I’ve been quiet on Zac Goldsmith up to now, the story speaks for itself: rich Cameron buddy not paying taxes, issue sort of dealt with, embarrassment all round.
The question we should ask isn’t why he didn’t pay taxes, that’s obvious – he’s a wealthy man and wants to stay that way. But why didn’t he tell the anyone?
This constituted a huge error of judgement: was it duplicity or foolishness? Either way, it looked terrible for David Cameron not to know that Mr Goldsmith was the type of person Dave said should be penalised in order to bring in his inheritance tax policy.
Mr Goldsmith has to stay because, even bearing this in mind, he brings more good than harm. His environmentalist credentials bolster the green veneer that covers a “sceptical” grassroots base. Nevertheless, he won’t be receiving glowing profiles by Prospect magazine again anytime soon.
You can only assume that Mr Goldsmith thought it was the norm not to pay UK taxes if you don’t have to and didn’t say anything because, in his eyes, the Tories are the party that defends people in his position.
It’s a hideous embarrasment for the Tories because it fuels the idea that they are totally out of touch with the concerns faced by ordinary Britons, especially given that Britain is still in recession.
It’ll be interesting to watch what happens in Richmond, the seat he’s contesting at the general election against Susan Kramer. It’s a marginal Lib Dem/ Tory swing seat but current polls have her down as winning by 1% of the vote, which in practice means it’s far too close to call.
Kramer was hurt by Vince Cable’s “mansion tax” policy and it’s safe to assume her constituents would find the idea of having an influential MP like Goldsmith appealing. Now, however, the contest for Richmond will be closer than ever and consequently a dirty scrap will no doubt ensue.