It’s a Sunday evening in early April. The sun is looking for its selection of hats but keeping the brolly near the door. Some have been to Lanzarote and others to Port Talbot. Some are facing losing their jobs and perhaps their homes others are stashing their ill gotten gains in off shore accounts. Same old same old many say. They would be right of course. The casino economy that rules planet Earth leaves billions floundering and millions floating. All glued together with secrets and lies.
And then BANG! THE PANAMA PAPERS They include approximately 11.5 million documents that provide rare insights into a world that can only exist in the shadows. It proves how a global industry led by major banks, legal firms, and asset management companies secretly manages the estates of the world’s rich and famous: from politicians, Fifa officials, fraudsters and drug smugglers, to celebrities and professional athletes. It shows how the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca’s clients were able to launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax – the law firm though says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years. At this point we are only just getting to know how complicit and corrupt our so called leaders and role models actually are.
Since the 80’s it has been all about benefit fraud. We have heard about the tsunami but have been pointed towards the duck pond. For many blaming the ducks on their doorstep is much easier. It enables the anger and disempowerment to be offloaded on to someone real. Someone local. Someone who is not you.
The corporate media have too much to lose to look and comment too deeply. Play lip service and then move on quickly. The owners of the Daily Mail – ‘Rothermere’s son Jonathan by his first wife inherited the Daily Mail, also through a Jersey trust, and a Bermuda-registered offshore entity. Jonathan is estimated to be worth £760m. He has not denied claiming tax concessions as a “non-dom”, on the grounds that his father lived in Paris. He resides at Ferne Park, a stately home in Wiltshire built for him by architect Quinlan Terry.’ (The Guardian) Rupert Murdoch, owner of The Sun and The Times (to name but two), ‘has exercised accountants for years. The holding company for his UK newspapers legally paid no corporation tax at all during the 1990s, while its less than Googleplex profits since have meant HMRC is hardly awash with Murdoch millions. His company tax affairs have also come under scrutiny in Australia.’ (The Guardian) To own a newspaper requires a lot of spare money and how that money is made is kept mainly a secret. As shown when Murdoch went creeping around in Russell Brand’s landlord’s affairs: you better be squeaky clean yourself.
For many politicians globally and domestically this is squeaky bum time. ‘Will they out me?’ Can my lawyer and PR manager cover it up sufficiently?’ ‘How can we distract the public so that they will head back to kicking the welfare recipients again?’ ‘Where are ISIS when you need them?’ All these and more are rattling around the exclusive clubs and corporate boardrooms right now. The vipers have been dragged in to the open. Don’t let them slither back. Remove the venom sack and the fangs and let’s make them play our game from now on. If they step out of line – ostracise and ridicule them. If they are short of cash reduce their eligibility and make it harder.
OR we could get rid of this casino economy. We could offload our anger and prejudice. We could challenge the deceit and we could prosper together. Whatever happens the evidence is becoming clearer day by day and they must never again be allowed to return to the haven of greed they have prospered in for so long.