Robin Hood Tax
0 comment Thursday, August 28, 2014 |
This is the political bit: and if you skip it I can't stop you, but I can think "shame on you".
With the announcement of the cuts, all of Britain is in turmoil, however if there's one thing I've learned about being in the UK, is that on the whole the English are very good at rolling over and taking it. When the 7/7 bombings started, people went up top of London (unable to navigate because they didn't know how to get round the City without the tube) and were given lifts by complete strangers. Amid all the chaos and turmoil and death and dying, people continued on to work. The ingrained "life goes on" from the wars which have been fought repeatedly on this soil has taught the English to endure.
Endure, however, does not bring change, and change is uncomfortable. There has been no real lasting revolution on British soil in hundreds of years, and the last one lasted hardly a decade before the Restoration (even more decadent than the time before it) returned en force. We have turned the anniversary of the brutal execution of a freedom-fighting anarchist into a national holiday for our children to enjoy - scary practice! - and uphold a royal system which, as far as I can tell, doesn't seem to do a whole lot but cost a fair bit of money.
Now with the cuts the usual is happening; everyone is relieved that the "freeloading poor" and "damn immigrants spoiling everything" taking the brunt of everything. As one of "those people", if you can find a cure for both my and my son's disability then I'll happily come off benefits, however as things are being cut A LOT for people on benefits (did you read the bit about housing going to 80% below retail? Ever tried to rent a place with DSS? People on disability who are blind are being told they can get jobs as cabbies and are taken off DLA, then have to fight for months to get it back?). Most of the "damn immigrants" are doing jobs that the English public is too proud to do for less than minimum wage. And most of those damn immigrants are going home because they realise they're being screwed...hence the real and present issues this summer over gathering fruit in the fields; there was no one to do it, and the berries and veg rotted on the ground; food prices are going higher and higher, not because there isn't food out there, but because there's no one to harvest it, and they'd rather till it under than anyone actually go out there and get it.
Slave labour was cheap and easy - now it's not there anymore, contrary to popular xenophobic belief, and for ever one horror story exploit you read in the Daily Mail there are probably a hundred very hardworking people doing all the silent, forgotten stuff no one would dirty their own white hands with. So it was with cottonfields in the US, tea fields in India and Cambodia, and so it shall ever be.
Likewise the great-selling stories of those people on bennies who have a better life than those who don't: I've a friend who is in a powerchair, barely scraping by in a Council house with a rotting floor. She could probably claim for more than she's getting but the process is so demeaning and such a huge battle, she doesn't have the energy to do so. If my friend loses even so much as �50 there goes her house. Like many of us she suffers from a condition which isn't visible - and because she's female that makes it worse as naturally we all are rather "dramatic" due to our genders and it's probably all in our heads. I will never be cured. My son will never be cured. And I have discovered to my shock that there's this thing called "quality of life" exists which, as a part of society, I appear to be entitled to. Not just the bare minimum of a room with walls and eating toast for three meals a day as people seem to believe. I may be poor, I may be disabled, but there was a time when I was neither and paid out my taxes like everyone else. Now, I'm just trying to be a human being.
A few people who have robbed the system doesn't make everyone on bennies's like saying a few men are rapists so all men should be neutered. But I know how easy a scapegoat I am: find a single parent on benefits and point seems to be the way forward.
And therein, IMO lies the problem; claiming each of us individually is the hardest hit, and bicker amongst the classes, then nothing gets done. Divide and conquer, no? We're all hit pretty nastily, some maybe more than others, but it's not really time to complain about who is more worse off, rather to Do Something.
So here's what's called the Robin Hood Tax - now, there's a lot of debate going round about it, about there being pros and cons and nothing is perfect and too many variables, etc etc....however as my ex is in the banking sector I can tell you wholeheartedly that the thing he says constantly is how stable the banks are in all this crisis. They are not hurting at all. At. All. A tax of .05% of economy will bring in a load of cash, and that can be used for other things. The problem of course is people saying how many loopholes there are, and how much a gamble it is.
To which I have to say "What exactly is there to lose at this point in time?"
At this point in time with current cuts, I am already screwed. There is nowhere else for me to go, my back is against the wall and I'm sure I'm not alone on that boat. Most people with mortgages are already pinched. There is very little to do other than strike on the levels of the coalmining striking in days of old (and again divide the country whilst doing so - English people are really great at this "What happens ten miles away is a foreign country" thing), or getting on a bandwaggon and uniting on something, even if it's not a 100% perfect idea. At this point I'll take 80%. Let the lawyers and economists hammer out the details but sitting around and doing nothing whatsoever will do...well, nothing whatsoever.
So, are you a whinger or a do-er? If you don't like the state of things...
Change it.