Today’s PMQs was an opportunity for Jeremy Corbyn to embarrass the government and align himself with public anger over how little tax some multinationals pay. But he missed this opportunity. By going on HMRC’s deal with Google in isolation, he allowed Cameron to point the finger of blame at the last Labour government. Indeed, Cameron even dragged Corbyn into defending the record of the Blair and Brown governments on corporate taxation. A far more effective tactic would have been to contrast the British deal with the French and Italian ones. Why have these governments managed to get more tax out of Google than our own?
Another problem with Corbyn at PMQs is that he doesn’t pick up on Cameron’s hostages to fortune. When Cameron attacked Blair for going to work with JP Morgan and Gordon Brown for his involvement with PIMCO, Corbyn should have shot back that he was very interested that Cameron was ruling out working for any financial firm after he leaves office. Or, he could have pointed to the jobs in the corporate sector that various ex Tory ministers are now doing.
The post-PMQs row, though, was about Cameron’s description of those in the Calais camps as a ‘bunch of migrants’. The phrase is not a felicitous one. But the idea that it is offensive or dehumanising is a stretch. I suspect that Number 10 are also happy with anything that highlights Corbyn’s declaration that Britain should let in 3,000 migrants from the Calais camps.