The rain was back this morning as we cleaned out the hens. Believe it or not we have been waiting for five months for a dry spell long enough for us to do some much needed painting, and the wait goes on. And on. We can only hope that the summer proves better than last year.
Meantime we noted with interest that the training regime for our millionaire Premiership footballing heroes appears to include fighting outside nightclubs at 2.00am. England and Arsenal star Jack Wilshere was yesterday questioned by police in an alleyway after being kicked out of a club after a row. We realise only too well that young men will be young men, but we venture to wonder if those receiving more pay in a week than the average worker receives in a year shouldn’t be advised to show at least as much dedication as those who regularly pay through the nose to watch them. Sadly. to quote Mr MacEnroe, many of them are the pits of the world.
Meantime we have a question. Do we Brits any longer own anything? The saga of the Indian owners of our steel industry was fresh in our minds when we learned the outcome of the latest franchise awards for our railways. Here in the North West we have a rail service that would shame Lagos, with dirty overcrowded two-carriage units perpetually arriving late. And guess what! Arriva has taken over, and Arriva is a subsidiary of the German state-owned Deutsche Bahn. In other words the German government is now the owner of our rail service, and will undoubtedly use the profits out of British commuters to subsidise fares at home. Given the government’s reaction of horror to any suggestion of nationalisation it seems to us the supreme irony that it is happy to surrender control of our network to a nationalised owner, albeit a foreign one. Does it matter? Ask the workers of Port Talbot.
But for us, as we settled in the allotments hut to drown our sorrows in Yorkshire tea, the big story of the day was that concerning the leak of files said to be from secretive Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. More than 11 million confidential documents have in some way fallen into the hands of investigative journalists, and show how the world’s richest people protect their wealth. We cannot claim to have been shocked at the news that the likes of Valdimir Putin, the King of Saudi Arabia and the President of Azerbaijan have long avoided meeting their tax liabilities. But one name on the list really did shake even our cynical souls.
David Cameron’s father Ian, who died in 2010, is reported to have used Mossack Fonseca to shield his investment fund, Blairmore Holdings Inc, from UK taxes. The leaked papers say his fund was “managed and conducted so it does not become resident in the United Kingdom for taxation purposes”. This is tax evasion on a large scale, the very kind so often condemned by the Prime Minister and his Chancellor when responding to public outrage.
To quote David Cameron tax avoidance is “morally wrong” yet more than half of the 300,000 banks, companies and individuals said to have been used by Mossack Fonseca are registered in British-administered tax havens and many of the names are well know in British business and political circles.
But for us the big question is did Cameron Junior know of his father’s practices? It seems unlikely that he didn’t, but the ‘sins’ of the father cannot reasonably be visited on his children. However, in this case the children include the Prime Minister of the country being robbed of its rightful income. And if he even suspected that the family fortune was based on ill-gotten gains his constant verbal assaults on those who avoid their “moral responsibility” leaves him open to accusations of hypocrisy at best, and aiding and abetting at worst.
Statements from the Downing Street spin-doctors about not commenting about private affairs are unacceptable. Here we have at the very least the possibility that the man ultimately responsible for the nation’s financial affairs has benefited from an inheritance boosted by money that should have been in the hands of the treasury.
We codgers have always held our dear leader in a degree of respect. If he fails to face up to public scrutiny on this, that will no longer be the case.
QUOTE FOR TODAY: “The UK cannot continue to provide cover for the rich and powerful who wish to operate in the shadows.”….Ben Chu, Independent.