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

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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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  • Greenflag

    Nit much interest in this thread Mick ? I guess by now all that has been reported of the financial crisis and the unadulterated never ending fraud and thievery by the banksters has become like white noise :(

    Mr Phillips might be advised to wait to see what they do rather than what they say they’ll do . In a week which has seen the “Rain man ‘ yer man Hayes opting for trial in London and a ‘lighter sentence ‘ for Libor interest rate manipulation rather than extradition to the USA and a longer jail sentence and now Jeff Skillings the now imprisoned (ostensibly for 24 years ex CFO of Enron ) is hoping to have his jail sentence reduced by half by paying a $40 million dollar ‘bribe ‘ to the authorities . The 5,000 ex Enron employees are’nt too happy about how ‘justice ‘ is somehow always ‘ameliorated ‘ for those with the dosh :(

    Justice would have been better served if they had hanged the b******d along with Madoff etc . Ex Mayor of London Ken Livingstone got it right with his call for ‘hanging one bankster a week until they improve ‘

    So where are all those neo con defenders of the banksters and beggar thy neighbour financial fraudsters these days ?

    I’ll believe that the G8 or G-20 is actually doing whats right when I read of the international banksters being dragged to the guillotine .

    In an age when the average stock holding is down to 5 seconds thanks to the wonderful world of algorithmic precison timed buy and sell and hold orders by sophisticated software the average shareholder has virtually no chance of competing with the no risk derivatives and hedgers crowd .

    And despite the pronouncements re cracking down on tax havens I note that Mr Cameron waded in at the last minute . No doubt his financial backers in the City approved of his ‘late ‘ participation . Was it deliberate or just photo oping for the swivel eyed loons in the constituencies ?

    Lets wait and see what the Germans suggest re tax havens ? Now that should be fun ! They’ve already had their own shower of tax evaders being outed by hackers getting access to Swiss banks . They’re all it said the Archbishop of York – And he’s right . Still ‘Mother of the Nation’ Merkel will be more preoccupied about her re-election in September than anything else.

  • Mick Fealty

    The objection those on the right had from the start to state bail outs/bail ins is the abandonment of ‘moral hazard’. There simply is no guillotine for naughty (often bullying ‘do you know who I am?’) banking executives. The failure is at board levels where NEDs who are supposed to ask the awkward questions did not, presumably for fear of not fetching shareholders their unceasingly large dividends.

  • Greenflag

    True enough but the ‘failure’ goes further than board level and goes right to the heart of the democratic process and it’s a failure of ‘politics ‘ both right and left . The elected politicians mainly USA but also UK let the banksters/financial lobbyists write the deregulatory legislation in their own (banks.hedge funds /deriv traders etc )interest .At a time when sophisticated financial investment instruments were the harbingers of risk free never ending ‘paper wealth ‘ creation -the politicians just rubber stamped the ‘new era’.The UK given London’s long financial history went even further by making the City the main nexus for the future growth of the entire country :(

    The Republic just followed the Gadarene swine downhill with Bertie oblivious , Brian comatose and in the end Lenihan panicked .

    Whenever I hear the words ‘moral hazard ‘ being uttered by politicians or by the financial or corporate elites I take a deep breath and wonder who is policing the police or in charge of the kindergarten .

    I agree with the right’s objections to state bail outs and bail ins in theory . In the real world by the time the choice had to be made neither Bush nor Obama nor Brown nor Cowan /Lenihan had any room for manouevre . The entire financial system with all that it entails was facing collapse of an order which would have made what eventually did ensue look like the 1973 ‘recession’ . The die had been cast more than a decade earlier in 1998 with the repeal of the Glass Steagal Act and by the financial capitalist ‘free for all ‘ in the ‘triumphant ‘ wake of the end of history i.e the ‘communist threat ‘ .

    Phillip’s ‘because of all of these things we now have an unstoppable momentum to stop tax dodging.’ is only half whats needed . Whats needed is also international cooperation by governments in banking regulation standards and in common taxation of large financial transfers that flit around the world in microseconds to take advantage of miniscule tenth of a point interest rate differences and government bond rates etc and which cause financial disruption in the stock exchanges and currency markets in developing countries .

    In the absence of effective legislation the eh ‘guillotine ‘ could provide a restraining effect on the bankster/corporate fraudsters .White collar crime these past few years has probably caused greater losses for western societies than all other crime combined .