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?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

£100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Junior Developer- CSS, HMTL, Bootstrap

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading company within the healthcare ...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz