This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind
Tuesday 5 April 2016
Toby Young’s Panama Piffle
As the scale of global tax avoidance revealed by the Panama Papers is gradually revealed, a number of leading politicians are being dragged, not always willingly, into the spotlight and revealed as beneficiaries of the practice. Iceland’s Prime Minister is on the brink after protests demanding his resignation. The Russian and Chinese leaderships appear to be involved. And then there is Young Dave.
More grown-up debate from Tobes. Or maybe not
Cameron is not named as benefiting from tax avoidance, but his late father is. And, by refusing to discuss the matter - it is not known whether the benefits of Cameron père’s arrangements were passed on, and if so, to whom - he merely stokes speculation that something is being hushed up. If a PM telling us that We Are All In This Together turned out to be a tax avoider, he would not remain PM for long.
So Dave needed defending, and making the appropriately pointless gesture has been the loathsome Toby Young, employing a mixture of false equivalences and good old-fashioned “look over there” ploys, starting with the predictably lame “Can someone explain why it’s supposedly morally unacceptable to use Miliband’s dad to attack him, but fine to use Cameron’s to attack him?” Yep, that equivalence is as false as ever.
Let’s take this nice and slowly, so Tobes might understand. Cameron is being asked a question. Mil The Younger was subjected to a mean-spirited, deliberate and dishonest campaign by the legendarily foul mouthed editor of the Daily Mail, which someone by the name of Toby Young later waved away, blaming Miliband for wanting the right of reply.
Still, details, eh? Then comes “he did it too”, with “For those with short memories, the Miliband family also engaged in tax avoidance”. So Dave engaged in tax avoidance, did he, Tobes? Oh what a giveaway! Try again. “Tax avoidance is not a ‘crime against humanity’ and nor is it theft”. If Dave’s Dad, or anyone else, does not pony up his taxes, it means the little people have to pay that much more - or the country becomes that much more indebted. And we all pay VAT and other duties, Tobes.
Still, he can always blame Pa Broon: “George Osborne has done more to close tax loopholes in his six years as Chancellor than Gordon Brown did in his 10”. Very good, Tobes. Did you manage to miss the attempt to take £30 a week off the disabled - you know, those least able to fight back - to give the better off a handout? But then, they’re just more of those little people who you upstanding Tories don’t give a crap about.
Would Sir like one last try to dig a little deeper? “No one has accused Ian Cameron of having done anything illegal”. No thanks, I still don’t want to look over there. This is a lame and pointless attempt to defend behaviour which hurts us all - at least, those of us who do not have access to the kinds of creative accounting used by Dave’s Dad.
If only Toby Young ever ran to the defence of someone accused of gaining a pecuniary advantage who wasn’t a Tory. No, I can’t remember that, either. No surprise there, then.