Friday 18 November 2011

Why Cameron killed the Tobin Tax

A financial transaction tax is an obvious and efficient way of curbing some of the excesses of the global financial markets. It is the complete free flow of finance that has allowed speculators to bring whole national economies to their knees, destroying the lives of millions of people in the process.

Clearly, even the Eurozone has now realised that it is an important policy to tackle part of the economic problem that the continent currently faces. But you cannot have just a few European countries taking part. For it to work, the whole of Europe must first act together.

Cameron was right today when he said that it needed to be a global initiative, if it was to be completely successful - as finance will always find a way to make the most of its international liquidity. however, a European 'Tobin Tax' would be the first step towards that global policy, and without it, Cameron knows that the tax is going nowhere.

Effectively today, Cameron stood up for the bankers, and defied the needs of ordinary people throughout Europe. He has killed of a 'Robin Hood' tax, a policy that would restrict the greed of bankers, and channel much needed capital into the hands of sustainable policies whilst encouraging financial stability.

It is another clear demonstration that this is a Government only working in the interests of a tiny minority of people, who are already very comfortable indeed. The sooner we are rid of them the better.

Save the Morning Star!

It is the only English language daily paper to represent peace and socialism, and now, the 'Morning Star' is facing total closure. Many people have predicted its downfall for decades, but it has stubbornly persisted, relentlessly being a thorn in the side of the establishment.

I have been a daily reader for 15 years, and it has kept me informed and entertained throughout that time. It has given me news that most of the mainstream press choose to ignore. It covered the victories of the left in Latin America, the anti-war movement in the states, the trade union struggles in the Philippines and the green movement in Africa.  The incisive articles by John Pilger, Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Benn, have kept me going over the years.

This small newspaper packs a punch far above its size, and democracy will suffer a severe blow if it folds.

There are only two things you can do if you want to see it survive into the new year. First, find a newsagent that sells it, and buy it everyday.  Secondly - once you have discovered what a vital lifeline it is in the struggle against cuts and the current Tory Government - send the 'Morning Star' a donation to their fighting fund. We cannot let the light of this star be extinguished.

Monday 14 November 2011

Rohingya Community under threat!

Bradford's tiny Rohingya community are a remarkable group of families, numbering around 200 in total. Despite having gained safety in the UK, receiving refugee status, and making good use of chances to better themselves - they have never forgotten those they have left behind in the refugee camps on the border of Bangladesh and Burma. Having been driven out of Burma, they have endured horrific conditions in the camps of their neighbouring country.

Today, a delegation came to Desmond Tutu House seeking help. The news is emerging of a deadly deal that the Bangladeshi government is making with the Burmese dictatorship. No more Rohingyan people will be allowed to leave the refugee camps and from now on, they are to be denied the right to join family who have been able to find sanctuary in the UK, Ireland, Canada, US, Norway and Sweden.

Instead, as many as 30,000 now face repatriation to Burma, to a country where thousands have been killed, and where they simply have no rights at all.

This outrageous injustice must be challenged. Our group arranged to see our local MP to see what pressure our government can put on the Bangladeshi authorities. The Rohingya community are also planning a walk to the nearest Bangladeshi consulate in Manchester to highlight their concerns.

On November 18th, the Rohingya community will commemorate an incident in 2004 in which the Bangladeshi  military opened fire on a protest march against conditions in the refugee camps. 3 were killed and many, many more were injured or arrested. This date will be used around the world to call on the Bangladesh government to remember the rights of this persecuted community.

The Bradford Rohingya community can be proud that they have never run away from their responsibility to the community still suffering on the borders of Bangladesh and Burma. let us do all we can to support them.

Is Europe now to be run by the bankers?

The downfall of Berlusconi is something many of us have looked forward to for a very long time. His mixture of right wing ideology and highly questionable personal politics was extremely disturbing to observe. For twenty years I felt really sorry for my more progressive Italian friends.

Now Berlusconi has gone, a thoroughly outrageous truth is dawning. In Italy, as in Greece only a few days before, a huge coup has been achieved by the worlds banking elite. An elected Prime Minister has been replaced by an unelected member of the financial elite. Mario Monte was the EU Competition Commissioner from 1999 to 2004, and now is a International Advisor to Goldman Sachs as well as being a Senator in the Italian upper house. Monte has exquisite neo-liberal credentials, and is now in charge of the 3rd biggest economy in the Eurozone.

This looks like it is fast becoming the way our democracies are heading. The moment George Papandreou hinted that the Greek people had a right to debate the policies being thrust upon them by the EU, he was destroyed by the financial community. Days later, he was replaced by another non elected EU economist.

The 'Occupy' movement that began in the US, and has been active in London for a month, have continually argued that it is wrong for most of us to be ruled by a tiny elite controlled by the needs of the financial community. Now, even the semblance of democracy is being eroded.

I do not want Europe run by unelected technocrats who are not accountable to even their own nations. We cannot be run by the very same people who got us into this mess. Our European nations are now desperately in need of a revolution in their democratic structures.