After three days of evasion, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister has found himself embroiled in controversy over profit from a Bahama-based offshore trust fashioned by his late father, Ian Cameron.
The elder Cameron set up the offshore fund to avoid paying UK capital gains tax.
Through details revealed with the release of the Panama Papers, the wrangle revolves around Cameron’s 2010 sale of 5,000 shares from a unit trust, Blairmore Investment Trust, which was administered by Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the center of the scandal.
Pressured by political opponents in the days following the release of the Panama Papers, Cameron reluctantly admitted the 2010 transaction.
“I sold them all in 2010, because if I was going to become prime minister, I didn’t want anyone to say you have other agendas, vested interests. I paid income tax on the dividends. There was a profit on it but it was less than the capital gains tax allowance, so I didn’t pay capital gains tax,” Cameron said in an interview with ITV.
Cameron marginally profited from the unit sale in the amount of £30,000 ($42,000).
However, the matter now appears to threaten Cameron’s Prime-ministership: Unconvinced of the purity of his profit and suspicious of his association with Blairmore, thousands descended on 10 Downing Street and at several separate locations in London Saturday to demand his resignation.
Clashes between police and protesters were reported; one police officer was injured.
Protesters gathered in Westminster and flocked to the Grand Connaught Room where Cameron was headlining the Conservative Spring Conference.
The protests have inspired a petition for new elections. As they appeared to overtake the Tory meeting, Cameron told demonstrators:
“Well it’s not been a great week. I know I could have handled this better, I should have handled this better, I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them. Don’t blame Number 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers. Blame me, I will learn the lessons.”
Neither enterprising nor industrious, protesters demanding Mr. Cameron’s ouster are as arrogant as they are clueless.
The benefactor of his father’s munificence, Cameron is now assailed as a dishonest rogue by a batch of demonstrators who distinguish themselves not by objectives or motive but by temperament. Their only expression is anger over Cameron’s meager yield.
Fully complying with UK law, Cameron paid tax on the sale of his stake in Blairmore. Cameron did so prior to becoming PM to avoid precisely what occurred yesterday, which is likely to continue into today and tomorrow and well into the immediate future.
That standard proof is wanting is of no concern to Cameron’s critics: In their paranoid, abstract mind, Cameron’s sale and profit is synonymous with dishonesty and economic exploitation of those who are in need.
The indifference with which these demonstrators treat Mr. Cameron’s honest explanations signals honor and personal rectitude represent nothing meaningful and they are willing to harness any device to drive him from office.
[The Guardian] [The Mirror] [The Telegraph] [petition.parliament.uk] [Photo courtesy ibtimes.com]