The first big “Paradise Papers” story – based on millions of leaked documents – is about the Queen’s finances.

Apparently, in 2004 and 2005 her Duchy of Lancaster estate invested around £10 million in two funds in Bermuda and Cayman. Then in turn the Cayman fund invested, in 2007, around $450,000 in a number of retailers. One of these retailers (Threshers) subsequently went bust and the other (BrightHouse) was recently fined by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority for treating its customers poorly. Jeremy Corbyn says that the Queen should make a public apology.

But an apology for what? What is she or her estate supposed to have done? Is the objection to the investment in the retailers? BrightHouse was fined in October 2017, for treating its customers poorly between April 2010 and April 2017. With the best will in the world, how is the Queen holding the equivalent of £3,208 from monies invested in 2007 made scandalous by the company behaving poorly from 2010 onwards? I know they’re supposed to be talented, but are those who manage her estate supposed to be endowed with the gift of prophecy?

Is it the Threshers one? Is the Queen’s estate supposed never to invest in anything that later goes bankrupt? I guess it’s a pity if she lost some money, but beyond that what’s the scandal? Is she supposed to apologize for investing in projects that don’t make money?

Or is the idea that she shouldn’t be avoiding tax, even if it’s legal? It isn’t possible for the Queen to organise her investments so as to reduce her legal tax obligations, because she doesn’t have any legal tax obligations to begin with. All the taxes the Queen has chosen, since 1992, to pay are voluntary.

The BBC rather coyly states that there “is nothing illegal in the investments and no suggestion that the Queen is avoiding tax, but questions may be asked about whether the monarch should be investing offshore.” What “questions” are those? “Offshore” here can’t mean “tax-avoiding”, since she can’t avoid tax. So all that “offshore” can mean is “abroad”. Are we saying that all the Queen’s investments must take place in the UK? Is it illegitimate for her to invest any monies in Bermuda or Cayman — which are, after all, the Queen’s own territories? Is she banned from investing in Canada or Australia as well?

It’s quite remarkable how folk who cry “xenophobia” at any suggestion we should restrict any immigration cannot see how blatantly xenophobic it is when they raise “concerns” about any and all investment from or to foreign countries. Suspicions and innuendo about foreign takeovers and offshore investment come close to the notion that it’s rich foreigners we really don’t like.

If you think the Queen shouldn’t have been investing in BrightHouse or Threshers, say that and tell us why. But spare us the “questions must be asked about investing abroad” schtick. And if it’s really about you not liking rich foreigners or not liking the monarchy itself, at least have the honesty to say it.