The Panama paper leak certainly deserves the title of “The biggest scam in history”. Too many familiar names have been linked to illegal tax havens after the leak. From politicians to business tycoons to B town celebrities, the leak is a reason for many a mortal to worry.
Things seem to be grim at No. 10, Downing Street too. Reason? The panama papers have named an unexpected individual: Mr. David Cameron, the British Premier.
This must have taken several Britons by surprise. Even Mr. Cameron must have been stumped. After all, if you espouse the idea of transparency in taxation, you don’t look exactly pretty when your name ends up in a list of tax evaders.
“Hypocrisy”, cried the British. Many demanded a resignation. The Twitterati showed no mercy and #CurseDavidCameron and #resignCameron became trending hash tags. For the first time the Conservative leader’s approval rating fell below that of Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn.
The situation exacerbated because Cameron was initially reluctant to speak out, revealing only partial truths when inquired by the media. It transpires that David Cameron’s father, the late Mr. Ian Donald Cameron had an offshore trust, in which his son held shares. However before he became Prime Minister, Cameron had sold all his shares, thereby making a profit.
He was seemingly concerned about his father’s reputation. That was the most likely reason behind his initial secretiveness.
The world seems to hate David Cameron at the moment. But is he worthy of all the criticism and social media invectives that are being hurled at him?
- You may hate and criticize him as much as you like. But it isn’t exactly a criminal instinct to want to protect the reputation of your father.
- Also, it would be improper to call him secretive. He has been aboveboard about his association with the trust.
- He has also stood by his principles of transparency, promising to reveal the details of all related financial transactions of which he was a part.
- His humility was evident when he admitted that he should have handled the situation better.
- He has shown character by defending no. 10 Downing Street and bearing all the blame himself. Now, if you are looking for admirable traits in a leader, this is surely one.
“I know I should have handled this better. I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them. And don’t blame No 10 Downing Street, or nameless advisers, blame me. And I will learn the lessons.”
True, Cameron cannot deny his past association with his father’s offshore trust. Neither is the wrath of his countrymen unjustified. And this may cost him badly.
However the way he dealt with the situation is praiseworthy.
Mr. David Cameron should be hailed as a loyal son as well as a responsible leader.
Now imagine how an Indian politician would have reacted to the same allegation:
Mamata Banerjee: This is a Shajano Ghotona (fabricated incident). It’s nothing but a conspiracy by the CPM. But such conspiracies will not daunt the sarkar of Ma, Mati, Manush.
Mulayam Singh Yadav: Tax evaders should not be punished. Men make mistakes. Why punish them?
Arun Jaitley: The accusation about me seems to be based on rubbish. And I do not need to respond to rubbish.
Uddhav Thackeray: You dare put such an accusation on a Maratha! I dare you. Try and disrupt activities in Mumbai like this and I will break your teeth.
Arvind Kejriwal: Woh pareshan karte rahein, hum kam karte rahein.
To our Dismay, the difference seems quite stark.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.