In 2016 the number of people in Britain forced to rely on foodbanks to feed themselves and their children is legion, as is the number who've been reduced to despair because their benefits have been cut for the most minor of infractions. The number forced to survive on zero hours contracts and low pay - and who've been lectured to in the process by David Cameron's government and its media foot soldiers that to be poor, unemployed, or disabled is tantamount to a crime - is far too many. Then we have those who have come under attack for daring to live in a home with more than one bedroom, daring expect to eat three decent meals a day, afford new clothes and a holiday for their kids, a decent Christmas, all of them accused of being card carrying member of the 'something for nothing society'.
This is heart of the matter when it comes to the Prime Minister's link to the Panama Papers. It is not merely that the elite education and life of privilege that he's enjoyed was funded, or part-funded, by crooked money. It is the fact that he leads a government that has waged an unremitting war on the poor, the vulnerable, and the needy, accompanied by the most vicious campaign of demonisation ever undertaken by a government against its own citizens, all in the name of financial and economic probity.
The hypocrisy of the Prime Minister and his acolytes reeks to high heaven. These people have governed the country not from Downing Street but from moral high ground which this past week has been exposed as nothing more than a smouldering dung heap of half truths, untruths, and double standards. Isn't this precisely the reason why pitchforks exist, to root out those who would condemn and punish people for misdeeds and 'crimes' which they assert the right to commit themselves?
Just ask people living in Iceland. No sooner had the revelations contained in the Panama Papers come to light, implicating their own prime minister, than they were out in force demanding and receiving his resignation.
Yet, thus far, over here it's been just another day.
No, if only in solidarity with those who have been forced to suffer under the rubric of austerity - and suffer needlessly given that austerity has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with ideology - David Cameron cannot be allowed to remain in Downing Street.
Taking a broader view, we have moved past the point where these offshore tax havens and accounts should have been shut down. For far too long they have been allowed to subvert and undermine the economic wellbeing of entire nations, especially poorer nations where every dollar or pound lost to tax avoidance or evasion impacts investment in education, technology, infrastructure, the pillars of economic development.
On that, how many of us know the difference between tax evasion and avoidance? Surely it is a classic example of a distinction without a difference, a legal anomaly that stands as evidence of the absurdity of what passes for legality in our society.
The corrupt nature of the current UK tax system is reflected in the cosy relationship enjoyed by the Big Four global accountancy firms and HMRC. The scandal involving said firms using its contacts within HMRC and the Treasury to help their clients avoid tax cuts to the heart of the corruption now entrenched within the British financial, banking, and political establishment.
The level of income and wealth inequality in Britain has been allowed to reached obscene levels. Homelessness, mental illness, and the various other maladies linked to poverty and social exclusion are on the rise as austerity bites those unlucky enough not to have been born into privilege. Our democracy is but a sham, repeatedly exposed as organised hypocrisy, yet the status quo continues to obtain. Why? What is it about the British culture and mindset that we seem to accept the brutal and naked injustice that passes for normality?
At bottom this is an issue of class. It is about one law or set or moral values for the poor and another for the rich and privileged. In this regard we have seen the rolling back of our cultural and moral values to those that predominated in Victorian times. When we recall the way Cameron voiced his 'workers v shirkers' mantra in order to turn society against those who dare claim the meagre benefits to which they were entitled, in the process of attacking the welfare state in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich, our blood should be boiling this week. This man has governed like Pontius Pilate, dispensing misery and presenting it as moral regeneration, when all along his own morals were non existent.
So, yes, David Cameron must be forced to resign, else we should strike the word 'justice' from the nation's vocabulary. However, even more crucially, the information contained in the Panama Papers must be the catalyst for root and branch reform of a tax system that allows the rich, incuding corporations, to pay more or less what they want to pay, and hammers the rest of us if we so much as dare pay less than we are meant to.
It is a state of affairs that doesn't merely undermine democracy it renders it moot.
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