The Daily Mail wins the prize for most hysterical defence of Cameron’s ‘right’ to avoid tax

Kerry-anne Mendoza

The Daily Mail has edged out competitors in the conservative media to deliver the single most hysterical defence of David Cameron’s ‘right’ to avoid tax.

The article, published on Monday 11 April, is titled: DAILY MAIL COMMENT: The politics of envy and why it’s inheritance tax itself that’s immoral.” There follows in excess of 800 words detailing the sheer audacity of the public to expect the Prime Minister, or anyone in a position to receive an inheritance, to follow the rules. The Daily Mail, it states, “believes the lynch mob has run wildly out of control.”

And with that, satire died.

What’s strange, is the Daily Mail has always been keen to lead the charge on tax avoidance allegations cited against non-conservative politicians. We recall this front page assault on Ed Miliband in February 2015.

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But wait. Just a week ago, the same Daily Mail Comment section was calling for a crackdown on Cameron:

https://twitter.com/Juicefan/status/719444958227402753

Apparently, David Cameron is only allowed to be criticised by the Daily Mail, or else it constitutes a witch hunt. Or perhaps there is another reason for this sudden about-face in the wake of public outcry. A look at the tax status of Mail owners, the Rothermere family, reveals another motive. As the Guardian reports:

A Lady Rothermere trust is recorded in Jersey. It appears to refer to the late Lord Rothermere’s second wife, Maiko Lee, of Korean nationality. She did not respond to our invitations to comment. Rothermere’s son Jonathan by his first wife inherited the Daily Mail, also through a Jersey trust, and a Bermuda-registered offshore entity. Jonathan is estimated to be worth £760m. He has not denied claiming tax concessions as a “non-dom”, on the grounds that his father lived in Paris. He resides at Ferne Park, a stately home in Wiltshire built for him by architect Quinlan Terry.

In fairness, it’s not just the Mail which has come to the hysterical defence of Mr Cameron’s right to avoid taxes. They faced tough competition from LBC radio and The Telegraph.

LBC came under fire for this bizarre tweet calling on Jeremy Corbyn to resign over the tax affairs of David Cameron:

Further research revealed that the owners of LBC are in the hot seat over tax avoidance themselves. As Corporate Watch pointed out way back in 2013:

This is Global, the UK’s biggest commercial radio company with stations including Heart, Capital and Classic FM, has not paid any UK corporation tax in the last five years, after sending more than £200 million through tax havens, an investigation by Corporate Watch, revealed in the Sunday Times today, has found. The company also owns Xfm, Choice, Gold and LBC and manages bands including The Wanted and Lawson through its Global Talent business.

Charles Moore, writing in The Telegraph on Monday, issued a plea for sympathy – demanding us all to understand the unbearable burden of being born into wealth. In a piece entitled: “David Cameron’s fate is to be caught in the wealth trap”, Moore argued (with a straight face) that:

You often hear of people being “trapped in poverty”, but it is also possible to be trapped in wealth. This is David Cameron’s fate.

Heartbreaking.

It should come as no surprise by this point to hear that the billionaire owners of The Telegraph, the Barclay brothers, are also infamous tax dodgers. Furthermore, former leading Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne resigned in acrimony last year after the brothers prevented writers reporting the banking scandals of HSBC, in order to protect advertising revenues from the bank.

Therein lies the rub. How can newspapers owned by people with a vested interest in maintaining an unfair and rigged tax system, possibly be a part of exposing that system? Answers on a postcard.

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