After initially calling it a “private matter” and later refusing the allegations altogether, then sort of acknowledging them, David Cameron came clean about his involvement in his father’s offshore dealings, as revealed in the explosive Panama Papers.
In an exclusive interview with CNN affiliate ITV News, the British prime minister admitted he and his wife, Samantha, profited from shares owned in an offshore Panama-based trust fund set up by his late father Ian Cameron.
"I think a lot of the criticisms are based on a fundamental misconception, which is that Blairmore, a unit trust, was set up with the idea of avoiding tax," he said. "It wasn't. It was set up after exchange controls went so that people who wanted to invest in dollar-denominated companies could do so."
The embattled politician also stated he “didn’t have anything to hide.”
Now, Cameron’s honesty would have been refreshing had he not refused the claims before.
Just on Tuesday, when he was asked by Sky News if he benefited from his father’s fund at the time, he said he had “no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds.”
And it’s not just the fluctuating truth in his responses to the leaks that’s getting him into trouble. It’s all the more embarrassing for Cameron because he has passionately opposed tax avoidance and evasion.
In 2012, for example, he called such practices “frankly and morally wrong.”
While talking about tackling corruption during a speech in Singapore, he said:
“I’m determined that the U.K. must not become a safe haven for corrupt money from around the world. We need to stop corrupt officials or organized criminals using anonymous shell companies to invest their ill-gotten gains in London property, without being tracked down.”
Predictably, the British people are outraged.
After inspiration from Icelanders, who forced their Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson to resign after his offshore dealings were exposed by the Panama Papers, people in Britain are also rallying against Cameron.
For starters, social media campaigns are gaining momentum. On Facebook, an event titled “David Cameron: close tax loopholes or resign!” has, as of the time of writing this story, attracted a thousand people.
Although multiple hashtags have been dedicated to the cause, #ResignCameron is trending with full force.
Even popular Netflix series “House of Cards” jumped on the Cameron-bashing bandwagon:
The road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties. https://t.co/ZBpgBT1eL8— House of Cards (@HouseofCards) April 7, 2016
Fugitive National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is also actively encouraging British people to force Cameron to step down.
Although there is a lot of anger and the stage for protests is set, it still remains to be seen if the “Iceland effect” will achieve its purpose in Britain.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters