Anyone who believes that Osborne was not aware of the identities of those whose tax returns he saw, or who believe that he was 'surprised that people had tax avoidance measures', is naive in the extreme. It appears that Bullingdon, although producing strangely gifted alumnae, does not endow them with the ability to dissemble in any beleivable way. You'd think they'd know.
It's all yet another smokescreen to divert attention from some truly appalling gaffes the government is making lately.
Prediction: Before the end of the year, or at the very latest before the next budget, it will be announced that all state pensions will be paid net of tax at the basic rate (currently paid gross - assuming no tax liability as many recipients have no other income to take into account when assessing tax liability and pension rates are below threshholds). This of course will reduce the pensions bill to the Exchequer by at least 20% at a stroke, leaving recipients to rely on HMRC to get their tax codes right. We've all heard that song before. If this doesn't happen, all can queue to watch me eat all eight of my hats. Unseasoned.