By: Toby Gould, Editor
Has it come as a surprise that the Eton-educated, millionaire David Cameron (and his family) had investments overseas? Has it come as a surprise that Cameron senior invested his money in a variety of ways; some of it through tax havens? No. Not at all – it simply confirms what we know about the Prime Minister: his father had a lot of money, and like people with a lot of money the money has been invested in a number of different places.
But if we actually look at what we’ve found out about the Prime Minister (that he previously held shares in the company Blairmore Holdings) then it is still hard to find what he has actually done wrong. He said he made a profit of £30,000 on the shares when he sold them in 2010 and paid all required tax on that in the UK. Cameron held shares in an offshore company which he profited from. Is that a crime? No. Is it even morally wrong? That’s up to you to decide – but he did pay tax on the profits in the UK. This wasn’t a tax-avoiding scheme.
There are people out there who have used countries such as Panama to hide their financial activity and cheat governments out of tax. There are millionaires who do engage in illegal activity to hide their money from the tax man and there are people who use so-called ‘aggressive’ tax-avoidance methods to pay an unfair amount of tax. If the Prime Minister was engaged in any of these things then, given what he’s previously said about tax-avoiders and tax-evaders, the criticism he is facing would be absolutely justified. Unfortunately for Labour, and those who wish to portray him as a selfish and evil Tory, the evidence just isn’t there. The media are also to blame. Of course they are drawn to controversy like parasites. The newspapers will love getting quotes from Labour MPs about how terrible the Prime Minister is and how he isn't really human at all. I can only assume they're hoping something more comes out that truly incriminated Cameron. But, for now, they're trying to make a fuss about something that, really, is just a non-story.
The real problem for the Prime Minister has been the handling of the story. It took a week to get this information out and the statements that Number 10 kept releasing were not helping. For example the statement which contained: “There are no offshore funds/trusts which the prime minister, Mrs Cameron or their children will benefit from in future” was always going to attract further questions. The whole situation was poorly managed and it has allowed those who oppose him politically to use it to their advantage.
David Cameron’s ‘offshore fund row’ is a non-story blown out of proportion Reviewed by Student Voices on 17:23 Rating: