#G8 and tax: “In the end, leaders are led…”

This is a rather optimistic and upbeat summation of the ‘achievements’ on Tax at the G8 in Lough Erne from Ben Phillips…

In the end, leaders are led, and the power of the people is stronger than the people in power. Can one intergovernmental meeting fix it? No. But after this year of corporate scandal, popular mobilisation, media controversy, shuttle diplomacy, and leaders’ gatherings, no one representing a major government – no one – now says that campaigners’ ultimate aims are wrong. The power of (extra)ordinary people is winning the debate.

Because some good people stood outside coffee shops, visited their MP, sent emails, signed petitions, came to rallies, organised their faith groups and local communities, told their family and friends; because some good politicians put their populations before the plutocrats, asked tough questions and pushed for tougher laws; because some bold media exposed tax cheating; because brilliant wonks learnt to talk human; and because some absolutely hopeless company bosses helped fuel their own PR disasters …. because of all of these things we now have an unstoppable momentum to stop tax dodging.

Blairite Kirsty MacNeill is less so

…despite some welcome movement on nutrition and transparency, the 2013 G8 is a missed opportunity. The British international campaigning sector is the best in the world, but for some reason it has repeated the 2005 mistake of focusing disproportionately on the UK. For his part, Cameron has not been able to drive forward a global deal on tax because he left putting his own house in order until Saturday – far too late to get other countries to fall in line.

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