By: Faye Jones, Student Voices writer
After the recent turmoil in the media about Cameron’s father's offshore investment fund, David finally admitted that he did in fact profit from his stake. Due to fellow MPs, the media and the public putting pressure on him, he is being forced to publish his tax returns from the past few years. Also, not only has he been hit by a wall of criticism about this (and the Pro-EU leaflets), but many have called for his early resignation following the “scandal”.
Firstly, shall we focus on the little drama of the EU leaflets? David Cameron decided it would be a good idea to spent £9 million of taxpayers’ money on pro-EU leaflets to be sent to every home in Britain. This has allowed many Eurosceptic Conservative members to try and “grind the Government to a halt” as they plan to oppose legislation from getting passed in Parliament. Obviously, this has caused many public clashes between Conservative members. One of the most notable was when Gove decided to voice his opinions saying that such money should be spent on the NHS not “propaganda”, which led to Cameron taking the defensive saying that the document “sets out what the government’s view is and why we come to that view” and that he thinks it is “necessary and right”. And for the first (and hopefully last time) in my life I have to say that I agree with Gove. The amount spent on a leaflet that will end up being used as a make shift tea coaster across the UK is ridiculous, and I do agree that there are more pressing issues that would benefit more so from such an investment. However, while I do not object to something like this being an option that you could perhaps send off for, or get a FREE online version, I do think Cameron has made a mistake!
Now on to the juicy story! When such a story was first throw in to the public light he dismissed it saying it was a “private matter”. And while I think that if it was only his father in the wrong,then it would be a perfectly plausible excuse, but thankfully for the media isn't just Daddy-dearest being seen to be in the wrong. So, because he is "involved" I do believe it becomes a public matter, and as the leader of our country we should know when he “slips up” (to put it lightly). Especially, since tax avoiding has been a topic he hasn’t found any trouble in criticising others for. For instance, only a few years ago he made such comments about Jimmy Carr:
“Some of these schemes we have seen are quite frankly morally wrong…People work hard, they pay their taxes, and 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."
And I can’t be the only one looking at our PM and just seeing a massive, red flashing sign saying “hypocrite” above his head? Many Conservative MPs and critics are now saying that after the EU referendum-on June the 23rd-Cameron will now be facing “certain” challenges to his leadership, and to be honest I think if he keeps down this road he might experiences such challenges earlier. Also, with such bad press for Mr Cameron I think that it could lead to many people losing faith in him and what he supports and could lead to more people swaying towards the Brexit campaign, which is sad considering that this is the first thing I can remember Cameron actually showing some passion for, as previously he hasn’t actually showed to have any balls- for want of a better phrase- to make an executive decision, unlike previous leaders like Blair and Thatcher!
This all started back in 2010 when Cameron used an unprecedented television interview four months before he became the residence of number 10 Downing Street to disclose that he had sold his stake in his father’s offshore for £30,000.
Shortly afterwards the “Panama Papers” were published revealing that his father’s firm avoided paying tax for years by operating out of the Bahamas-helping to build up a towering legacy and allowed Cameron to inherit £300,000 when his father died. Considering, Mr Cameron spoke to ITV News insisting that he stands strong by his tax policies and promises that he will never benefit from money held offshore. Really, David. Really? However, this was back in 2010 before he got in to office. It could be argued that he wanted to create a good example for others and actually try to right his wrongs by selling his and his wife shares? In an interview he did say that he "sold them all in 2010, because if I was going to become Prime Minister I didn't want anyone to say you have other agendas, vested interests. Samantha and I had a joint account. We owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust...that was worth something like £30,000." Maybe this was him trying to do a U-turn in order to put our country first, in which case should we really punish him for something he done before he was put in a position of power, which he tried to make right, or for his FATHER’S tax evading skills? And it seems that while he has got a lot of criticism he is actually finding many supporters both within his party and elsewhere.
Yet, Labour has taken the opportunity to finally hold the government to account and effectively scrutinise them-for once! Labour MP for Bassetlaw,John Mann, earlier announced that he would be making a formal complaint to the Parliamentary Standards commissioner, as he believes that Cameron has breached the MPs code of conduct. In the “rules” it states that MPs should be “open and frank in drawing attention to any relevant interest” while serving:
“Members shall fulfil conscientiously the requirements of the House in respect of the registration of interests in the Register of Members' Financial Interests. They shall always be open and frank in drawing attention to any relevant interest in any proceeding of the House or its Committees, and in any communications with Ministers, Members, public officials or public office holders.”
Mann insists that Cameron has “broken the rules on Standards in Public Life that he, along with me and others, voted for” and that “no interpretation of his actions could conclude that he has acted in an “open and frank” way”. A spokesperson for Cameron has openly rejected these claims saying "The Prime Minister’s interests have always been recorded in line with the rules as they stood at the time." Mann is not the only Labour MP to have a dig at him. The shadow chancellor John McDonnell says there has been a "significant erosion of trust" between the people and the government, and David Cameron with these recent events, yet he did make sure it was known that he does not think it is "a matter of resignation at the moment, it’s a matter of making sure that the Prime Minister is straight with us" as the "public deserve a PM who answers questions straightforwardly and they answer straight away". Labour's Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, gave a speech in Coventry insisting that Cameron should now disclose all financial matters since he became the leader of the Conservative party, stating that "only by stepping out of the shadows and into the Sunlight will David Cameron be able to disinfect his sullied reputation." Yet, Ken Livingstone has thrown the most extreme view into public light by saying he wishes to see Cameron behind bars! In fact during a previous Mayoral election he was accused of tax avoidance by Cameron, this has led to Livingstone calling him "the most hypocritical Prime Minister of my lifetime" and that "he shouldn’t just resign. He should be sent to prison." While I don't agree that he should be sent to prison for his relatives actions, or that he should resign, I could understand some sort of “punishment”, but at the end of the day it was his father who was tax avoiding and he did sell his shares in 2010 and admitted to them then, so the only thing I would consider “justice” would be if he gave back the £30,000 he got from selling his shares.
Also, in a recent YouGov poll results it has been revealed that David Cameron has now been over taken by Jeremy Corbyn in approval ratings, highlighting the damage the Panama Papers and EU leaflets has caused. The results actually show Cameron having the lowest ratings since 2013. The poll shows “34% saying David Cameron is doing well as Prime Minister” and “58% say he is doing badly”, compared to the “30% who say Jeremy Corbyn is doing well” and “52% say he is doing badly.” This shows how the mistrust of Cameron has grown in recent times and perhaps gives some explanation why the argument to get rid of “tax heaven” has never been so strong or so public. A petition has started and has been signed by 125,000 people. The petition is based on one real point: "the mega-rich shouldn't be allowed to get away with paying less than their fair share of tax". The Campaigns Manager at 38 Degrees- the company that organised the petition- Amy Lockwood has said that for years Politian’s have been all talk and no trousers, as “none have shown the courage to close down tax havens - the action that the public want to see but influential tax dodgers lobby against.” Perhaps it was this petition, the pure rage of the British people, or how the Icelandic people have recently reacted to their Prime Minister being in a similar circumstance, but UK Uncut has now organised a protest outside Downing Street at 11am on 09/04/2016 in an attempt for Cameron to hand in his resignation.
Personally, I do not believe that he should be punished for his father’s actions, and even what he did do "wrong" I do not believe he should have to resign or go to prison for it? I think Livingston is being very childish by making such an ignorant, extreme comment. At the end of the day I think Cameron has done his best to keep his party and the country together during such troubling times (EU membership, ISIS, etc…), and has actually done a better job than most MPs currently in Parliament could ever hope to do. Also, he was going to leave at the end of this term anyway. I say let him ride out this last term, and lets not prosecute him for other’s mistakes, and let's not allow the media to blow this out of proportion or let Cameron's achievements be unheard/unappreciated!
I am 16 and currently studying English Literature, English Language and Government and Politics at Liverpool College. I am extremely opinionated and enjoy a good debate! And I encourage anyone to try and prove me wrong. So far I have only lived in Liverpool but have huge aspirations to move elsewhere and travel! While, I do enjoy discussing multiple topics I have a passion for education and politics! Twitter: @Faye_Jonesy
Oh, David! What are we going to do with you? Reviewed by Student Voices on 09:45 Rating: