Donald Macintyre's Sketch: David Cameron can be choosy about who he invites to dinner

 

Most people are all too aware of the breathtaking successs of companies like Amazon and Google in keeping their vast profits out of the hands of governments across the planet. But the Prime Minister may have been a shade optimistic during his Commons statement on the G8 summit in saying that while the “tax and transparency” issues as discussed at Loch Erne used to be the province of academics, they are now “kitchen table subjects”

As in: “I really like these new central registries of beneficial ownership. Pass the salt please.”

“Is this high-level international tax tool David Cameron keeps talking about what I think it is?”

“Don’t be cheeky son. And don’t talk with your mouth full. It’s what the OECD will be using to tackle base erosion and profit shifting. Along with the transformative Open Data Charter. My, these parsnips are good.”

Nevertheless Cameron drew support from Labour’s Barry Sheerman who reassured him that “my constituents and people around the world will be positive about much that has come out of the G8 conference, although the hard-headed and cynical press are always ready to say it is pie in the sky”.

Fair enough. But this was not enough to dispel widespread worries about Syria. The tone was set by the venerable Tory Sir Peter Tapsell who pointed out that he had first visited the country when he was 19. Which, for the record, puts him there in 1949, the year of a – probably CIA-enabled – military coup. Sir Peter wanted Mr Assad invited to the Geneva peace conference along with “a representative of the new Iranian government, who need to be brought back into the comity of nations”.

While this was echoed by backbenchers on both sides of the Commons, Cameron showed no sign of agreeing. And he was less cast-iron than William Hague had seemed to be in promising a Commons vote before any such intervention. He agreed with Tory backbencher Mark Pritchard – virtually the sole wholehearted Cameron supporter on Syria to speak – that “we have to reserve the ability to take action swiftly.”

Ed Miliband insisted that we “did not witness the long-hoped-for breakthrough on Syria at the G8 summit”.

At one point, discussing taxation of “audio-visual services”, Cameron remarked that there had been talk in Enniskillen “of which member of the G8 liked what French film”. So which one, it was tempting to ask, at the risk of being “hard-headed and cynical”, encapsulated the summit? Renoir’s La Grande Illusion perhaps?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PPC Executive / Manager

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A PPC Executive/Manager is requ...

Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager - Retail / FMCG / WMS Operations

£55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager - Retail / FMCG / WM...

Recruitment Genius: Fundraising and Campaigns Officer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Fundraising and Campaigns Off...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Appliance Service Engineer

£21000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This centre seeks an experience...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness