Sunday, 8 May 2016

Foxy gentleman hosts dinner party

In Beatrix Potter's classic childrens' story, the naive Jemima Puddle-duck was befriended by an elegantly-dressed gentleman with sandy whiskers, who kindly agreed to provide her with a safe place to hatch her eggs. Jemima laid nine eggs in her benefactor's house and "The foxy gentleman admired them immensely." Then, the fox invited the duck to dinner - what could possibly go wrong?
"I intend to give you a treat." [said the foxy gentleman] "Let us have a dinner-party all to ourselves!

"May I ask you to bring up some herbs from the farm-garden to make a savoury omlette? Sage and thyme, and mint and two onions, and some parsley. I will provide lard for the stuff - lard for the omlette," said the hospitable gentleman with the sandy whiskers.

Jemima Puddle-duck was a simpleton: not even the mention of sage and onions made her suspicious.

She went round the farm-garden, nibbling off snippets of all the different sorts of herb that are used for stuffing roast duck.
Next week, another well-dressed, hospitable gentleman will be playing the host. "Prime Minister David Cameron has said he wants to put tackling corruption at the "top of the international agenda" ahead of a London summit on the issue."

Presumably he's counting on the rest of us having the duck-sized brains needed to trust a man whose family fortune has been squirrelled away in an offshore tax haven, whose party is largely funded by City firms which operate by hiding their own wealth in tax havens and advising their well-heeled clients how to do the same and whose country lies at the epicentre of a multi-trillion dollar globe-spanning tax avoidance scam. As a helpful article entitled "The world's 15 biggest tax havens" puts it :
Aaaaand the real #1?
Clue: It’s not Switzerland.

If the UK and its satellite secrecy jurisdictions were counted together, it would be number one on this list by an absolute mile. So while you might hear politicians in London crying foul about how other countries are acting as tax havens, the lion’s share of them sit under the British Crown. 
Or, to use another poultry-based analogy, Mr Fox is hosting a summit on how to make hen houses more secure. For every Jemima Puddle-duck must have a well turned-out, plausible-looking benefactor.