Panama? It’s Old Hat

I was going to blog yesterday but instead had to handle an urgent call from my accountant in Panama. Sounded a bit worked up. Seemed to be saying I’d be exposed as a tax dodger. But I said there’s more chance of me being the Prime Minister of Iceland.

I must say I’m with the parody Tory MP account which declared the Panama Papers were only shocking to those who didn’t work hard enough to have tax haven accounts. It’s well known that Tesco shelf stackers work harder than anyone often overnight and all of them have secret hoards of untaxed cash stashed in Jersey. Same with our window cleaner Brian who is so greedy he has three jobs. I await his name appearing alongside Putin’s.

It’s typical of the Left to make a ballyhoo out of wealth genuinely earned and honestly hidden in tax shelters. How do think the poor in Panama survive and what stops them getting on boats and heading for a benefits bonanza in Britain? The toxic mixture of jealousy and ignorance brings out the worst in the Guardian types. And just remember – Polly has a villa in Tuscany.

This story of course is the triumph of capitalism. It brings together in one jungle-covered snake pit famous only for through transit (via the canal) every double-dealing, grasping racketeer from communism, progressive left-leaning democracy (600 Icelanders on the list out of 320,000 population) and from every ethnic background in relentless pursuit of profit. To achieve it they leave their morals at the door, their country in debt and their humanity compromised – imagine knowing that you are cheating everyone you deal with. It is the apotheosis of greed and the ultimate expression of right wing zealotry in which you claim anything and everything you can get away with. It’s a stretch but it is on a continuum along with letting thousands of steel jobs go in awe of ‘the market’, even when the market is rigged as it is in the case of Chinese steel and in the case of those with the means to cheat their fellow citizens by avoiding paying their share of tax.

In normal times the conjunction of these two events – a Tory government caught chillaxing over 40,000 jobs linked to a strategic industry and the proof of global larceny by the rich, including the Prime Minister’s family, should produce a harvest for Labour. But we all know it won’t. Not in Scotland where Labour already lies on the slab awaiting dissection. And not in England where the bitter divisions and clueless leadership make Corbyn, thus far, unelectable.

Britain carries a heavy responsibility as the ‘ruler’ of most of the tax havens but this is a matter now for global oversight by the institutions that always claim world respect for their powers of regulation – the World Bank, the IMF, the G20. There can be no escape from coruscating action now to end the rip off. People around the world struggle to survive while the elite line their pockets and press the No thanks button under Pay Your Taxes. Here we harass the disabled with the bedroom tax, lecture workers about tightening belts and retain as Chancellor someone whose family company doesn’t pay corporation tax.

This is corrosive when pensioners see the state take 20 per cent of their income, or confront the stark truth of paying another 1p in the pound. It is corrosive too because it shakes the faith of populations in the institutions that govern them. By sanctioning responsibility-dodging they make it less likely those minded to criminality will see any point in obeying the rules of society. Fascinating to think how Cameron started by telling us we were all in this together and yet everything he has done since mocks the very idea. They are all in together – every hook and crook with contempt for civilised society.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

9 thoughts on “Panama? It’s Old Hat

  1. Very well put Derek.

    The problem is that outside of a revolution there is nothing we can do about it. They are laughing at us and they don’t give a sh*t what we think about it.

  2. As ever, nail hit on the head.

    Now, we just need to wait about seven or more years for the official enquiry into it to report. Then we may have to have an enquiry about why the enquiry is taking so long.

    Oh look, the money has all disappeared and it was just a misunderstanding or mefia made up story.

  3. We really do inhabit a corrupt world, yet without any chance of doing anything about it.

    Oh for a real investigative Press (in our dreams).

  4. “Not in Scotland where Labour already lies on the slab awaiting dissection.” Nicely played!

    Many in Scotland can’t be bothered with the autopsy. We threw a rose, and a handful of earth down onto the coffin, and wandered off in boredom, and eager to look forward.

    As for Corbyn, he is all they have south of the Border, and his feelings towards the Branch office here, were plain enough, not attending the recent Conference.

    Can’t see him doing anything useful with the Panama thing, which is increasingly look like a collection of squirrels.

  5. People want to know what the face of the establishment looks like? Don’t think they need look much further than the Panama leaks. A who’s who of filthy rich corporations, wealthy individuals, politicians/heads of state and crims seeking to dodge taxes and ‘maximize their investments’. The enablers? Don’t really have to look very far on that front either. The worlds financial institutions and capitals again aided and abetted by compromised government.

    Maggie’s dream of a free market, trickle down, rust free economy and low maintenance state.

    Pensioners wondering if they can heat their homes. Others wondering if they can face that first walk to a food bank and these unmitigated bastards telling us how to vote, who to hate and how we should pay for their crimes, their greed and their mess. .

    Are we feeling better together yet?

  6. The very wealthy seem to spend such huge energy avoiding paying tax. If they simply paid their dues, to whichever nation they belong to, then I’m sure they’d still have enough for the big houses, yachts and whatever else they imagine they can’t do without. At the same time, some funds going to the exchequer for public services. Their loss of moral compass affects everyone.

  7. Good to find the blog again after the change of address had me lost.

    Cameron says “it’s a private matter” where his family fortune is hidden, totally oblivious of the irony. Time, I think, for much greater transparency for all of us. Monbiot lists all his sources of income on his blog. I seem to remember Polly admitted a few years ago to earning over £100k – ah, socialism and champagne or perhaps Chianti in the Tuscan villa. But how many of us would be willing to open up our accounts or tax returns to public scrutiny?

    But at least we’d see how much the wealthy hid from view, how many tax freebies like pension contributions, dividends instead of income, minimally taxed “unearned” income they received and all the other “tax breaks” (and subsidies for certain kinds of enterprise) which result in the rest of us having to cough up more.

    I’d like to see a figure for all tax “credits” received by individuals, so that, for example those in receipt of social welfare payments would be considered as receiving “fiscal credits” and those receiving tax breaks would also be seen as receiving “fiscal credits”. So for the rich you would have a figure for tax paid and another figure for fiscal credits – i.e. tax foregone which has to be made up by everyone paying higher taxes elsewhere, such as through VAT, Fuel Duty and so on.

    Meanwhile, we mustn’t be distracted by the msm concentrating on the usual suspects like Putin, Assad and other kleptomaniacs. The big players are corporate enterprises and the ordinary billionaires.

  8. Anybody else think the term “Panama” has been touted relentlessly for a reason?
    On his blog, Craig Murray suggests that most of the money is in fact in either the Cayman Islands, or the British Virgin Islands, both British Overseas Territories, for which Westminster has overall responsibility.
    Complicity, surely not old boy.

  9. Steve Asaneilean

    There was a somewhat lightweight but quite informative documentary a few weeks ago on the financial jiggery pokery goings on in the Cayman Islands. This included a quite revealing “nothing to see here, move along” interview with the UK Government’s representative there.

    It may, strictly speaking, not be illegal – but it’s surely unethical and immoral.

    But then short of inheritance or inventing some wonderful new thing it’s almost impossible to make super rich money without bending or breaking rules.

    The UK Government knows full well about the vast amounts of money being effectively laundered through its overseas territories and they choose not to intervene.

    Remember it was the UK Government who established the concept of tax havens in these territories in the first place and put in place the rules and conditions that allowed them to blossom.

Leave a Reply