The George Monbiot had a first-rate article in the Guardian today. In it he wrote:
Monbiot is exactly right. I warned of this last December. Richard Brooks of Private Eye advised George Monbiot on the article. I think it technically accurate. And the warnings that are made are also appropriate: this is an enormous and deliberate tax heist, unavailable to small companies but deliberately designed to make sure that the largest companies obtain substantial tax benefits which can only be used to firstly boost bonuses and directors remuneration and secondly to increase the worth of the already enormously rich tiny minority in the country who own the majority of such companies ( yes, including through their pension portfolios).
I’m also delighted to note George Monbiot’s comments on Nick Shaxson’s book ‘Treasure Islands’. As he says:
I used to think of such processes as regulatory capture: government agencies being taken over by the companies they were supposed to restrain. But I’ve just read Nicholas Shaxson’s Treasure Islands – perhaps the most important book published in the UK so far this year – and now I’m not so sure. Shaxson shows how the world’s tax havens have not, as the OECD claims, been eliminated, but legitimised; how the City of London is itself a giant tax haven, which passes much of its business through its subsidiary havens in British dependencies, overseas territories and former colonies; how its operations mesh with and are often indistinguishable from the laundering of the proceeds of crime; and how the Corporation of the City of London in effect dictates to the government, while remaining exempt from democratic control.
Both Nick and George are right. As Monbiot concludes:
Ours is a semi-criminal money-laundering economy, legitimised by the pomp of the lord mayor’s show and multiple layers of defence in government. Politically irrelevant, economically invisible, the rest of us inhabit the margins of the system. Governments ensure that we are thrown enough scraps to keep us quiet, while the ultra-rich get on with the serious business of looting the global economy and crushing attempts to hold them to account.
I would love to disagree with that, but it is increasingly hard to do so. You only have to stand back and look at what this government is doing to realise that whilst George Monbiot may use evocative language he is also describing a situation that exists.
No wonder people are angry. When the odds are blatantly stacked against them, is there any surprise that some least, and I suspect over time a growing number, will become increasingly frustrated by the injustice within this system?
A wise government would take action now to prevent that sense of injustice. My concern is that I doubt that we have a wise government.