Political scandals can make for unlikely allegiances, at least as far as the media is concerned. In the case of David Cameron’s tax returns, we have the Guardian springing to his defence from the left, while on the right he gets a kicking from his ‘critical friend’, the Daily Mail.
Of course, this latest frenzy has much more to do with the EU referendum than it has the fiscal probity of our political leaders and has taken us in every direction except for the Brexit debate, down the cul-de-sac of inheritance tax and class warfare.
More worrying is the people shouting ‘I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours’ as politicians on all sides queue up to publish their tax returns, as if that has anything to do with the price of fish. (That’s something we leave to Brussels of course) Jeremy Corbyn, George Osborne and Nicola Sturgeon all rushed into print with their self-assessment forms in a fit of holier-than-thou-ism, proving absolutely nothing, except that Corbyn was fined £100 for submitting his after the deadline.
The one interesting fact to emerge from Boris Johnson’s return was that he declared very precise £266,667 he was paid last year for his weekly column in the Daily Telegraph. Since he is on record as saying that this occupies him for just ten hours a month, that means his hourly rate is £2,200, rather more than the £7.20 his could expect under the much trumpeted National Minimum Wage.
They say that politics makes great theatre, but it is in danger turning into a West End farce if carries on like this. Roll on 23 June when we can get back to the ‘serious’ drama.