Dave’s Taxing Times

Dave’s Taxing Times

Last week we wrote that bad week was succeeding bad week for the Government. Well, for David Cameron personally, this week was arguably the worst of the lot. When the Mossack Fonseca papers leaked from Panama, it was widely expected that it would turn up some big names, but few perhaps expected the Prime Minister himself to be the main name in the frame one week on.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the issue – and who amongst us doesn’t have a family member who has done things we don’t approve of – there is little question Cameron has handled this really badly. When you’re forced to give four different answers to essentially the same question, in the space of just 48 hours, you know you are in trouble. There has often been a sense that hubris will be the PM’s ultimate comeuppance and the worst charge against him on this is hypocrisy – why describe Jimmy Carr as “morally wrong”, as he did in 2012, when you know you personally benefited from similar arrangements just two years earlier?

Politically, one of the most interesting insights has been the way the right-wing press has gone for Cameron over this. Acres of newsprint are being devoted with headlines like “Cameron’s tax: the unanswered questions” and the Telegraph is today running a live blog purely devoted to the issue. On top of the coverage of the Budget and of the EU referendum, the sense grows by the week that, come-what-may on 23 June, there will be an attempt to bring down the Prime Minister before the year is out. The bookies are now offering 3-1 odds on there being a new Prime Minister before Christmas. That might not be the worst bet…