I am still technically on holiday, and admit to be really enjoying the break, but it is normal to review the year gone by and to look forward to the next.
What have the successes of 2010 been? There have been lots:
Country-by-country reporting has been the subject of three international reviews - by the European Union, International Accounting Standards Board and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. That is an extraordinary advance.
The general increase in the awareness of tax justice issues has been enormous. Full credit to the TJN (and its director John Christensen), many NGOs active in this area, the TUC and PCS and more recently to UK Uncut even if I have no real clue who they are. The fact is a narrative that says there is an alternative to cuts is being created.
The EU crackdown on zero ten in the Crown Dependencies is a big step forward - and one I had long predicted.
At the year end EU moves towards enhanced tax cooperation are very welcome and presage an enhanced EUSTD in 2011. I am aware some disagree but my sources make me confident.
This blog was also a personal success, with massively increased traffic. Thanks to all for support even if the right wing blogosphere continued to prefer ad hominems to any constructive debate - a scenario that I do not expect to change.
I’m sure there are more – his is just a reflection.
There has been some serious setbacks too.
We got the ConDem government who in turn delivered the biggest political disappointment of the year in the form of the Lib Dems.
And we got Osborne and the revival of neoliberalism and class warfare from those with wealth on all the rest in society in a vicious attack whose full consequences have yet to be seen.
The OECD were another massive disappointment, failing to deliver on the tax haven agenda in a display of either incompetence or deliberate neoliberal subterfuge; I’m still not sure which.
And there has been the failure to tackle banking and finance. This sets us up for another failure all too soon, whilst fuelling the very obvious and growing tensions in society.
And let’s be honest – we saw no inclination of change in the behaviour of the bankers and their acolytes, including the Big 4.
So there were disappointments
Alan Johnson as shadow chancellor (bring on Ed Balls, please)
Every unnecessary cut (that’s all of them) and the failure, so far, to get the message across that they are not needed.
But some highs too
The tax gap is now a political issue – and a big one.
People are no longer willing to lie down and accept the abuse thrown at them by the Tories.
The reaction to the report I wrote on Northern Ireland and its tax for the UK and Irish TUC’s.
Working with so many great people.
The conference I attended in Yale in December.
And much more.
It would be easy to be down about a year when the ConDems have unleashed so much harm without a mandate to do so. But I am an optimist. And I think neoliberalism is on a last gasp. Change is coming. And 2010 showed that. That’s a casue for a quiet drink tonight.