Sunday, October 31, 2010

After Vodafone - the World and its Tax Havens.

OK, so yesterday we had fun closing down 21 Vofafone stores in protest at their avoidance of between £1 billion and £6 billion of UK tax - avoidance which the HMRC connived in.

The media gave the protests a pretty comprehensive ignoral, with a few honourable exceptions.
After 40 years of participation in demonstrations, I am totally used to this. The basic rule is, if you want to get a demonstration noticed by the media, break windows. They will then associate your cause with vandalism and criminality.

David Mitchell did notice the demos in the Observer, but disses it, arguing that Vodafone was only doing what a corporation is expected to do, looking after No 1. He says the rules need to be changed. Fair enough David. I hope you will assist us in the gargantuan task of changing said rules.

Where do we go from here? We can continue to toy with Vodafone, but they are only a blatant example of the way big corporations use tax loopholes to avoid paying tax. The UK loses up to £120 billion per year through these loopholes. Approximately £40 billion more than the deficit that Osbore assures us must be addressed through his cuts. So if we can reclaim 2/3rds of this tax, we will be sorted.

We need to sort out this matter of tax evasion and avoidance - on a global basis. It has to be global, because if one country goes it alone, the argument is that the corporations will withdraw from that country, leaving it wallowing in the pit of self-inflicted poverty. We may not necessarily buy that argument, but it does carry weight in the mainstream media, who will use it ad infinitum to make sure that unilateral tax clampdowns do not run.

In any case, the whole world needs a more sensible financial system, one where money is shared sensibly and well between richer and less rich, to do real things like protecting biodiversity and decarbonising the terran energy system.

"Think global, act local" runs the old green slogan. It is a good slogan, but not too good if we end up restricted to doing Big Society litter picks while the oligarchs asset strip the planet on the back of their "Think Big, act Global" slogan.

We need global activity to bring corporations into the field of reality.  It looks as if the IMF is beginning to be exercised over the activities of the banks, but is chuntering about reform taking years or decades.

It should not take years or decades. What it needs is political will. Politically, this is a massive problem, because political parties (Except the Greens and a few others) are funded by the corporations who would not smile on plans to stop their little loopholes.
So, sorry David, we are going to have to continue with demonstrations, since demos are what hurry things along, politically. Do come and join us.

But in paralell with demos, we need a clear and solid plan on what to do. This should not be difficult.

In essence, we need to

Close Down the Bleeding Tax Havens!!

Having said that, though, there is more detail to be added. I am going to ask Richard Murphy, because he is the all-knowing mild mannered guru superhero of all matters relating to tax policy.

He will know.

The Global Green Co-ordination should also take an interest in this matter. I will take it to them, and let you know how I get on.


Mystery Products Ltd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mystery Products Ltd said...

I listen to a commercial radio station rather a lot, and was recently disgusted to hear a series of ads by vodafone the 'theatre' of which involves a dialogue between two bees. This is the epitome of evil corporate disdain. So I googled it to find no-one seems to have noticed this nor been outraged, at least on the internet, and your blog post is the only thing that relates to it, and seems to underline my assessment of this corporation. They take pleasure in being evil. So that chap in the broadsheet you mentioned who said, to paraphrase, "that's what big corporations do" is presenting a false argumemt for lack of concern...just because "that's what big corporations do" is hardly a justification for ignoring their transgressions.

Thanks for being apparently the only one who can see the enemy here.

L. Walsh, Liverpool, UK

DocRichard said...

Luke, thanks for that, you very kind.