December 4, 2012 by Tess Riley
Two years ago today, 9 of us were superglued to Topshop in protest against tax avoidance, part of a national day of action that saw people around the UK express their rage at the ‘no alternative to the cuts’ rhetoric in the face of large-scale corporate tax avoidance…
We were showing that there are alternatives, and getting the likes of Sir Philip Green and Vodafone to pay the taxes they owe to HMRC is a good start.
Two years on, the likes of Amazon, Google and Star*ucks have also been in the avoidance spotlight, tax justice hits the headlines on a regular basis, high-level discussions are taking place on anti tax-avoidance measures and tax avoidance is no longer the poorly-understood (deliberately hush hush) subject it once was.
There are a lot of people to thank – from the Tax Justice Network and Richard Murphy to the UK Uncut activists, people out on the streets and those whose jobs and livelihoods are being directly affected by the cuts.
Sadly, there are a lot more people badly feeling the cuts in public spending and George Osborne hasn’t finished yet. He’s acknowledged the cuts aren’t resulting in the economic recovery he predicted and so… he wants to cut further. George, you know the old saying – “once in a hole…”. [oh wait, let’s rephrase: “George, you are a hole”.]
Except stop digging he won’t. Because the cuts are about something much bigger. Yes, the public deficit is pretty big in and of itself thank you very much (while we’re on the subject, let us not forget the derivatives crash that saw the banks force an £800 billion bailout on the taxpayer) but this is about ideology: the austerity measures are not the only answer to debt, they are born out of an ideological position that believes that private enterprise will solve our problems and the state is just getting in the way. Privatisation, market forces, free trade and unhindered growth – these are the sorts of phrases that make the beady eyes of Osborne et al light up.
Yet it’s not working George. Public services are vital to our communities, Starbucks, the BBC and the Student Loans Company channeling profits offshore is not. Simples.
So, as I’ve said before, let’s remember who the real criminals are around here. Next time, maybe try locking up Sir Philip Green in a cell for night or two and see what he has to say for himself.