Saturday, December 04, 2010

Al Front!

"Blue boys, blue boys, what you gonna do? What you gonna do when they cut you too?" - Topshop protesters taunt police in Brighton.

"Only one political course is left to those who are disenfranchised and whose ruin is announced on a government spreadsheet," John Pilger wrote last month. First the students, now UK Uncut - "the Big Society's Revenue and Customs" - have taken up the call. In 2005 Sir Phillip Green paid a £1.2 billion dividend into his wife's Monaco bank account, saving himself almost £300 million in taxes. (Tax Research UK estimates this kind of "avoidance and planning" costs the UK £25 billion in lost revenue each year.) Despite the Lib Dems' pre-election pledge to "close loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy", no sooner was Nick Clegg elected than he acquiesced in the appointment of Green to head a review of government spending.

"I will give this efficiency review my very best effort knowing how hugely important it is to the recovery of the country," Green (Britain's 9th richest man with an estimated fortune of over £4.5 billion) said at the time of his appointment. He could have started with a few simple calculations - his £300 million tax dodge is enough to pay for 13,000 new police officers, 20,000 NHS nurses or 121,000 student EMAs.

This afternoon protesters forced the closure of Topshop and Vodafone stores in London, Brighton, Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. Tonight students are occupying buildings at more than 20 different university campuses. "There is no other way now," Pilger wrote. "Direct action. Civil disobedience. Unerring."

1 comment:

Garry Nixon said...

I have a feeling in my bones that not even this government will be stupid enough to make anything but cosmetic cuts in the police. Everything else, hospitals and schools, but never the fat blue line. Thatcher taught them that.