Tuesday, April 12, 2016

David Cameron the innocent victim!


It took a few days of excruciating floundering from David Cameron and his party, but it's now clear that the Tory narrative on the Panama Papers has been set.

The ludicrous story they've concocted is that the Tories and the super-rich people caught up in the Panama Papers leak are the virginal innocent victims who have done nothing wrong, and the real villains in all of this are any ordinary members of the public who think they have a right to question the conduct of their Lords and masters!

The dodgy Tory donors

The Panama Papers have revealed that a whole host of major Tory party donors had links to offshore companies listed on the books of Mossack Fonseca these included:

  • Anthony Bamford: £4 million in Tory donations, made into an unelected Tory peer in 2013.
  • David Rowland: £3.8 million in Tory donations, former party treasurer.
  • Fleming Family: Over £400,000 in Tory donations, including direct donations to David Cameron
  • Juniper Equities Trading: £250,000 loan to the Tory party from an offshore fund with an opaque ownership structure. It is still not known who was behind this donation.
  • Tony Buckingham: £100,000 donation to the Tories.
Cameron the "victim"

The Tory MPs and the right-wing press stumbled around for a while without a narrative to deflect criticism, leaving David Cameron to get backed into a corner. Following days of evasive answers and extraordinary press releases about how his offshore dealings during his time as an MP were supposedly a "private matter", Cameron eventually had to admit that he held a five figure stake in his fathers' dodgy offshore business which he never declared on the Parliamentary register of Members' Interests for nine years as an MP.

After all of this excruciating floundering, Tory party HQ eventually settled on the quite extraordinary story that David Cameron and the Tories are somehow the innocent victims in the Panama Papers scandal, and the villains are any ordinary members of the public with the temerity to complain about it. Here is a short selection of some of the ludicrous statements that Tory apologists have come up with:
"You often hear of people being trapped in poverty, but it's also possible to be trapped in wealth. This is David Cameron's fate" - Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
This is shockingly offensive drivel to anybody who understands the deliberate upwards redistribution of wealth that has gone on as a consequence of Tory ideological austerity and how it has resulted in ordinary people suffering the most severe income declines since records began, reduced to food bank dependency, hit with ludicrously harsh benefits sanctions, unfairly thrown off disability benefits, rendered homeless (homelessness has risen dramatically since 2010) and even in death.

Poverty is a trap that can, and does, result in premature death. Wealth is not a trap.

David Cameron isn't under fire because he's wealthy. He's under fire because he deliberately hid his shareholding in his father's offshore business off the Parliamentary Register of Members' Interests and then spent four days obfuscating about it before finally admitting it. The problem isn't that he's rich, it's that he's dishonest.

"Shouldn't the Prime Minister’s critics snap out of their synthetic indignation and admit that they hate anyone with a hint of wealth in their life?" Tory MP Alan Duncan - Parliamentary question
This is an almost perfect example of the sanctimonious Tory "class war" ideology, where the Tories and their super-rich backers are always beyond reproach, and anyone who dares complain about anything they do must be vermin from "the lower orders" who are just filled with petty jealously and should damned well know their place.

According to Alan Duncan's smug Tory "logic", anyone who does have "a hint of wealth" who also feels entitled to be angry that David Cameron failed to register his significant offshore shareholding on the MP's Register of Interests for nine years must be a self-hater who is bitterly jealous of their own wealth!

Another thing to note is Alan Duncan's use of the term "synthetic indignation", which is quite extraordinary given the performance of Tory MP Charles Walker who gave a ludicrous display of synthetic indignation on BBC The Daily Politics show, painting David Cameron as the innocent victim of a "bullying" campaign, only to give the game away completely at the end by getting caught by the camera aiming a triumphant wink at his fellow Tory MP on the panel.

It's absolutely extraordinary that the Tories have simultaneously decided to cynically play the synthetic moral indignation card in defence of David Cameron, then smear anyone still asking questions about his failure to declare his offshore shareholding for nine years as an MP as being guilty of "synthetic indignation".

Following on from his broad-brush smear against anyone with the temerity to question their Tory betters, Alan Duncan went on to claim that non-millionaires are "under-achievers" which is a perfect example of the foul-minded Tory fallacy of natural economic justice (the idea that rich people are rich because they're virtuous, and poor people are poor because they're worthless scum).

"May I tell the Prime Minister that he should not be ashamed that he had the good fortune to be born into a well-off family" - Michael Fabricant, Parliamentary statement
This one is just absurd. It must surely be one of the weakest and most obvious straw-man fallacies ever uttered in parliament. Nobody at all is saying that David Cameron should be ashamed of being born into a wealthy family. The complaint is that he deliberately hid some of his assets off the Parliamentary Register of Members' Interests when he couldn't possibly have imagined that nobody at all in Britain could have reasonably have thought that such a shareholding might "influence his actions, speeches or votes in Parliament, or actions taken in his or her capacity as a Member of Parliament". It's completely obvious that he refused to declare the interest precisely because he thought people would think that, which means he was in clear breach of the MP's code of conduct.

The straw-man tactic (deliberately mischaracterising your opponents argument as something utterly facile and then criticising that, in place of what has actually been said) is truly one of the weakest and most contemptible debating tactics known to humanity.

It just goes to show how far the standards of public debate have fallen that Tory MPs think that they can get away with such blatantly fallacious debating tactics, and how much utter contempt they must have for "the lower orders" that they think we'd all just mindlessly accept such drivel and stop complaining.

Conclusion

The Panama Papers leak has revealed that the Tory party are funded by people with proven interests in a load of dodgy offshore companies and that they're led by a guy who cynically concealed his own offshore interests by deliberately omitting to mention them on the Parliamentary Register of Members' Interests for nine years. However, the Tory party are riddled with such utter contempt for "the lower orders" that they're trying to spin this situation to claim that they're the innocent victims and the any ordinary members of the public who dare to continue complaining are a pack of bullies motivated by nothing more than jealously!

The big thing isn't the fact they're trying to lie. distort, mislead and spin their way out of this situation. That's to be expected because the establishment class are trained to do this from a young age. The issue is the shocking level of contempt that these people clearly have for "the lower orders" that they think that they can fool us into thinking that they're the poor innocent victims and that ordinary members of the public are the contemptible bastards for daring to continue asking questions of their betters.

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