Never believe until it is denied

The late, great journalist Claude Cockburn famously observed: “Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.”

The last couple of weeks have seen a string of denials by David Cameron in relation to the treasure trove known as the Panama Papers and the £9m mailshot – courtesy of the taxpayer – for staying in the EU, which comes perilously close to misappropriation of public funds, an offence for which Cameron could be removed from office.

For those readers who still think that capitalism is the greatest thing since the invention of sliced bread, the Panama Papers must cast a pall over proceedings.

Not least since they have shown that tax ‘avoidance’ is a sham cooked up to provide a specious contrast with tax evasion which is a crime.

It is worth observing here that tax evasion has been at the heart of the EU since its inception at the European Coal and Steel Community, a glorified good old-fashioned cartel. Think Luxembourg.

The event which seemed to kick-off things is the shambles over the fate of the Port Talbot steelworks.

If ever there was a better illustration of why we should leave the EU and rid ourselves of Brussels-based neoliberal dogma, it is this.

Currently owned by billionaire and multinational corporation Tata, Port Talbot has become the plaything of global capitalism.

Business secretary Sajid Javid dutifully rushes off to Mumbai to grovel before the great man offering assistance, again courtesy of the tax payer, in relieving him of having to bother about steelworkers’ pensions, amongst other things.

It is difficult to find a word that sums up what passes for our government.

I have, in a previous letter, described them, and the coalition before it, as a coterie of wealthy 19th-century public school amateurs.

If I had to pick a word from that it would be ‘amateurs’.

And since I can’t resist having another go at our capitalist readers. I recommend The Global Minotaur by Yanis Varoufakis – chapter six is truly jaw dropping – and Against the Troika by Heiner Flassbeck and Costas Lapavitsas.

Stephen Jackson

Albert Road


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