Normally, if asked, I would prefer to read Vince Cable's laundry list than plough through one of his political essays but there is always an exception to every rule. At The Coffee House yesterday, he poked 'Dim Dave' in the eye with a sharp stick following Dave's inadvertent admission that, in effect, Nigeria and Afghanistan are up to their fat necks in corruption. Normally, of course, I would shrug and mutter 'so what?' and move on but then I recalled that Dave sends Nigeria around £300 million of MY money every year. So what's going on, Dave? If I was still a shifty, cynical, second-hand car dealer I might think 'you was on a bung, know wot I mean, Dave?' Happily, these days I am an elderly retiree with impeccable credentials, well, I printed them myself! Dave, of course, calls it 'aid' but given that Nigeria is attempting to operate its own space agency do they really need any aid?
Again, some equally shifty types, I refer to that band of back-stabbing 'bruvs', the London estate agents, might suggest that eventually all that bent dosh comes home to Mummy in the form of galloping price rises in the London housing market - or at least, the posh bits of London, so what's not to like? Possibly but if you're a nurse or a bus-driver trying to house your family in London then rocketing house prices do not help.
Mr. Cable also points out, no doubt with malice aforethought, that if Dave, and by implication, George, really think something must be done they should make a start with the various so-called 'Crown territories' who supply most of the safe havens for ripped off money.
Half of the companies featured in the Panama Papers were registered in British-administered tax havens. These overseas territories vary in the degree of venality and abuse they accommodate but collectively they are dragging our British brand through the mud. And they all depend on secrecy. After all, money laundering is not just linked to lavish lifestyles; it is also tied up with tax evasion, illegal arms dealing, drug smuggling and fraud.
So come on, Dave, purse those little lips of yours to show how much you really, really care and at your forthcoming PR junket conference on international corruption lets hear you spell out exactly what measures you will take against these British dependencies and their corrupt practices.