29 Nov 2011

Email from the Cleggster (Robin Hood Tax)

"Thank you very much for contacting Nick to put forward your support for a Financial Transaction Tax (aka Robin Hood Tax).

As you may be aware the Liberal Democrat manifesto at the last election stated that Liberal Democrats would work with other countries to establish new sources of development financing, including bringing forward proposals for a financial transaction tax.

This position has not changed since we entered government and we continue to support a financial transaction tax in principle. However, the tax would not raise sufficient monies if it were introduced on a unilateral basis. To counter avoidance, it would have to be introduced across all of the major financial centres, including London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. Although the introduction of an FTT within the EU alone may appear attractive, as it would embrace transactions in London, Paris and Frankfurt, it would almost certainly lead to a major diversion of trade to North America and the Far East, with London being the biggest loser.  One EU Member State, Sweden, introduced a variant of the FTT and saw an immediate switch of business to London. The tax was thus a double disaster as it failed to raise revenue and caused a loss to the Swedish economy.

It is important to also note that the proposed FTT in the EU would provide a direct ‘own resource’ for the EU budget and there is no consensus on what this would fund. While the EU does have an aid programme, most of its budget (approx 40%) is spent on the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). Many campaign groups believe that CAP is bad for fair trade and have lobbied against it. An FTT for the EU would thus have the perverse effect of supporting a project that goes against the beliefs of the charity which has campaigned so vigorously in favour of it – Oxfam. One of the Coalition Government’s policies I am most proud of is our commitment to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on international aid, a goal the UK has failed to reach since was set in 1970.

The Coalition Government remains committed to ensuring that banks and bankers contribute to the economic recovery, this is why we announced the annual levy on bank’s balance sheets. . It will apply to both the global balance sheets of UK banks and the UK operations of banks from other countries. Once fully in place, the levy is expected to generate around £2.5 billion of annual revenues.

My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I continue to support the Robin Hood campaign’s aims. We have taken action to meet our international aid commitments, taken one million people out of paying income tax and increased taxes on banks and bankers through our bank levy and increase in capital gains tax. Please rest assured that we will continue to fulfil our manifesto commitment to work towards a global financial transaction tax.

Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue.

Yours sincerely

Nick Clegg MP"

To which I raise the following issues:

1. Is Sweden considered an influencial financial centre like the City?
2. Is Frankfurt not considered a financial centre?  Why have both Angela Merkel and Sarkozy agreed to a transactions tax (despite being from the right of their respective political arenas?)
3.  Whilst there is not yet agreement on how the revenue would be spent, is that a reason for writing it off as a policy?
4. As a side point, how much of the £2.5bn 'generated' from the bank levy 'once it's in place' will be spent on jobseekers allowance from the multitude of public sector workers facing the sack in the next few years.

So... so many other points.  The idea that the UK is fully behind 'fair trade'.  If we were behind that, we would not support the IMF.  I shouldn't get wound up by a fucking tory shill like Clegg, but he's my MP - its my privilege.

Have this:

27 Nov 2011


Kee....p  L....eft. Kkk...eeeep... Le.....ft.

23 Nov 2011

One Day It Will Finally Die

2 world's collide!  Time to fack off away from Adobe Flash and get with the html5.  Standards For The People!

More at occupyflash.org.

If only the Beeb would stop fucking using it for iPlayer...

11 Nov 2011

Down With The Sadness

Where I work, we have no natural light.

Consequently, when we reach this time of year, it's a case of travelling to work in the dark, sitting in a windowless office, and then going home in the dark.

For months and months, we had a conspiracy to put "get a window for the office" on every single meeting agenda until the boss snapped and said "Look, it isn't happening!"*

As a compromise however, we were told that we could try our some SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lamps to see if that improves things at all.  I was sceptical of the science, however the most basic of researching online seems to suggest that certain UV frequencies found in natural light can be generated by these lamps, and can contribute to better wellbeing.  How much so, I don't know, but worth a try at the very least.  Its not like they're 15 minute Tan-Cancer machines or anything.

A few days ago, a colleague returned from another office with SAD lamp in hand.  I could see fellow colleagues having it angled at walls, above their heads and reflecting off surfaces, along with comments such as "Well, it definitely seems a bit brighter" and "Yes, that does... something".

Flash forward to this morning, where we receive a call "Emma wants her lamp back".  Her lamp?  Yes, it turns out.  The lamp that had been fetched certainly did have positive properties: that of providing light for a desk.  We've been sitting trying to glean good health and cheer from an ordinary desk lamp for the past two days.  We now have the SAD lamp, and it looks nothing like a desk lamp.

*In an unusual turn of events, the draft plan for a refurbishment of the building includes 3 windows for our office.  Our hard work obviously was noticed.

10 Nov 2011

38 degrees email to Cleggy

If there ever was a time for a financial transactions tax, now would be it.

As a constituent in Sheffield, I can already see the effects of a deficit caused by bailing out a financial sector that took risks without considering the consequences on ordinary people.  

The Tobin Tax (or Robin Hood tax) could contribute to calming speculation, and raise money for those who have no friends in the city, let alone an Eton or Westminster education.  

No longer is it case of the UK going it alone: France, Germany and Brazil have agreed.  As a country with a significant financial sector (for better or worse) we could be a beacon of progressive thought on the matter.  Or we could revert to business as usual, where an ever growing number are feeling alienated not just from a bloated financial sector that has learned nothing, but alienated further from the political system of which you are a part.

2 Nov 2011

Bog Jazz

There's a toilet in the building where I work, and it has one of those frames on the door designed for holding posters, however no ever puts any kind of advertising or notices in there.

Poor show.

Well, no one did before myself and some colleagues starting putting our own notices in there, often of a radical bent. So far (often for fortnightly stretches) we have had writing from William Blake, 19th century expressions of feminism, pieces of humorous verse and the surreal. On a recent trip there, one of my Noam Chomsky quotes appeared to have violently been removed from its holder.

"Brilliant" I thought "look at the passion we're inspiring".

 As who removed it remains a mystery, my only choice is to keep putting more quotes in there. This week's quote is from the final part of the Port Huron statement, written by Students For A Democratic Society in 1962.