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Monbiot - We Know What To March Against On 26 March

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/06/march-26-protest-aims-first-draft

We are yet again stepping into the ring with one hand tied behind our backs. The great rally that is planned for 26 March will bring together the most impressive oppositional groups in Britain. It will show that we have the numbers and the will required to fight this government. But there's a problem. We know what we don't want. The people co-ordinating this protest have provided compelling explanations of why the government's programme for tackling the deficit is unnecessary, unfair and likely to make the problem worse. We have been less clear about what we want.

Nowhere have I been able to find a statement of aims that is short enough to put on a flier but specific enough to be useful. There are plenty of 30-page documents and pithy slogans – but, as far as I can discover, nothing in between. What we are missing is a simple set of proposals that are agreed by the main groups and would turn this from an oppositional to a propositional movement. The lesson to be drawn from previous battles is that lasting change does not happen until we unite behind what we want – not just against what we do not.

Without clear aims we remain trapped by our opponents, responding to their agenda rather than forcing them to respond to ours. Without a programme for action, campaigns dissipate as people lose hope. A statement of aims allows us to tell whether or not we are making progress, rather than merely slipping back less rapidly than before. It can also be used to challenge opposition parties and measure their commitment.

This is a rough first draft of what such a statement might look like. There is nothing definitive about it: its purpose is to open the discussion, not to close it. Interrogate, improve, extract or maul it as you please. But don't reject it out of hand unless you have something better to put in its place. Few of these proposals are new. Most I have harvested from documents written by trade unions, thinktanks, academics and NGOs, some of which are involved in the march.

So here goes. We need to redress the balance between cuts and tax rises (currently 3:1) as fairly as possible. That means starting with the United Kingdom's most regressive form of taxation: national insurance. This levy is so unfair that it's hard to understand why it hasn't received more attention. On earnings of up to £844 a week, you currently pay 11% national insurance. On earnings beyond that point, you pay 1%. We should raise the national insurance rate for higher earnings from 1% to 15%. This would help to address a wider injustice: the poorest 10% of Britain's households pay proportionately more tax (direct and indirect) than the richest 10%.

We must close the tax gap. Tax avoidance and evasion are the preserve of the very rich: only millionaires and corporations can afford the specialist advice required to disguise their earnings. The tax gap amounts to between £40bn and £120bn a year. Not all this money can be reclaimed. We need a national target to claw back £25bn a year. Staffing levels at HM Revenue and Customs should be raised accordingly.

Of the various means of reclaiming money from the banks, a financial transactions tax – the Robin Hood tax – is the fairest and the most sustainable. It's easy to collect, hard to avoid and highly progressive, as it falls largely upon the richest people in the country. A tax of 0.005% on financial transactions could raise a net £13bn a year; a tax of 0.01%, £25bn.

The government should adopt the plan proposed by the Green Fiscal Commission: by 2020 levies on damage to the environment should amount to 20% of the total tax take, with a commensurate reduction in the income tax and national insurance paid by people with low earnings. The tax exemption for private schools must end. This costs us £100m a year – to grant unfair advantages to the children of the rich.

Greg Philo of Glasgow University has proposed an interesting means of mobilising the money that the very rich have stashed away: transferring the entire national debt to them. He has shown that this could be done through a one-off tax averaging 20% on total assets worth more than £1m. It would be graduated, so that the richest people are charged at a higher rate than mere seven-figure millionaires. And it wouldn't have to be paid immediately: the asset-holders could choose to pay only the interest on the debt until they died, whereupon the capital would go to the state. This ensures, as the government has promised, that "the broadest shoulders should carry the greatest burden".

The government should set a target of 0.5% per year for reducing the Gini coefficient – the measure of income inequality – in the UK. To this end it should raise the minimum wage by inflation plus 5% each year until it reaches the level identified by the Living Wage campaign. We also need an official high pay commission, whose purpose is to identify – as a multiple of the living wage – the maximum remuneration anyone in the UK should receive.

The following new military hardware programmes should be scrapped: the Trident weapons system; aircraft carriers; Eurofighter jets. The Barrow shipyard, where new nuclear submarines were to be built, should be redeployed to produce offshore renewables: wind, wave and tide turbines. The money saved should be spent on a new public housing programme.

To fill looming gaps in provision and reduce unemployment, the government should raise the public workforce by the following levels: 10,000 more social workers; 10,000 more planners; 50,000 more hospital cleaners; 100,000 more educational staff; 350,000 extra care workers for the elderly. As Unison points out, 92% of the cost of employing a public service worker is recouped by the state, because it raises tax revenues while reducing benefit payments.

These measures will help to address the immediate problems of the deficit, the debt, unemployment, inequality and a threatened double-dip recession. But we also need to move to a system that doesn't depend on endless economic growth to sustain high employment and a decent standard of living. We need a steady state commission, to develop a government programme for turning a growth-based, boom-and-bust economy into a stable system, without damaging the prospects of the poor.

I can't speak for anyone else, though I've borrowed plenty of ideas in compiling this list. The point is to encourage the brave and brilliant groups organising the protests to produce their own brief but specific statement of aims. We know what you're against. Now tell us what you're for.

So many problems with what he wrote I don't know where to start, but I think others will enjoy tearing into it. What I'd like to see from the left is something of the lines of

(i) an acknowledgement of the level of debt and whether it is a good or bad thing

(ii) an acknowledgement of the level of the deficit and whether it is a good or bad thing

(iii) if the debt and deficit are bad, it would be interesting to see exactly how it would be reduced - ie we want to reduce spending by X amount and we will do this by cutting A, B and C which totals X

Something like that. Anyone know of anything like that? I'd be curious to read it.

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http://www.guardian....ims-first-draft

So many problems with what he wrote I don't know where to start, but I think others will enjoy tearing into it. What I'd like to see from the left is something of the lines of

(i) an acknowledgement of the level of debt and whether it is a good or bad thing

(ii) an acknowledgement of the level of the deficit and whether it is a good or bad thing

(iii) if the debt and deficit are bad, it would be interesting to see exactly how it would be reduced - ie we want to reduce spending by X amount and we will do this by cutting A, B and C which totals X

Something like that. Anyone know of anything like that? I'd be curious to read it.

Gromit Miliband has just released this statement in response to your questions:

(i) Debt is good as we won't get a big win if we don't buy more chips in the casino any growth without more "invesment"

(ii) Deficit is just the number of casino chips we have previously bought the accumulation of this "investment"

(iii) Ergo,debt and deficit = "investment" = wealth (if our numbers come up). You'd have to be mad to see it any other way.

PS: Anyone who says otherwise is a Thatcherite Tory scumbag.

HTH. :P

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He thinks he can solve a crisis that was caused by imposing massive costs on people in the shape of housing by devising ingenious ways of imposing ever greater costs.

I don't know how lefties can claim that they care when it's patently obvious that they're acting out of spite.

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The leftwing solution = Tax to oblivion.

The rightwing solution = Dismantle the public sector.

There is a one-liner in there about the robin hood tax (otherwise known as the Tobin tax) but apart from that the elephant in the room is largely ignored by both sides.

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He thinks he can solve a crisis that was caused by imposing massive costs on people in the shape of housing by devising ingenious ways of imposing ever greater costs.

I don't know how lefties can claim that they care when it's patently obvious that they're acting out of spite.

My bro and his missus are fully paid up Looney Lefties. It's sad really, but seems to be essentially based on disdain of the provinces (they can cough up for London housing benefit social engineering) and hatred of anything which could be construed as 'conservative' although strangely enviro concerns don't count as conservative views, since that would be evil.

All such folk want equality based social Utopia, and as such are willing to spend and tax without limit in pusuit of this, without appearing to realise that it inevitably ends in a severe curtailing of liberties and economic ruin. And sadly, despite the fact they are pretty smart people in the main, I doubt they ever will accept this.

The worst part of it is the rampant hypocrisy; point out the Grauniad's own tax affairs, and I get a reply which essentially boils down to the notion that it deserves not to be endangered due to the public service the paper does as a leftie broadsheet. However any other tax avoidance gets them foaming at the mouth. Difficult to argue in the face of such sanctimonious b*llocks. They can't seem to join the dots and see the dictators rising from this fertile soil of rank immorality.

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Last time I saw 'Prof' Greg Philo it was on Newsnight, somehow suggesting that council employee's could be sent round to ransack peoples house's to look for gold and other valuables that could be taxed at 20%, like something out of a Jewish ghetto in Nazi Germany.

Philo is a f*ckin idiot, even ultra leftist Paxman was making a fool of him, it was hard to watch. Tax wealth by 20% and it destroys 20% of its value. Then you need to raise the tax further to get the same amount, which destroys more value. If the average yield on property and shares is 3-5% why would I pay 20% just to hold it? It becomes a liability that costs rather than an income producing asset. We've already got CGT and stamp duties, thats enough.

Only country i know with a 'wealth tax' is France, and there its something like .01% at most, well below what it yields.

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Last time I saw 'Prof' Greg Philo it was on Newsnight, somehow suggesting that council employee's could be sent round to ransack peoples house's to look for gold and other valuables that could be taxed at 20%, like something out of a Jewish ghetto in Nazi Germany.

Philo is a f*ckin idiot, even ultra leftist Paxman was making a fool of him, it was hard to watch. Tax wealth by 20% and it destroys 20% of its value. Then you need to raise the tax further to get the same amount, which destroys more value. If the average yield on property and shares is 3-5% why would I pay 20% just to hold it? It becomes a liability that costs rather than an income producing asset. We've already got CGT and stamp duties, thats enough.

Only country i know with a 'wealth tax' is France, and there its something like .01% at most, well below what it yields.

Switzerland has a wealth tax up to about 1%, more than happy to pay this as theres practically no Cap Gains other than on housing and IHT is practically nothing

id just add ive read that article, its funny in a quite how shocking the suggestions are way, all perfectly costed based on current behaviour applying to different rules,pretty standard economic genius template of the guardian. If the mathematics somehow dont do for the system under this govt, theres clearly fck all chance of it surviving the Capital flight under the next govt

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Gromit Miliband has just released this statement in response to your questions:

.....

I was reading this thread and saw Chef's avatar. I remembered that Miliband reminds me of Beaker from the Muppets. What do you think?

SNN2802BEAK-380_1133723a.jpg

I certainly can't take him seriously as a politician. Not because he looks like Beaker, but because he's never admitted how culpable NuLab are for the mess we're in.

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I was reading this thread and saw Chef's avatar. I remembered that Miliband reminds me of Beaker from the Muppets. What do you think?

I certainly can't take him seriously as a politician. Not because he looks like Beaker, but because he's never admitted how culpable NuLab are for the mess we're in.

I rest my case....

Ed+Miliband_1235_18949633_1_0_7005881_300320x320.jpg

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The Left needs to get a clue about fiat currency, central banking, credit bubbles, moral hazard etc which are the root cause of the increasing inequality over the last 30 years or so. Until they have correctly diagnosed the problem, they are just going to keep coming up with retarded solutions like subsidising wind farms instead of ones that might actually work like allowing the housing bubble to burst and letting bondholders take losses.

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The Left needs to get a clue about fiat currency, central banking, credit bubbles, moral hazard etc which are the root cause of the increasing inequality over the last 30 years or so. Until they have correctly diagnosed the problem, they are just going to keep coming up with retarded solutions like subsidising wind farms instead of ones that might actually work like allowing the housing bubble to burst and letting bondholders take losses.

The problem is that at the end of the day Utopia trumps economics and as such is must come second to it. Therefore they always end in economic ruin. Plus, I get the impression it plays well with lefties to be anti-business by default so making life difficult goes down well with the 'rank and file'. It's a real hotchpotch of inbuilt prejudice, blind hatred and self-righteous intransigence. Seems to me like some actually enjoy smearing those with differing views and in the main the most rabid lefties are hateful individuals. Same could be said for the rabid right of course, but they are generally less annoying as they tend to stay out of view whereas Socialists are always in yer face.

EDIT I recall a radio debate from a Looney Lefter who's view was that everyone should work part time to enable us all to lead better lives and eliminate unemployment. When asked whether it would be mandatory, she backed off a bit saying that initially it wouldn't be, but started talking about 're-educating' people over time and ultimately making it law, although everyone would see the benefits and just decide to change their lives anyway as it was such a great idea. Proper head-in-hands stuff. The fact it was debated on national radio tells you something about some of the editors in newsrooms.

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I always feel dirty after I have read an article by Mr Monbiot!

I bet Erranta has spiked his fairtrade herbal tea! :blink:

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/06/march-26-protest-aims-first-draft

So many problems with what he wrote I don't know where to start, but I think others will enjoy tearing into it. What I'd like to see from the left is something of the lines of

(i) an acknowledgement of the level of debt and whether it is a good or bad thing

(ii) an acknowledgement of the level of the deficit and whether it is a good or bad thing

(iii) if the debt and deficit are bad, it would be interesting to see exactly how it would be reduced - ie we want to reduce spending by X amount and we will do this by cutting A, B and C which totals X

Something like that. Anyone know of anything like that? I'd be curious to read it.

Anything like that would be a whole lot more "right wing" than Cameron/Osborne, simply by virtue of acknowledging the problem without fudging.

national insurance. This levy is so unfair

... that he wants to raise it ever higher! Good grief!

I have a better idea. Let's abolish it!

Oh dear, reading further it gets worse. I must congratulate him on inventing not merely perpetual motion but perpetual acceleration in his looking-glass public sector :wacko:

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Overall some good points. Of course where the left fails is in its radical NIMBYism, anti-business,anti-development. But the idea to have a more equal society does work. What made the New Deal era in America, and Churchill/Atlee in Britain so great, was very pro-development policies combined with actively working to make it a more egalitarian society.

Like as a general principle I would rather see 100 men earning £200k a year, than one man earning £20 million, and the other 99 subsisting on next to nothing. There is a lot of people who say they would like the latter, all imagining they would be the 1 guy.

It is quite obvious we are rapidly going the wrong way on the GINI co-efficient. And that is where the state needs to step in and put pressure the other way. The Tories and Labour have done the opposite, tax breaks and generous support for the richest few, and brutal tax increases on the midde classes.

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How about cutting all public sector emoluments over the national average by 50%...today.

thats any salary above 25K is halved....eg, a 35K Public sector salary becomes 30K.

If the average pension is 5K, then any public sector above 5K is halved....and rises linked to the average.

Nobody needs 100K a year to do a public sector job.

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I'd like to ask lefties why they think tax not paid is 'money taken out of the economy'.

The State is not the economy you f*ckwits. The money will just be spent on something productive, rather than interactive whiteboards et al in the council's plush offices. Or it will be saved, smoothing expenditure during downturns.

But no, can't have people spending their own money can we. We know best.

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I'd like to ask lefties why they think tax not paid is 'money taken out of the economy'.

The State is not the economy you f*ckwits. The money will just be spent on something productive, rather than interactive whiteboards et al in the council's plush offices. Or it will be saved, smoothing expenditure during downturns.

But no, can't have people spending their own money can we. We know best.

because they know how GDP is calculated.

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Britains next Prime Minister! :lol::lol::lol:

About 30% of this country would vote for Ian Huntley if you stuck a red rosette on on him, so don't laugh too soon.

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How about cutting all public sector emoluments over the national average by 50%...today.

thats any salary above 25K is halved....eg, a 35K Public sector salary becomes 30K.

If the average pension is 5K, then any public sector above 5K is halved....and rises linked to the average.

Nobody needs 100K a year to do a public sector job.

As highlighted before your solution need not be so draconian, the big difference between Public & Private sector is the culture with people generally going into the public sector to help their fellow man rather than themselves. a 5% cut of salary for all those above 300K should suffice as once this sacrifice is seen to be made at the top it would flow down of free will to all levels below. Youd probably end reaching your end goal but it would take a couple of years rather than immediately and more importantly it would happen through choice rather than force

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As highlighted before your solution need not be so draconian, the big difference between Public & Private sector is the culture with people generally going into the public sector to help their fellow man rather than themselves. a 5% cut of salary for all those above 300K should suffice as once this sacrifice is seen to be made at the top it would flow down of free will to all levels below. Youd probably end reaching your end goal but it would take a couple of years rather than immediately and more importantly it would happen through choice rather than force

what was I thinking...Maybe a pay freeze for all those on £400K....and an increase in pension rights for all others....goodwill will filter down and new, efficient empires built.

(bows head in shame)

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that means starting with the United Kingdom's most regressive form of taxation: national insurance.

I agree that NI needs reform. All the money collected through NI goes into the same general fund as that collected from income tax. It is not earmarked for any particular purpose. Thus NI acts as a form of secondary income tax. Due to its cut off limit, it only applies to the basic tax rate. The advantage to the government is they can claim basic rate income tax is much lower than it is. This deception is unnecessary and costly. The poor and the rich pay about the same rates of tax since those on high incomes have more options for avoidance. Instead of simplifying the author simply wants a rise.

We must close the tax gap. Tax avoidance and evasion are the preserve of the very rich: only millionaires and corporations can afford the specialist advice required to disguise their earnings. The tax gap amounts to between £40bn and £120bn a year. Not all this money can be reclaimed. We need a national target to claw back £25bn a year. Staffing levels at HM Revenue and Customs should be raised accordingly.

More public sector jobs at the customs office then. I can already set up a company anywhere I please. I can live and work in the UK but funnel my money through an Irish company. We are in the EU and they can do nothing to stop this. The super rich can live anywhere and still own and operate all their UK assets. Customs can not do much. A non resident does not fill out income tax returns, nor does a foreign registered company. If customs ask for more details, they tell them where to go, they are foreign nationals and have no obligations to tell customs anything.

Of the various means of reclaiming money from the banks, a financial transactions tax – the Robin Hood tax – is the fairest and the most sustainable. It's easy to collect, hard to avoid and highly progressive, as it falls largely upon the richest people in the country. A tax of 0.005% on financial transactions could raise a net £13bn a year; a tax of 0.01%, £25bn.

Except the vast majority of financial transactions are computerised. They may only hold the shares for a few seconds. Any form of tax would kill these programs leading to a massive drop in the volume of transactions. Their numbers assume the volume would remain the same. The financial markets are computerized exchanges all around the world. Any tax here would simply means the UK based computers are switched off and the same business occurs elsewhere.

The government should adopt the plan proposed by the Green Fiscal Commission: by 2020 levies on damage to the environment should amount to 20% of the total tax take, with a commensurate reduction in the income tax and national insurance paid by people with low earnings.

The companies that pollute would not absorb these costs themselves, they would be obliged to pass them on to customers. Thus the price of manufactured products would rise hitting the poor much more than rich. The income that such a tax raises would thus come from the poor. Such a tax would drive most companies offshore where no such tax applies. The cost of shipping finished product into Britain is trivial.

Greg Philo of Glasgow University has proposed an interesting means of mobilising the money that the very rich have stashed away: transferring the entire national debt to them. He has shown that this could be done through a one-off tax averaging 20% on total assets worth more than £1m.

The rich would see this for what it is, state theft of their assets. They would react by selling all their UK assets and moving the money out of the country. The pound would be destroyed.

The government should set a target of 0.5% per year for reducing the Gini coefficient – the measure of income inequality – in the UK. To this end it should raise the minimum wage by inflation plus 5% each year until it reaches the level identified by the Living Wage campaign.

Which completely ignores the biggest problem with the UK, its workers are too expensive. Once again, manufacture in some bongo-bongo land and ship the product to the UK. Nobody is going to pay UK workers 20x what they pay elsewhere for the same service.

To fill looming gaps in provision and reduce unemployment, the government should raise the public workforce by the following levels: 10,000 more social workers; 10,000 more planners; 50,000 more hospital cleaners; 100,000 more educational staff; 350,000 extra care workers for the elderly.

Create an army of busybodies with pretend office. Send them out to harass the population and re-educate those who disagree with baton and boot. None of the make-work jobs produce physical goods, they will all have to be supported from the production of others. I don't want a social worker coming around telling me how to live my life, I am man not a child. The government works for me, not the other way around.

These measures will help to address the immediate problems of the deficit, the debt, unemployment, inequality and a threatened double-dip recession.

Fantasy land, you do not reduce debt by spending more money.

We know what you're against. Now tell us what you're for.

I offer a quote. "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." — Marcus Aurelius

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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