It came as a huge shock – not that the biological father of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was a former Private Secretary to Sir Winston Churchill, hugely ‘shocking’ the Archbishop, but that this is the headline in all papers this morning! Is there nothing of any importance at all happening in this country? Are the leaked reports of tax evasion by our own PM’s family, are the EU, the BREXIT campaign, so unimportant to the inhabitants of the metropolitan establishment which writes and makes the papers for the nation? At least the old saying that nothing is as important as sex and money holds true, so Cameron isn’t quite let off the hook:
David Cameron is facing a sleaze investigation after finally being forced to admit he had a £30,000 stake in his late father’s offshore fund. The Prime Minister has been reported to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner over allegations that he should have declared the shareholding. And on Friday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded the Prime Minister make a statement to Parliament on the row. In a strongly-worded statement, Mr Corbyn demanded ‘decisive action’ against tax dodging which the Panama Papers leak revealed was taking place on an ‘industrial scale’. Mr Cameron has insisted it was a ‘fundamental misconception’ that Bahamas-based Blairmore was set up by his father Ian to avoid paying UK tax and stressed that his interest in it had been ‘subject to all the UK taxes in the normal ways’. Pressure has been mounting on the Prime Minister for days after Downing Street initially claimed his financial affairs were a ‘private matter’.
Here’s a report with a little twist to this scandal:
David Cameron is poised to publish six years of his tax returns in a bid to end scrutiny over his investment in an offshore investment fund as he faced a potential investigation by Parliament’s standards watchdog. The move will put pressure on prospective Conservative leadership candidates Boris Johnson and George Osborne to follow his example. It came as YouGov polling suggested that the controversy over his tax affairs has damaged his reputation, with his approval level sinking below that of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, for the first time.
Of course, this is joyful ‘news’ to a certain Jeremy Corbyn, who can now go full tilt on the Cameron-attack, as for example this report shows:
David Cameron has “misled the public” and “lost the trust of the British people”, Jeremy Corbyn has claimed amid the furore over the Prime Minister’s stake in his father’s offshore fund. In a fierce attack the Labour leader demanded that Mr Cameron make a statement to Parliament on Monday to give a “full account of all his private financial dealings”, claiming the revelations raised questions about “personal integrity”. Mr Cameron, who admitted on Thursday that he made a £19,000 profit from selling his shareholding in Bahama-based Blairmore Holdings in 2010, is also facing a parliamentary investigation into whether he should have declared the windfall in the Commons register of interests. In his first intervention since Mr Cameron’s disclosure, Mr Corbyn said: “It took five weasel-worded statements in five days for the Prime Minister to admit that he has personally profited from an undeclared Caribbean tax haven investment deal.”
That ‘the British public’ has lost trust in Cameron, or that he uses ‘weasel words’ is however not exactly news to us out here in the sticks …
Staying with ‘trust, the loss of’, with ‘scandal’ and money, this report on another scandal at Tata Steel is not making survival easier for the UK steel industry:
Two senior Tata Steel executives are among 10 people suspended by the beleaguered company over forgery allegations that have prompted a criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. The Guardian understands that Mark Broxholme, the managing director of the company’s speciality steels and bar business was suspended last November. Andrew Parker, the commercial director of the division, was also suspended and has since left the business. […] The potential scandal was discovered when an internal audit by Tata found certificates that verify the quality and composition of its steel may have been falsified. The company then informed the SFO about its findings.The SFO said in a statement on Friday: “The Serious Fraud Office confirms it opened a criminal investigation in December 2015 into activity at Speciality Steels, a business unit of Tata Steel (UK) Ltd. We can make no further comment at this time.”
It is a bit worrying, to say the least, that the Minister responsible for the Steel Industry disaster seems to have taken his eyes off the ball and was more concerned with his own Ministry, or rather with ‘saving money’, according to a leaked paper on the spending review in his department:
Sajid Javid is considering plans to cut 4,000 jobs in his own department and its agencies, according to leaked documents. The Business Secretary, who is currently tasked with saving 15,000 jobs in the steel industry, could have the core staff at his department reduced by 40 per cent, in cuts more severe than even Chancellor George Osborne requires. Mr Javid ordered a review of staff levels at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) by management consultancy firm McKinsey soon after he began the job after the election.The department has repeatedly refused requests to disclose McKinsey’s findings but a leaked strategy paper seen by the Guardian shows BIS is planning to cull at least 1,526 jobs by 2020. Up to 4,103 could go if the department decides to implement the cuts at the top end of the scale recommended by McKinsey – 40 per cent of the department’s current core workforce.It is part of a plan to save £350m – which is £100m more than the £250m required by the Treasury to stay within their spending controls.
BREXIT hasn’t quite sunk below the waves as of yet though, there’s one story which the ‘Remainian’ papers have busily overlooked:
THE European Union is actively making workers across the continent POORER, a top Brussels finance chief admitted today. German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel dropped the stunning gaffe whilst discussing the policies of the European Central Bank (ECB). He conceded that the EU’s policies are depressing the earnings of low-paid workers and pensioners, who he patronisingly dubbed “the little people”. The jaw-dropping admission will anger eurosceptics across the continent, and comes just days after the Dutch people gave Brussels a bloody nose in an EU referendum. It will also add further to the assertion of Brexit campaigners that the EU project is having a negative impact on Europe’s economy. Although the bank’s decisions do not directly affect British people, the Remain camp has made the importance of the EU economy to our own jobs and prosperity a key point in its argument for sticking with Brussels. Mr Gabriel told reporters that the ECB’s ultra-low interest rates are making “little people” like workers and pensioners poorer. The bank – which is run by the 19 Eurozone nations – recently cut its interest rate to -0.4% in a desperate bid to encourage borrowing to kickstart the bloc’s ailing economy. But a period of prolonged negative interest rates has had a devastating effect on savers and lower earners, who have seen the value of their take-home money shrink in real terms. Pensioners have been particularly hard hit, with their accrued pots now worth less than they expected them to be.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, especially not if you’re in urgent need of a hug:
CAMPAIGNERS have resorted to asking Europeans to “hug a Brit” in a desperate attempt to sway voters to stay in the EU. The campaign hopes to “love-bomb” those who are sitting on the fence about whether the UK should leave the European Union on June 23. Katrin Lock, a German who has lived in London for seven years, has come up with the latest social media ploy to try and convince people to vote remain. The idea is to get Europeans living to post photos of them hugging their British friends and use the hashtag #PleaseDontGoUK. She told The Local: “It’s a little bit hippy, but a little bit of hippiness is needed. People are always arguing about cucumbers and shower caps. We wanted to do something positive instead of just talking about rules and regulations. It’s a love-bomb for the UK.”
Shower caps? We want to leave the EU because of … shower caps? Goodness gracious me …