Cameron’s Tough Week Has a Long History

UK Uncut protest in London

Two brief observations on the offshore tax stuff:

(1) Essentially, we have witnessed one of those occasional paradigm shifts where something that was previously tacitly accepted is now questioned. Like the post-Savile fallout made us look twice at the culture around fans and celebrities. Regardless of who did what, when and where, the credit for this particular paradigm shift is owed to UK Uncut. This organisation pretty much single-handedly brought the issue of tax avoidance into the public domain. Originally derided as a fringe group with funny ideas, at a time when people accepted tax avoidance as a natural and logical activity that the (moderately or very) rich did, it’s now viewed in a completely different light, as somehow morally indefensible, both for individuals and corporations.

(2) That the reason Cameron has had a bruising week, when the extent of his malfeasance is, in this particular case, limited is both a consequence of his past expressed views, reminds me of the “Back to Basics” fiasco the Conservatives experienced in the early 90s, when the various scandals that emerged were viewed in a dimmer light against the context of the moral preaching that had gone on before. It is also evidence of the old political maxim, best exemplified by the Watergate scandal, that frequently it is the cover-up that is worse than the crime. Frankly, I’m more alarmed by the cuts and creeping privatisation of this government than Cameron’s past share dealing. But I’ll take a blow to his popularity from whatever source it comes.

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