The Panama papers justify the strikes as a battle against corruption

Dr Oscar ToHeadshot barts crest

Staff writer


 

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The release of the Panama papers this week has left governments across the globe in disarray as it turns out the benevolent elites ruling us are not so benevolent after all. These leaked papers reveal the messy trail that the wealthy take advantage of to avoid tax in lucrative tax havens that allow money to be hidden in paper trails and hoarded away from pesky governments. Iceland’s prime minister has already resigned and David Cameron is facing increasing pressure from the country.

Of course, as the prime minister says, he has done nothing illegal. There is nothing illegal about avoiding tax, unlike tax evasion. Avoiding tax involves taking advantage of legal loopholes to transfer money out of countries and hence ‘avoid’ tax. Again, there is absolutely nothing illegal about this, and who doesn’t want to avoid that pesky tax man? It’s not like taxes are there to do anything but reduce your disposable income right?

Except for the fact that taxes pay for the entire expenditure of the government, including such useless things as public services such as hospitals, schools, roads, welfare, pensions, firemen, police services and the army. Of course, if you’re rich enough, I suppose you can potentially fund avoid a lot of these things by paying for them privately such as going to Eton, for instance or getting BUPA to sort out your healthcare.

Nonetheless, the government is also lead by our members of parliament such as, oh that’s right, David Cameron. I guess there could potentially be a slight conflict of interest here if you’d rather not pay to maintain the actual state you’re trying to lead. I mean would you trust a doctor that cared more about making money out of illness rather than caring for you? So why trust a politician that won’t even fulfil their basic duty to the state?

Of course many of us would say that we try our best to save money and surely Mr Cameron’s father did the same? His dad just did things in his best interests. But these are his personal best interests. This is money that could easily go towards paying towards the bills of hospitals or schools. And let us not forget, we have spent the last 8 years undergoing austerity, leaving the disabled to face cuts from the rest of society whilst the inequality gap has widened.

Some of you may argue that Mr Cameron’s money is his to do as he pleases. But let’s look at the numbers here; he got £200 000 from his mother tax free. The median wage in this country is £20 000. What Mr Cameron got for free from his mother is what many people take 10 years to earn. Mr Cameron himself has done nothing other than benefit from his own wealth, propelling himself to number 10 thanks to his father rather than his own merit.

These papers reveal only one thing: the government is corrupt and these members of parliament are far more enthusiastic about enhancing their own wealth than caring about the country as a whole. But let’s spend a moment pitying the fact that they come from such privileged backgrounds, they are trapped by their own wealth, unable to understand what the real world looks like.

How can we possibly trust politicians that are so clearly out for themselves rather than their country?

We don’t.

The junior contract is only one issue amongst many that now, more than ever, we are justified in pursuing our aims. The government needs to realise that business is not going to continue as usual. Our struggle is not simply about our contracts, nor the NHS, nor even our patients alone. This is a battle for justice. Ensuring that society is a fair place where are only one set of rules for everyone. A society where everybody contributes fairly. A society where work pays, and not family wealth.

We must push for a society where the rich are unable to hide themselves under veils of murky tax havens. There must be more transparency for those that abuse their power. Whether it is Trusts that abuse staff and patients in the name of financial balance sheets or billionaires hiding their funds.addtext_com_MTI0NTEzNDAxODA

It still remains a taboo to discuss how much we earn in this country. But it is this very fact that ensures that issues like the gender pay gap and boardroom sleaze continue unabated. We need to push for a public register of wealth so that people know exactly how much people are earning and for what. Some people argue that they have a right to privacy, but money is fundamentally power. If a minister in charge of health is being offered a lot of money from private health companies, the public deserve to know this.

This is a struggle that will define our generation. We must not tolerate business as usual as our  standards of both living and caring plummet on behalf self-interested politicians. The people of this country have rights to health, education and housing. Letting the rich get richer is not an excuse.

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