legislate to outlaw tax avoidance as well as evasion then I am afraid there is no case to answer.