They say that a week is a long time in politics but I am sure that this last week has felt like an eternity for the Prime Minister. After attempting to dodge the revelations in the Panama Papers by claiming his tax affairs were a ‘private matter’ the Prime Minister was forced into the embarrassing position of admitting to what he had previously denied. In hiding from the public the Prime Minister only further exposed his position to extreme scrutiny from both the opposition and even some within his own ranks.
While true that the Prime Minister has done nothing illegal, his tax affairs leave little to be desired from a political position. Even the biggest supporters of the Prime Minister have conceded that this has been the worst week of his political life. The reason is rather simple: it has exposed the Tories as far removed from the lives of ordinary people. Each tax return release yesterday only compounded the problem. First the Chancellor was shown to have paid more in tax than the Labour leader earned altogether. Then the Mayor of London was shown to have earned more than the Prime Minister, Chancellor, Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Chancellor combined. Even attempts at openness and honesty have only solidified the image of the Tory party as out-of-touch with the concerns of working families across Britain.
While the Tories have gotten away with pretending to be on the side of aspiration, the Panama scandal has exposed the worst in them. The repugnant face of a Conservative party that stands for inherited wealth over hard work was in display in the image of Alan Duncan after the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday. Decrying the situation as one of envy politics, the Tory MP supposed that people concerned about tax avoidance hated anyone “with a hint of wealth” before appearing to suggest that without the wealthy in parliament it would be a place of “low achievers”. It is almost as if the Government is unaware of the public’s anger. As people rightfully highlighted issues with the tax system, the Tory benches couldn’t help themselves but laugh it off.
And if anyone needed any inspiration to get out and campaign for Labour in the coming May elections, Dennis Skinner certainly provided. In labelling the Prime Minister “dodgy Dave” the beast of Bolsover found himself barred from the commons for saying exactly what a majority of the nation has been thinking. While it was a wonderful moment of Westminster drama, the strength that has been shown by the opposition in recent days must now be replicated on the doorstep. The only way to truly overturn this nasty Tory party is by beating them at the ballot.
The difference between the Labour Party and the Tory Party has never been clearer. We have a government that stands for the wealthy and defends the existence of one rule for the super rich and one rule for the rest of us. On the other hand we have an opposition defending working people and the vulnerable the best it can, promising to fight for said people at every given opportunity. The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is offering a real alternative. As May approaches it is more important than ever that we spread this alternative to the people of Britain and ensure that we take control in local communities.