Why the ‘Panama papers’ are good news for Dave

I’m starting to wonder if my name appears somewhere in the 11.5 million files of the ‘Panama papers’. I contribute to a pension fund, and this is invested, on my behalf, in other funds, in a manner I have absolutely no idea about. I’d be distraught if it wasn’t making as much money as it could. All above board of course.

Anyway, it’s not about me. UK Prime Minister David Cameron is having a tough time. It turns out, as we now know through the leaked files from law firm Mossack Fonseca, that he may have avoided, evaded, or perhaps paid his tax on a small investment, in an offshore fund, (the Blairmore fund) that his father was a director of. He was belated in his acknowledgement of such a holding, and this has had a detrimental effect to his clean cut, tax abiding, public image. But all is not lost. Indeed the ‘Panama papers’ could be a blessing in disguise for the PM.

Next month Mr Cameron will host the the Global Anti-Corruption Summit in London. It is an event that was organised in November 2015, and one that will, considering recent events, now likely be highly publicised. It is, in short, an opportunity for Mr Cameron to go from zero to hero.

As PM, David Cameron has, with the Blairmore incident aside, been strongly anti-corruption and pro-transparency, in terms of both politics and finance. Indeed, The UK produced it’s first National Anti-Corruption plan in December 2014, and since re-election in May 2015 his rhetoric has amplified, with an anti-corruption speech at the G7 in June 2015, then a landmark speech in Singapore, in July of the same year.

Mr Cameron’s hesitation when faced with the Blairmore question was a rare lapse from a skilled politician. But, through the publication of his tax returns and a promotion of his CV, he may be able to garner enough credibility, in the eyes of the public, to go into the May summit without seeming as hypocritical as he would have done earlier this week.

Indeed, next month’s summit will provide the ideal platform for Mr Cameron to turn the tide; to showcase his political abilities and his anti-corruption credentials. The key policy themes of the summit will be very much in line with current public sentiment i.e to raise the level of transparency in financial dealings. The ‘Panama papers’ have only enhanced the public awareness of the murky world of multi-national taxation, and, should Mr Cameron achieve a productive summit, this increased attention, with him playing a dominant role on an international stage, could prove to be extremely positive for his domestic popularity — something vital heading in to the EU referendum in June — the vote that will define his legacy.

Jack

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Originally published at jackjb1989.wordpress.com on April 10, 2016.

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