Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Protect the NHS from the Tories

Excellent letter in The Guardian today.  Lots of interesting facts: did you know NHS hospitals pay business rates when private hospitals do not?

"The divide between medical and social care is very vague. Medical care is available 24 hours a day seven days a week and is free; social care is largely only available 9 to 5, Monday to Friday and is means tested. Breaking up the system through outsourcing and privatisation only complicates matters. Basically both need to be provided by government and be taxpayer-funded. Expensive? Why not have a levy of 5% on all inheritance over £100,000, including trusts. The rich who would benefit most in life would pay more in the end."

See all the letter at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/08/the-rich-benefit-most-let-them-pay-more-tax

Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Big 4 are at the heart of tax haven abuse

Leading estimates show that profit shifting by multinational companies is responsible for tax revenue losses globally of $500 billion or more each year. Various document leaks, including the Paradise Papers and earlier LuxLeaks, have shown anecdotally the central role of the ‘big four’ accounting firms – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC. Now our research published today in a top tier, peer-reviewed academic journal shows the systematic nature of the Big Four’s role.

See: TAX JUSTICE NETWORK for more information.

Monday, 17 October 2016

"Citizens of the world" arise

Theresa May’s ‘Citizen Of The World’ View Blasted By Financial Times Reader

“Anybody with an ounce of intelligence understands that climate change, pollution or epidemics know no frontiers, that extreme poverty in one region has stability implications for the whole world; that terrorism is a global problem with global solutions; are not started by citizens of the world but narrow-minded people with a blind belief of their superiority, that some of the greatest minds in any society are descendants of immigrants and refugees.”

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Momentum and non-violence

The interim version of the code of ethics includes the important sentence on non-violence:
Momentum's Code Of Ethics
Interim Ethical Code for Individuals and Local Groups Associated with Momentum
Individuals and groups using the Momentum name and branding must operate according to the following principles at all times:
As the successor to Jeremy Corbyn's Leadership Campaign, Momentum promotes the values that Jeremy popularised during the campaign, of fair, honest debate focused on policies, not personal attacks or harassment.
Momentum is outward-facing. It seeks to reach out across the community and encourages the participation of people who may not have been involved in political activities before. Ensuring the safety and self-expression of everyone is a priority, especially of those who are often marginalised on the basis of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, religion, class, disability and educational or economic status.
Groups of individuals may form local Momentum Groups to share ideas, organise and participate in activities at their local level which demonstrate how 'Labour values' and collective effort can make a positive social and/or environmental impact. These groups must be democratic in their nature and be organised around a spirit of collaboration, inclusion and respect.
As the successor to Jeremy Corbyn's Leadership Campaign, Momentum promotes the communication of progressive ideas for political change, such as: opposition to austerity, the promotion of equality and participatory democracy. These are the values for which Jeremy Corbyn was elected.
Momentum is wholly committed to working for progressive political change through methods which are inclusive, participatory and non-violent.
Momentum seeks to build a social movement in support of the aims of the Labour movement and a fairer and more decent society. Momentum is committed to supporting the Labour Party winning elections and entering government in 2020 and seeks positive and productive engagement with local Labour Party branches.
Individuals and/or groups who do not adhere to the above principles will not be considered to be part of, or associated with, Momentum. Please note that Momentum is its embryonic stage as a network organisation. Our Code of Conduct is likely to develop further along with the governance structures of our organisation.

Now that this important proviso has been removed I can no longer support this organisation.

Friday, 5 August 2016

We may be seeing the end of the Tory attack on our society: Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader's 10 pledges

  1. Full employment and an economy that works for all: based around a £500bn public investment via the planned national investment bank.
  2. A secure homes guarantee: building 1m new homes in five years, at least half of them council homes. Also rent controls and secure tenancies.
  3. Security at work: includes stronger employment rights, an end to zero hours contracts and mandatory collective bargaining for companies with 250 or more employees.
  4. Secure our NHS and social care: end health service privatisation and bring services into a “secure, publicly-provided NHS”.
  5. A national education service: includes universal public childcare, the “progressive restoration” of free education, and quality apprenticeships.
  6. Action to secure our environment: includes keeping to Paris climate agreement, and moving to a “low-carbon economy” and green industries, in part via national investment bank.
  7. Put the public back into our economy and services: includes renationalising railways and bringing private bus, leisure and sports facilities back into local government control.
  8. Cut income and wealth inequality: make a progressive tax system so highest earners are “fairly taxed”, shrink the gap between the highest and lowest paid.
  9. Action to secure an equal society: includes action to combat violence against women, as well as discrimination based on race, sexuality or disability, and defend the Human Rights Act.
  10.  Peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy: aims to put conflict resolution and human rights “at the heart of foreign policy”.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Solar is the future, yet the government appears determined to throw it into the industrial dustbin

Convincing article by Patrick Collinson on the Money pages of the Guardian today:

....Cut the subsidy, by all means. Halve it, even. Set a date for its complete removal. The industry will innovate and survive. But slicing it by 87% in one go is plain absurd.....

 Jo Churchill MP

My local MP, Jo Churchill, is very confused.  How does she equate the continued subsidy of nuclear power with her statement that:
"I believe that Government support should help low-cost, low-carbon technologies to stand on their own two feet, rather than create dependence on public subsidies.  Indeed, the global transformation we need in energy will only happen if low-carbon options become cheaper without subsidy than the alternative.  My personl opinion is we should reduce the number of years as we drive down subsidy reduction." [Letter to me, 13/11/2015]
In this last garbled sentence she appears to be arguing for an even faster reduction in subsidies.  How short-sighted can you get?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

George Monbiot: "Have you ever wondered how the prime minister sleeps at night?"

The "cuts" chickens have come home to roost in wealthy Oxfordshire:

Illustration by Andrzej Krauze

In leaked correspondence with the Conservative leader of Oxfordshire county council (which covers his own constituency), David Cameronexpresses his horror at the cuts being made to local services. This is the point at which you realise that he has no conception of what he has done.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/11/david-cameron-letter-cuts-oxfordshire