From John Urry’s Offshoring, location 1109:

Cameron’s father, Ian Cameron, indeed made his fortune through tax avoidance. He took advantage in the 1980s of the new climate of less-regulated investment after Margaret Thatcher abolished exchange controls in Britain in 1979. This enabled money to be moved in and out of the country without it being taxed or controlled by the UK government. Ian Cameron established and directed investment funds located within various tax havens. He became chairman of Close International Asset Management, a multimillion-pound investment fund based in Jersey; a senior director of Blairmore Holdings Inc., registered in Panama City and currently worth £25m; and a shareholder in Blairmore Asset Management, based in Geneva. Blairmore Holdings was established in 1982. The lengthy prospectus written in 2006, designed to attract high net worth investors with at least US$100,000 to buy shares, was explicit as to how investments would avoid UK taxation. It stated: ‘The fund is not liable to taxation on its income or capital gains as long as such income or capital gains are not derived from sources allocated within the territory of the Republic of Panama.’ The fund was not subject to UK corporation tax or income, and under Panamanian law it did not pay tax derived from income generated in other parts of the world. Ian Cameron’s wealth was estimated on his death in 2009 as £10m. These tax-dodging companies located in various tax havens thus helped to finance David Cameron’s ‘posh’ education and hence his progress to becoming British PM

I just heard these prophetic words from David Cameron on the radio:

if you’re not good or outstanding, you have to change. If you can’t do it yourself, you have to let experts come in and help you

He was talking about schools. But have you ever encountered a purer statement of neoliberal ideology? In practice this demand for excellence amounts to, as Will Davies puts it, “heating up the floor to see who can keep hopping the longest“.

The government has denied reports it is seeking a commitment from energy firms to hold their prices down until 2015.

The companies told BBC News ministers were putting pressure on them to commit to a price freeze.

But Treasury sources say this is not part of their plan – and they were looking instead at cutting the industry’s green commitments to help keep prices down.

Labour, who want a price freeze, said government policy was a “shambles”.

Energy industry sources told the BBC on Thursday that the government wants to avoid another round of price rises that could be blamed on state-enforced green levies and the two sides had been holding talks about plans which could result in average bills falling by £50.

‘Not pleading’

Government sources have confirmed that they have been engaged in what they describe as an “information gathering” exercise with the energy sector.

But they insisted they were not pleading with the “big six” energy firms to hold bills down in the run-up to the 2015 general election, saying this was “not part of the package” on the table.