Jimmy Carr or David Cameron - who is the real tax hypocrite?

Jun 21, 2012
Jonathan Harwood

Debate rages after the Prime Minister has his say on the comedian's tax affairs

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ALLEGATIONS of hypocrisy have been flying in all directions as the Jimmy Carr tax row rumbles on and people have their say on David Cameron's decision to come out and condemn the comedian, who apologised on Twitter this morning.

Many agreed with the Prime Minister when he said that the satirist, who had mocked banks for avoiding tax, was guilty of double standards. But there were plenty of others who argued that the PM was in no position to pass judgment. They focused on the PM's privileged background and the tax arrangements of other Conservative MPs and supporters, and argued that Cameron was being two-faced.

Patrick Wintour, the political editor of The Guardian, predicted the storm when he tweeted last night: "Many Tory donors will be looking at their tax affairs after Cameron slams Jimmy Carr's arrangements. Open season?" Sure enough Twitter was soon seething with debate and bloggers were queuing up to have their say on the matter.

At the vanguard was former Labour deputy Prime Minister John Prescott who fired off a series of tweets relating to Cameron's denunciation of Carr. "So if you're a comedian and avoid tax, the Tories condemn you. If you're a millionaire donor and avoid tax, you get a peerage! ‪#ashcroft," he tweeted on Wednesday evening, in reference to former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, who was not domiciled in Britain for tax purposes.

The Independent hinted that the Prime Minister was being selective in his targets. "Cameron refused to be drawn on separate claims that Gary Barlow and other members of the Take That pop group had also put their money in a scheme designed to avoid tax," it noted. "The disclosure was embarrassing for him as Barlow campaigned alongside the Tory leader at the last general election and received the OBE last week."

The row over Vodafone's tax arrangements also re-emerged on Twitter. Last year MPs claimed HMRC had failed to collect some £25.5bn owed by firms including Goldman Sachs and Vodafone. A graphic began circulating, which alleged Vodafone had avoided 3,484 times as much tax as Carr.

Marina Hyde of The Guardian pointedly noted that another man with controversial tax arrangements, Top Shop boss Philip Green, had been put in charge of the Coalition's efficiency review. She suggested that the PM's advisers had blundered by allowing him to comment.

But Cameron had the right to say what he did, claimed the New Statesman's Staggers blog. "It [was] certainly a licence for journalists to rake over Tory donors' tax returns. But doesn't the argument about whether or not he's been politically inept or hypocritical, mask another uncomfortable truth: that he could be right?"

Daily Telegraph blogger Brendan O'Neill suggested that everyone was to blame and the row was simply part of a "new fashion for recession-related scapegoating".

"Carr is a victim, not so much of his own stupidity, but of the terrifying return of the medieval urge to hurl tomatoes/tweets at depraved individuals, and in the process destroy those individuals, in order to make ourselves feel temporarily better about living in confused times," he wrote.

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Carr is a hypocrite in that he did something legal and justifiable then apologised...either do it or don't , but don't try to have it both ways. However, Cameron is a bigger Hypocrite...he is nominally a Conservative PM presiding over multiple tax hikes affecting us all, so while I can't be bothered by Carr's exploits, it's just celebrity flim-flam, Cameron should be deeply ashamed of his entire time in post, which negatively affects us and the country.

New Statesman, in it's desperate bid to back its Tory mates gets very confused. Being a hypocrite is not the opposite of telling the truth... Cameron was not lying when he called out Carr's behaviour, but he was still being a hypocrite.

Wow! That's news? Cameron's two faced and has double standards!

there both in the 1% , need I say more

Would love to know 'the feeling' being mortgage free like Gary Barlow.
If tax avoidance assists him in achieving this goal, then it's morally wrong when the genuin fair taxpayers are paying for tickets to his concerts and records with hard earned money after tax.

Cameron only has one remit in politics - to protect his cronies - big business and the lovies (music/arts) are all "ring fenced" against criticism. As for Barlow (Old Boys Excluded)(from criticism) just another example of Cameron protecting his network of friends. Wonder what he is doing to ensure Brooks is suddenly and inexplicably exonerated?

It isn't Carr who is at fault here but the rules and regulations. Tax rules and regulations are chopped and changed constantly to suit governments as they see fit and we have little or no say in the matter. I think it's a bit rich and downright hypocritical of the government to say they support people using vehicles such as pensions to save on tax when all they have done in the past five years is plunder them. I know plenty of people who use various ruses to pay minimal tax and and i cannot, in all fairness, blame them because the biggest thieves are the government. They and the banks have got us into the mess we are presently in and now they want us to feel guilty because they can't afford the bill. Sorry. If you can get away with paying as little tax as possible, then thumbs up from me.

We did not need a story like Jimmy Carr/Garry Barlow to point out what a liar and a hypocrite Cameron is, most of us with any intelligence already recognise it and a lot of us remember his promises when campaigning and how he has gone back on his word, no honour amongst this lot of posh boys. He cannot see further than the end of his nose, fancy criticising Jimmy Carr when knowing full well of all his cronies that were doing the same, if he had any forethought or common sense he would have kept his mouth shut, there is only a load of codswallop comes out of it anyway. Recently received a letter in reply to one I had sent to Cameron from someone in his campaign office, I quote "he is determined that fairness is at the heart of everything the Government is doing, ensuring that effort is rewarded and work pays" Bet those on minimum wage would argue this point. Amongst other twisted things it mentioned the cut in tax for millions less well off but omitted to mention the 5% tax cut for the greedy rich. As an o.a.p. that has seen a number of governments come and go
this is the worst and most inefficient, didn't like Maggie but to give the devil its due she did have some intelligence.

is "cameron and co."going to take action to close the tax loop holes?

Cameron is not best placed to pass judgement on anybody him and his government has placed more people in this this country in poverty than any other government in the past 70 years and has eradicated nearly all of what our fathers and granfathers have fought for. He is out of touch with the common people of our country of today but would have been well suited in the victorian era. If i am wrong then ask yourself this, where is the NHS as we knew it, how easy is it to get free dental care, why is it that there is so many of our old people in poverty and cannot get the care they richly deserve. Why are we paying so much for fuel, water, look at the state of our utilities, transport, water, electricity, gas and communication systems. where are we with his promise on immigration, i rest my case.