I think I have made clear my position on Pigshagger Cameron. He’s an objectionable man from a privileged background, and a career politician with no knowledge of how the world really works. He’s wrong for a whole variety of reasons.
However, this week, I’ve been forced into a position where I’ve been defending him. Imagine that.
This was in response to the ‘Panama Papers’ revealing the devious goings-on of various corporations and individuals avoiding tax by basing themselves in tax havens. The British Virgin Islands seem to be the go-to place, but there’s the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Jersey, loads of places.
It really shouldn’t have surprised anybody that the filthy rich will do anything they possibly can to avoid paying tax like we mere proles have to. It’s been going on for yonks. In 1989 Leona Helmsley was quoted as saying, ‘Taxes are for little people.’ She may have regretted that when she was sent to chokey.
Here’s the deal with Pigshagger. His father set up an offshore trust in a tax haven. His father did. He didn’t. What his parent did is absolutely not attributable to him, nor does it reflect on him even remotely. I know a bloke who used to be an armed robber, but that’s no reason to tar his law-abiding son with the same brush, is it? He didn’t do it, so he’s blameless, and sad to relate so is Pigshagger.
There there’s the (totally imaginary) furore about Pigshagger’s fragrant wife SamCam being employed by Smythson, a company that supplies decorating materials to the great and Toff. They’re based in a tax haven too. It’s pretty old news this one, but journos are great at dragging skeletons out of closets.
Again, how does this reflect on PShagger? It’s not him who’s employed, it’s Mrs PS, and she has no role at all in the financial shenanigans. If she doesn’t, he surely doesn’t.
Then we have the worrisome aspect that even if some responsibility devolved onto him, and I must say again that it this stage it has not, nothing that’s been going on is actually illegal. No harm no foul. This is morally reprehensible behaviour, certainly, but it’s all legit no matter how much you and I dislike it.
It’s been going on a long time, as this quote from the splendidly named Judge Billings Learned Hand back in 1934 shows.
‘Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.’
I still think it morally corrupt, but it’s not illegal. And for once, PigShagger isn’t to blame. Not something you’ll hear me say very often.