Following the leak from Panama of eleven million documents relating to the sale and purchase of hammers, the Prime Minister has faced some difficult questions. Hammers, as is well known by those in ‘the business’, are often used in such crimes as smashing windows to facilitate burglary, general vandalism, and bludgeoning people to death – for example in the infamous murder of Joe Orton by his wife, Geri Halliwell. The difficulties began for David Cameron when it was revealed that his family may have been implicated in the purchase of hammers which were facilitated by the offshore company.
‘Can the Prime Minister tell the House what hammers he has purchased and whether any of them were purchased through the PanAmerican law firm Mossad Fonzirelli?’ asked Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
‘I can give the House a categorical assurance that I do not intend to purchase any hammers in future, and I further give a categorical repudiation of any suggestion that any hammers that I may have used in the past were in any way connected with any wrong-doing.’
But sources in the Labour party were demanding to know more about Mr Cameron’s dodgy dealings with such instruments of crime. In particular, was it not true, as the documents reveal, that Mr Cameron’s late father Ian Cameron had many hammers, and why had he not come clean in the first place to deny suggestions that Mr Cameron Senior had smashed up telephone boxes and public amenities as well as having crushed ants, crabs and a range of small mammals with his hammers, as well as for the entirely legitimate purpose of banging in nails (provided that the banging in is of a personal nature, and limited to DIY).
Mr Cameron’s difficulties follow hard on the heels of those faced by Iceland’s premier, who was forced to resign after pictures surfaced showing him brutalising reindeer with one of his large collection of hammers.
Today Mr Cameron was forced to acknowledge that he had once used some of the hammers used by his father, but that he had never used any of the larger ones, confining himself to tack hammers and on one occasion a claw hammer which he needed to remove round headed nails from some hardboard flooring.
‘However, I stopped using my father’s hammers in 2010 before I became Prime Minister, and I do not have any hammers in Number 10 at the moment.’
‘Isn’t it true,’ said Abel Greenman, Labour’s Minister for Stirring Stuff Up ‘that the Prime Minister has frequently called people morally wrong for smashing up cars, bicycles and old ladies with their hammers. Why does he keep obfuscating, and why won’t he come clean? The hypocrisy is staggering. Mr Cameron should invite the world’s press to examine his toolbox and ensure that there are no hammers in there whatsoever.’
Mr Corbyn joined in this call. ‘I have no hesitation in stating that I have never owned a hammer, never used a hammer, and have no intention of ever owning or using a hammer in future. To do so would run absolutely counter to my principles. I intend to publish full photographs on Instagram of my toolbox, and I call upon every other member of parliament to do so.’
‘Look,’ said Mr Cameron, in conversation with ITV’s Robin Pressedon today, ‘any hammers I may or may not have used in the past have been used for legitimate purposes, any such use was entirely within the rules, and was reported to the UK authorities before it happened. The regrettable controversy concerning this matter stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the valid purposes to which a hammer can be put. I love my dad dearly, and I miss him every day, and it is very difficult to hear his name being dragged through the mud. He was an impassioned DIY enthusiast, he loved to build my mother small cabinets, chairs, stools and bookshelves. It is a perfectly ordinary use of a hammer to bang in nails with them, and to suggest that there might be some alternative purpose for which he was keeping the hammers, or that I might be involved in such use is entirely irresponsible.’
‘Does he really think,’ continued Greenman, ‘that the British People are so gullible that they don’t have suspicions about what hammering Mr Cameron might have been doing? Only last year, more than 5,000 cars had their windscreens smashed, and well over 100 people were bludgeoned to death in hammer attacks, even including some that were carried out with pin hammers, and in one extremely prolonged case, a Bluebird toffee hammer from the nineteen seventies. Mr Cameron is expecting us simply to accept that he was not involved in any of that hammer-related activity. It just doesn’t add up.’
Social media were awash with people calling for the Prime Minister to resign, and a huge demonstration has been called for tomorrow outside number 10.
‘Let’s get this vile Tory scum kicked out’ tweeted Daphne McBlurt leader of the Kick the Vile Tory Scum Out Collective, and BuzzBlast circulated a meme of a photograph of the Prime Minister in the Commons superimposed with the words ‘I hate everyone, and I’m rich and I look down on you plebs, so give me more money and power now!’ which went viral.
Phil Tongueincheek on Radio 4’s PM asked ‘How has all this happened? How has Number 10 gone from a statement saying ‘How many hammers the Prime Minister has or has not owned during his life, either in or out of Panama is a private matter and that is the end of it’ to today’s revelation that he will personally give a tour, to any member of the public who asks, of all the possible sites of hammer ownership in all his houses, and show them receipts and photographic evidence of any hammers he may have owned, used, or even considered buying in the past.’
‘Frankly, it’s a cock-up,’ said media commentator Alvin Blenkinsop. ‘Number 10 should have come clean about the whole hammer business from day 1. Though I’m not sure that would have helped.’
‘I can’t agree,’ said Bethany Turnpike, political analyst with the Economist, ‘it’s clear that the culture has changed, and the public is simply not prepared to allow senior political figures to be in involved with any DIY whatsoever.
Tony Blairmore is 87.