Dave finds out what it’s like when the gutter press have it in for you

Cameron and PanamaAs readers may know, I’m not a politician and when I worked in politics, it wasn’t at the spaddy level where you’re actually listened to. Yet me, a lowly ex-bag carrier responsible for caseloads in an obscure constituency, knows the first rule on resolving a political crisis is to wrap it up as quickly as possible. The longer a story is attracting headlines, the more it becomes a talking point in the broadcast media, and the greater the likelihood you and/or your party will suffer reputation damage.

These basics have proven foreign to our beleaguered PM and his coterie of expensively clueless advisors. The self-inflicted difficulties Dave has faced over Daddy’s offshore doings was excruciating, and has proven to be his most painful week in office. Yes, worse and more damaging than budgetgeddon and their disingenuous hand-wringing about the steel industry. Dave knew his offshore offloading was going to look bad, so he should have dumped it all at the start of the week rather than let political enemies take chunks out of him. Some PR professional he’s turned out to be.

There are a couple of things worth noting about the coverage. Over the last six years, the majority of the press and broadcast media have given the Tories a relatively easy ride, at least compared to that received by Labour. Because the environment was relatively benign to them, it has allowed top Tories – particularly Dave, Osborne, and Johnson – to inculcate complacent habits. Johnson thinks he can turn up to an interview unprepared and dribble oh-so comedic inanities and get taken seriously. Osborne can’t resist kicking the poor and disabled, because he thinks the media are forever onside. And this week Dave made a similar calculation over his tax affairs and was found wanting.

What he doesn’t get is the priorities of the Tory-supporting sections of media have shifted. They will always cheer him against the Bolshevists on the benches opposite, but right now, little else. Dave has forgotten there is a referendum about Britain’s EU membership on, and the majority of the Tory press for their own sectional reasons want Britain out. They also know a good chunk of the electorate who don’t pay close attention to politics, but lent their votes to the Tories last year quite like Dave and are inclined to take what he says at face value. He is the Prime Minister, after all. In this respect, his person is an asset to the Remain campaign. For the ragbag of outers, the Panama story is a godsend. Damage Dave, damage the chances of us remaining in the EU.

Will it work? If it doesn’t, it won’t be because the far-outers like The Mail haven’t had a damn good try. Yet their scorched earth approach presents them with not a few problems too. If the Tory press want to go hard on offshore stories and tax dodging, bring it. The people damaged by this line of attack aren’t just Dave, but our chancy chancellor, a lot of Conservative MPs, the various interests who bankroll the party and, not least, the proprietors of the Tory press themselves. What can you say? Privilege makes you stupid.

If Dave is wondering when this is going to stop, someone will have to break it to him that it won’t. Between now and referendum day he’s slowly discovering what it’s like when the gutter media have got it in for you.

This article first appeared at All that is Solid


  1. Yes those who want out are probably using the situation but we need to hold the rich and powerful in the UK and globally to account.
    Cameron was left/given £500k in two stages which some argue saved him £70k in inheritance tax.
    The Right are calling this ‘Tax Planning’ whilst others say it is tax avoidance although perhaps we should settle for ‘Planned Tax Avoidance’.
    Another question to be addressed is according to Cameron he had £12k in the offshore Blairmore Holdings (which he later sold for £30k which was just under the capital gains tax limit) but the Blairmore Holdings brochure in 2006 said a minimum investment of £100k was required so is there more we need to know about?
    Oxfam estimate that the rich have 7.6 trillion dollars in offshore bank accounts (8% of the World’s wealth) but New Internationalist a few years ago felt it was 22 trillion dollars which would be 24% of the World’s wealth!
    If you take Oxfam’s figure according to the Guardian (9/4/16) this would be worth 36b dollars to the US and 78b to Europe.
    But with the NI figures could we this triple this?
    Whichever it is just imagine the good we could do for human beings in the UK and the World from this if the rich paid their fair share in tax.
    And Mossack Fonsecca is only the 4th largest company in this field and deals with 300,000 companies. What about the others?
    Perhaps its time for transparency and Planned Global Tax Rules!