Last week was, by his own admission, a dreadful week for David Cameron, with the Panama Papers revealing his family’s involvement in overseas tax havens. Having been vocal in his criticism of others’ tax avoidance in the past, the PM has been rightly mauled this last week in the press for his hypocrisy.
However, one paper that normally has a field day with such revelations has been a bit quiet. The Sun covered the scandal with a couple of articles in the week, but they were uncharacteristically sober in tone. In fact, they almost read like proper journalism.
The tabloid has supported the Tories for the last two general elections and owner Rupert Murdoch enjoys a closer relationship with the PM than any newspaper proprietor should. But the paper has taken a more critical line with Cameron over the past couple of months after announcing it would be supporting the Brexit campaign in the forthcoming EU referendum.
Perhaps the issue of tax avoidance is one too close to the bone for Murdoch, whose Newscorp was found to have avoided £350million in corporation tax over 11 years in an investigation as long ago as 2002.
In a week when Cameron was there for the taking, The Sun decided to try and deflect attention away from this and instead stick the boot into its favourite whipping boy of the moment – Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
No less than three articles appeared attacking Corbyn in the days following the Panama Papers leak. Each one had the flimsiest premise, yet contained far more vitriol and disapproval than the reports on the Camerons placing thousands in offshore trusts.
The first (JEREMY CORBYN SPENDS TAXPAYERS CASH FOR DAILY DELIVERY OF COMMUNIST PAPER MORNING STAR) was the ‘shock’ revelation that the Labour leader had used his office allowances to order daily newspapers (including the Morning Star) to be delivered to his office – as he is perfectly entitled to do with his office allowance. It was a desperate strike from The Sun, given that Corbyn puts in annual claims far lower than most MPs.
The second (JEREMY CORBYN DEFENDS BROTHER’S ZIONIST SLUR SAYING ‘WE FUNDAMENTALLY AGREE’) was an attempt to pull Corbyn into the ongoing antisemitism row within the Labour party. But what Corbyn was referring to when he said ‘we fundamentally agree’ was the Corbyn family’s general stance against all forms of racism.
The final article ( WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO HIDE JEZZA? CORBYN BRUSHES OFF REPORTERS QUIZZING HIM ON PANAMA PAPERS) was the cheapest shot of the three, a below-the-belt attempt to implicate Corbyn in the Panama Papers scandal. The article accuses him of having ‘something to hide’ purely because he refused to criticise Cameron on camera when a reporter approached him in the street.
Poor Jezza must wonder what tabloid rubbish lies in store for him next time Cameron is caught misbehaving.
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