Bank Bailouts and Bonuses: tax the rich some more

We’ve bailed out the banks in the tune of £1.4 trillion (http://rht-treasury.org.uk/). Leaving us with a massive deficit and vast amounts of debt, that we, the ordinary tax-payer, have to fork-out.

The graph below shows how much was raised and spent by the government last year. It is the ordinary tax payer who is bearing the brunt of an unfair and unjust economic system.

                       

The State is spending significantly more money than it raises in taxation, and is having to meet the gap – the deficit – by borrowing at record levels.

Last year, the government borrowed £1 in every £4 that it spent, and the UK currently spends some £43 billion on debt interest, which is more than it spends on schools in England.

It’s a disgrace, more than that it’s completely unacceptable.

How is it fair that those on the lowest incomes in society – roughly 75% of the population – pay more, proportionately, towards the government deficit than the richest 1% do?

And yet corporation tax and business rates contribute a miniscule amount to government revenue.

Just by looking at the graph above its clear to see how disproportionately our tax system operates.

This year, after all their talk about minimising the effects of the deficit by reducing government debt, the coalition government enacted a conservative policy to lower corporation tax from 28% to 23% by 2014.

Cutting corporation tax is emblematic of the way the government views the situation. Protect the rich and leave the rest of us to face their ‘austerity measures’ – a depressing future with few job opportunities and a shrinking welfare system.

And now they’ve decided to give tax breaks to millionaires.

How do the Conservatives suppose to reduce the deficit if it is slashing corporation tax and income tax on top earners? Spending cuts in the public sector.

While allowing the rich to get even richer the poor are increasingly going to get poorer, with cuts to benefits and public services.

We all know that youth centres are shutting; schools are loosing huge sums of money from their budgets; doctors and nurses can expect pay freezes; legal aid is falling by the wayside; the downsizing and private sponsorship of fire brigades; and privatisation of more public services; to name just a few of Cameron’s and Osborne’s policy changes to the government budget.

The divide between the richest and poorest members of our society has grown over the last few decades and this is their response. This needs reversing urgently.

And if they don’t, be warned, expect more riots.

Last May George Osborne, a millionaire in his own right, announced that the government would cut corporation tax in a bid to rebuild Britain’s position as an international financial centre.

Claiming that increased competitiveness will attract investment in the U.K and hence boost government revenue.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP said:

“In recent years, too many businesses have left the UK amid concerns over tax competitiveness. It’s time to reverse this trend. Our tax system was once viewed as an asset. And it needs to be an asset again. That is why the Government is prioritising corporate tax reform. Responding to the concerns of business, the UK is headed for a more competitive, simpler, and more stable tax system in the future, creating the right conditions for investment.”

This reduction in corporation tax is a way of opening the door further to the wealthy and wicked, so the rich can get even richer, and the poor, well, reducing corporation tax is pretty much a lets-just-not-worry-about-the-poor policy.

I’ve never accepted the old fable that cutting taxes for the richest corporations increases competitiveness and therefore brings greater prosperity, which in turn trickles down to the poorest in society.

It’s a fallacy – a hoax – a way of tricking people into  believing that it is somehow beneficial to the Commonwealth not to tax the rich in order to provide essential services to everyone, especially the most vulnerable members of our society.

As for the idea that big business and corporations will up and leave the U.K economy if taxes are too high, it’s a lie.

There’s too much at stake for them to leave everything behind and re-centre their entire company holdings, their staff and management teams and move abroad. The costs are immense; time, money and a whole load of bureaucracy.

Unless of course there are tax loopholes, like offshore accounts. Then this fraud must be investigated and stamped out. Clamp down on tax evasion and close off any loopholes.

Some might take flight, finding the benefits of moving abroad out way the costs of paying higher rate taxes, but if they cared enough about the people here in Britain they’d stay, and if they don’t care enough let them leave.

The argument that highering corporation tax will actually result in less government revenue for the State simply because corporations will move away or engage in more tax evasion techniques only goes to show we should be uniting in our efforts to stop tax evasion and capital flight, and is definitely not a justification for cutting corporation tax or income tax on top earners.

The government should be increasing (not decreasing) corporation tax and personal income tax on the top 10% earners to generate a greater budget for expenditure on public services.

“But where’s the incentive to work hard and earn lots of money if it all gets taken away in taxes? I should get to keep everything I earn” I hear them cry.

Firstly, it’s not taking ‘everything’ you earn only a fair proportion of your wealth and income.

If you earn £1 million and 50% is taxed that still leave’s you with £500,000, much more than a lot of the population ever get close to earning in a life time.

And yet this illegitimate Con-Dem government has just slashed the 50p rate of tax to 45%; they should be increasing it not giving tax breaks to the super-rich.

Secondly, is it not from work that we derive meaning in our lives? Do you live to work or do you work to live?

In either case ‘work’ – and I don’t mean work in the narrowly defined realm of paid work – is the essence of our being.

There should be some solace in the knowledge that if we’re earning vast amounts of money the taxes we pay are helping those in need – the most vulnerable members in our society – through a benefit system that redistributes wealth equitably.

The problem is our taxes are being spent on illegal/immoral wars and our money used to bail out a corrupt banking industry.

Alongside the re-nationalisation of the transport, gas, electricity and utilities industries. It’s about time we re-nationalised our banks and re-claimed our government – so it becomes a government by the people, of the people, for the people – to ensure our taxes are spent wisely and our goods and services distributed equally.

And thirdly – although it often is – why is earning ridiculous amounts money the sole reason for working hard? Surely the incentive for working shouldn’t purely be based on the ‘profit motive’ and self-interest?

Isn’t one of the core motives for working a sense of accomplishment, providing a service and fulfilling a role in society? The foundations of working are grounded in the value and assistance we provide to others, leading by example as Che Guevara did.

Che Guevara always worked for the common good alongside his comrades in his fight for justice. He worked as an equal. He didn’t put himself on a level above others.

Not everyone is of course a Che Guevara but we should draw inspiration from his work ethic and revolutionary spirit.

There are countless people – often going without recognition – who dedicate their entire lives to the common cause, aiding those in need. It’s these people we should attempt to emulate.

We all need money to survive in this capitalist age we’ve found ourselves in, and I’m not saying people don’t have the right to earn a fair income or aren’t incentivised by money.

However, why should becoming filthy rich – on a grossly unequal level above others – be our incentive to work? It shouldn’t be allowed, let alone encouraged.

I propose a cap on personal income and wealth, and suggest that natural resources – such as water and energy – should be declared a ‘common heritage’ that no-one is allowed to profit from.

If you agree please like and share this article…

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/spend_sr2010_keyannouncements.htm

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/press_64_10.htm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/may/28/corporation-tax-tuc-job-creation

Planned Speech

The neo-conservative and commercial agents of Western capitalism spout the status quo: ‘We live in a democracy, we should be proud to have parliamentary elections every 4 years’ (no matter that they are disproportionate and unjust).

‘We should be proud to have the democratic right to vote, to protest, to a fair trial before the law and to a free and liberal press’ (no matter that there is still police brutality and gross inequalities in wealth and income).

The British especially love to brag about the freedom of the press. The term ‘free speech’ is so flippantly referred to by the advocates of a ‘liberal press’ that you’d be right to find it confusing that those same advocates of press freedom carefully control, plan and select the news agenda.

Stories are carefully vetted. Headlines are carefully edited. Broadcasters are carefully censored. And questions on ‘live’ TV shows – debating political affairs – are carefully selected to avoid dangerous dialogue which might unsettle or destabilise the political, legal and financial establishments.

I recently went on the new BBC Three programme ‘Free Speech’ aimed at engaging a younger audience in political issues ‘that affect them’. Far from being a platform of ‘Free Speech’ it was all carefully constructed, and staged around particularly inconsequential topics; it should be renamed ‘Planned Speech’.

Agendas were set, with issues decided before hand. Questions were predetermined, with answers already formulated. Whilst the audience had been previously handpicked by BBC ‘Officials’.

On the face of it Britain – through the media, government and corporations – clings to the illusion of ‘freedom of expression’ but behind the scenes, backstage, the actors of global capitalism have practised their roles, learnt their pre-written scripts and already made their decisions.

The screening of ‘live’ debate shows air a façade of democratic rights that don’t allow for active participation in political decision-making let alone provide representation; by doing so they sustain an unjust economic model of commerce and maintain an undemocratic system of governance in society.

Mainstream media mongrels are complicit in the rhetoric of ‘free speech’ as the pillar of democracy and corner-stone of liberty, at the very same time wilfully plan and structure information and news for mass consumption.

The BBC recently outlined proposals for a new complaints procedure which could effectively block anyone from the complaints process deemed to be ‘misconceived’ or ‘repetitious’. It is a step towards censorship of voices the BBC does not want to hear, giving them total control over whose opinions it will listen to and whose concerns it chooses to ignore.

Oligarchs aim to limit subversive channels challenging their authority and wealth, and stifle renegades, radicals and dissenting voices in large organisations rebelling against the corporate agenda.

 In their towers of affluence, at the centres of power, market bosses and corporate barons fuel propaganda machines with finance and fantasy in order to control what is said, when it is said and by whom it is said.

On the forehand promoting ‘free speech’, while on the backhand screening each sentence, censoring particular words and placing the language of political discussion within a narrow framework.

Notice how the media, government and corporate ‘Officials’ of free-market capitalism always have their speeches well prepared. Their lines well rehearsed, ready to pitch their sale.

They even get ‘specialists’ to write their speeches for them.

Their speeches are rarely free from the manacles of strict obedience to the Symbolic Order. With strings attached to master pupperteers they pick their words wisely.

So when these ‘Officials’ talk of ‘Free Speech’ in the very speeches they’ve pre-written, remember all is not as it appears.

The Genocide Continues: Tamil resistance is not futile

[The horrific scenes of state violence perpetrated by Sinhalese-dominated government forces against Tamil civilians in the North-East of Sri Lanka between 2005-2010 was brought to my attention by a channel 4 documentary called  ‘The Killing Fields’ (visit 40D to watch). Otherwise, all information about the situation has been gathered through research and talking with Tamil friends.]

The mass genocide of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka is fairly unknown and rarely discussed by mainstream news channels. There has been limited media coverage of the war crimes inflicted by the Sri Lankan armed forces on Tamils between 2005-2010; why is this?

Could this provide a clue?

“During this period Britain approved arms export licences worth a total of £18 million for armaments including armoured cars, machine-gun components and semi-automatic pistols.” (1)

Many hundreds of thousands of Tamils have been murdered, tortured, abducted, raped, displaced (and re-displaced), indiscriminately bombed, arbitrarily and indefinitely detained without trial, deprived of essential goods, food, medicine, education and public services and otherwise persecuted by the Sri Lankan armed forces and government-sponsored paramilitaries for essentially not being Sinhalese Buddhists. (4)

Since independence from British rule in 1948, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has done everything they can to inflict stark conditions on life intended to cause the physical, political, economic and cultural destruction of the Tamil population. There is currently only one Tamil politician in the GoSL, and very few, if any, Tamils in the Sri Lankan armed forces.

Tamils are commonly victimised and discriminated in the Sinhalese-dominated areas of the South. Places of worship are regularly destroyed or defaced by Sinhalese nationalists, and Tamil women are sometimes sexually attacked and assaulted by Sinhalese soldiers.

In the North-East of the island the paralysing effect of incessant economic blockades, confinement and military attacks by the Sri Lankan armed forces has seen 150,000 homes destroyed and 700 temples damaged (often because of Sri Lankan Air Force bombings); leaving 6,000 widows, 4,000 orphan’s and whole villages depopulated in a period of just 4 years (4).

Why are British news papers and television stations choosing not to report these atrocities (and yet are continually condemning Iran for human rights violations)?

With a bit of investigation the answer becomes evident; British complicity and involvement in the Sri Lankan armed forces (8). If we look back historically, it’s not surprising to discover this sad state of affairs is the legacy of British colonialism. From a historical perspective, understanding colonialisms relationship with geo-political interests at play in the modern Anglo-American imperial world concerns recognising two factors; the arms trade and energy (oil). Britain is selling arms to ‘allies’ (like Israeli and Sri Lanka) and attempting to control the flow of oil from ‘hostile enemies’ (like Iran and Venezuela).

In 1953, the British secret services (and the CIA) overthrew the democratically elected Prime Minster of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, in a coup to restore BP’s control of Iranian oil – Mosaddegh had previously nationalised the oil company. In order to regain power a plot was deployed to arrest, put on trial, and then replace Mosaddegh with the British educated Shah of Iran. Washington and London continually supplied arms to the unpopular Shah, and the CIA-trained SAVAK, his repressive secret police force. Britain and Iran have ‘enjoyed’, for want of a better word, a very strained relationship ever since.

While those opposed to Western hegemony – who take an independent stand against capitalism (often places with lots of oil like Iran and Venezuela) – are smeared and attacked, Britain is currently known to be doing shady arms deals with dodgy military regimes in bed with us; the states of Israel and Sri Lanka, both declared allies in the ‘War on Terror’.

 “Mr. Werritty visited Iran on several occasions and was so highly regarded by the Israeli intelligence service – Mossad – that he was able to arrange meetings at the highest levels of the Israeli government. The disclosure that he – and Dr Fox – had met Britain’s most senior official in Israel on more occasions than previously thought, underlines their interest in the region.” (6)

With allegations confirmed, it’s now apparent that Former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox and his unofficial ‘advisor’ Adam Werritty have been backdoor dealing with Israeli and Sri Lankan officials.

“Mr. Werritty, who holds no official government role, acted as Dr Fox’s personal envoy to Sri Lanka, arranging his meetings with senior ministers.” (5)

This is what the British government doesn’t want you to know. Having once been part of the British Empire, the Sri Lankan (Sinhalese controlled) government still has a good relationship with the political and business establishment in Britain. After 26 years of state violence against Tamils, Sri Lanka has still become ‘one of the fastest growing economies in the world’ – and Britain wants to capitalise.

They also don’t want us to know that the arms trade is under scrutiny. British weapons and parts have been used in the brutal killings and persecution of Tamils in Sri Lanka. “According to government figures, in the last quarter of last year Whitehall approved arms exports to Sri Lanka worth £1.4m, mainly components for communications equipment”(2).

“Closer scrutiny of UK arms exports is being called for by four Parliamentary Select Committees following confirmation by the UK Government that Israeli weapons systems, used in the Gaza conflict, almost certainly contained British-built components. The Committees on Arms Export Controls publish their annual report today which includes scrutiny of export licences granted in 2008 and examines the policy and enforcement of UK arms export controls. The Committees were concerned that UK military equipment and weapons, exported to Sri Lanka during the ceasefire between the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE, may have been used against the civilian population when hostilities escalated in 2006.” (3)

In 2009, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist organization supporting legal efforts, brought a model indictment to the United States Department of Justice. It charges U.S citizen and Sri Lankan Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and U.S permanent resident and Commander of the Sri Lankan Army, Lt. General Sarath Fonseka, with 12 counts of genocide and 106 counts of war crimes and torture, in violation of U.S domestic statutes.

Taken from the document ‘Grand Jury Indictment for Genocide’ (page 486) proposed to the U.S Department of Justice, the list below details just a few of the war crimes committed in one week during 2008 (4).

“1530. September 23, 2008: Jaffna

In the areas close to the A-9 road in Kaithadi in the Thenmarachchi region of Jaffna district around 2:10 p.m., GoSL controlled paramilitaries or SLA (Sri Lankan Army) soldiers murdered by gunfire 43-year old Tamil civilian male Ponnaiah Kunesekaram.

1532. September 26, 2008: Jaffna islets

In the areas of Mankumpaan, Vealanai in the Jaffna islets after 9:00 p.m. SLN soldiers or GoSL controlled paramilitaries abducted, broke the arms and legs of, bound the arms and legs of, inflicted deep wounds with sharp weapons, and then murdered by gunfire 54-year old Tamil civilian male Appaiah Sritharan.

1533. September 27, 2008: Kilinochchi

In the areas of Iraththinapuram in Kilinochchi district around 12:15 p.m. SLAF (Sri Lankan Air Force) bombing targeting Tamil civilian settlements murdered 1 Tamil civilian and severely injured 8 Tamil civilians, of whom 4 were children, including an 8- month old, a 9-month old, and a 2-year old.

1534. September 28, 2008: South: Ruwanwela

In the areas of Ruwanwela Police Division in the South, GoSL controlled paramilitaries or SLA soldiers in a white van abducted and then disappeared 28-year old Tamil civilian male Puvendradas Sankar.

1535. October 1, 2008: Kilinochchi

In the areas of Kilinochch town close to A-9 road in Kilinochchi district around 10:30 a.m., SLAF bombing targeting Tamil civilian settlements murdered 2 and severely injured 13, of whom 3 were children, and destroyed 19 houses.

Names of the injured:

  • Paranthaman Gowry,
  • Tharmn Kokulavasan,
  • Ramaiah Vijayatharsini,
  • Chelliah Yogarani,
  • Jebamalai Indrani,
  • Aroljothi Arokiya,
  • Kantharooban Subajini,
  • Kandasamy Saththiyagnanathevy,
  • Varnakulasingham Rajendran,
  • Chellar Subramaniyam,
  • Chelvanayagam Perumal,
  • Vigneswaran Kamalathevi,
  • Velu Ladchumippillai,

The estimated number of Tamils killed by Sri Lankan armed forces is said to be in the region of 100,000; but no-one can be sure of the numbers since U.N staff and representatives were forced to leave in September 2008. Meanwhile the Sri Lankan government has tried it’s very best to ensure a virtual media blackout; they have evidently succeeded.

In effect, the ethnic cleansing of Tamils from Sri Lanka’s North-Eastern provinces has been nothing short of a genocide ignored by the U.N council and the Western Media. The case must go to the International Criminal Court (ICC). A spokesperson from TAG said:

“Attempting to file legal action against Sri Lanka’s alleged war-criminals in all available judicial forums across the world is a prudent and practical step to find justice to the North East Tamils. While there will likely be setbacks, the training and experience gained in understanding the criminal procedures and nuances of different legal systems and engaging with local attorneys will help the current and growing generation of Tamils to make progress towards ultimately bringing the killers of at least 40,000 Tamils to justice.” (7)

1)      http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/105982

2)      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/27/international-arms-trade

3)      http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-archive/arms-committees/arms-committees-0809-pn06/

4)      http://www.tamilsagainstgenocide.org/Docs/Final800pIndictmentDocument.pdf

5)      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/conservative-mps-expenses/8817286/Defence-Secretary-Liam-Fox-used-expenses-to-pay-his-best-man-Adam-Werritty.html

6)      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/liam-fox-adam-werritty-and-the-curious-case-of-our-man-in-tel-aviv-6268640.html

7)      http://tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=32911

8)      http://www.caat.org.uk/press/archive.php?url=20110615prs

9)      http://www.tamilsagainstgenocide.org/

10)   http://www.tamilsagainstgenocide.org/ExecutiveSummary.html

11)   http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=911

12)   http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/40921

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d’%C3%A9tat

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lanka#Sri_Lanka_under_the_British_rule

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffna_city

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alleged_war_crimes_during_the_Sri_Lankan_Civil_War

http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2009/01/jan.htm

 

Palestine and Pensions: Letter to local MP Justine Greening

Dear Justine Greening,

As your constituent, I am writing to ask you to meet me in Parliament to discuss the prospects for peace and justice for Palestinian and Israeli people, and what steps need to be taken by the International community to make that possible. I would also like to discuss the recent pension scheme crisis and cuts to workers pay in the public sector. I would like to meet you on the afternoon of Wednesday 30th November at some time between 2pm and 6pm at the House of Commons. I am coming as part of last week’s national lobby day for Palestine and as part of the strike force mobilised on the 30th, as a member of GMB and a young person’s representative.

The issues I would like to discuss with you include:

The Siege on Gaza: Israel’s blockade of Gaza has been in place since June 2007. The UN and EU have repeatedly stated that the blockade of Gaza constitutes collective punishment of a civilian population, prohibited in international humanitarian law.

Ending the Arms Trade with Israel: although the UK officially does not trade arms with countries that use those arms for internal repression, we know that this does happen, including arms components supplied to Israel which were ‘almost certainly’ used against Palestinian civilians during Operation Cast Lead.

Ethnic cleansing: Israel has just announced plans to evict 30,000 Palestinian Bedouin from the Negev from their homes and land, forcibly removing them to ‘townships’. Israel is also moving thousands more from the West Bank – who are refugees from earlier programmes of ethnic cleansing from the Negev – in order to make space for further illegal settlements.

Jerusalem: Palestinians are being removed from their homes in East Jerusalem, and Palestinian life and livelihood is under serious threat. If urgent action is not taken now by the international community it will be impossible for East Jerusalem to serve as a Palestinian capital.

Robin Hood Tax: I’d like to discuss the positive impact a Tobin or Robin Hood Tax (aka FTT) would have on the public sector and help cutting the budget deficit without inflicting unnecessary pain on the working population of Britain.

Public Sector Pension scheme: the general mismanagement by government of the situation.

The government has forced billions of pounds of debts onto public sector workers. The cost of bailing out the banking system has been placed onto our shoulders, while profits continue to rise, bonuses roll in, and the richest 1,000 people in Britain own £397 billion between them.

The cuts are not ‘fair’, they are aimed at boosting the profits of a rich minority in big business and the finance markets by squeezing the lives and wages of the majority. The government is more concerned with calming the international financial markets than providing decent jobs and public services to the majority.

The crisis was caused by the banks and finance markets, not by public sector workers; however these debts have now been passed on to workers, unemployed, youth, pensioners and poor people. The government claims there is not enough money for decent pensions or public services. However, British companies are sitting on around £90billion of reserves (equal to 6.2% of GDP). According to a TUC study this is twice the amount needed to create enough green jobs for the 2.5 million people unemployed in the UK, however they will not invest that money because they are not confident they will make a profit.

Tax evasion and avoidance, mainly done by the very rich, totals up to £120 billion per year. Hand in hand with the cuts is the government’s privatisation agenda, with plans to open up the NHS to greater private sector involvement and competition and plans to sell off large swathes of what remains of the public sector. As well as being a straightforward theft of deferred wages from workers to soothe the markets, the attack on pensions is part and parcel of easing up the sell-off of public services.

Poetry In Txt

Poetry in Txt,

Verse ona phone,

Words we communicate so we ain’t alone,

In a world controlled by digital codes, mechanical keys and quantum notes,

A voice is recived through technological tones…

 

Stanza of stones,

Roll with rhyme for the soul,

Themes we all dream paint emotional tolls,

Onto scenes which are beamed, alternate to our homes,

Where we stare and star gaze mesmerized by the show…

 

Symbols on computer screens,

Imagery in spectacles,

Through the looking glass, quarks spark electrical charge with,

Alliteration, we’re so susceptible to the stella intonation in the audible,

Pitch of the rhythm that I feel when I flow,

A minor altercation in ya ego…

 

Metaphor light glows,

Magnetic in the sunshine,

Repeated atrraction, again and again, each line,

A message engrained in SIM City sand castles washed away by satilite sound waves lost in cosmic space…