TJN conference day

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In general I don't do excitement. I, at best, look forward to things, and don't go over the top when they go well, by and large. Very staid, very chartered accountant, if you like. And I'm happy about that.

So I can't say I'm excited by the fact that today marks the start of the two day Tax Justice Network conference at Essex University. But I can say I'm  thoroughly looking forward to it.

Tax Justice Network has come a long way since it started, and few could deny its impact has been substantial, especially given the fairly limited resources it has commanded. There's no doubt that we have changed technical and academic debate on many issues, as well as the language of political economy and the politics of tax in the UK and elsewhere. I do take some pleasure in each of these achievements. I doff my hat to John Christensen, TJN director, especially for all he has achieved.

And today's conference is another step forward. Scholars have come from considerable distances to take part: I hope we all increase our understanding as a result.

It will be my pleasure to chair a session this afternoon, featuring a great Canadian lawyer and philosopher, Peter Dietsch whose company and work I have enjoyed before, plus sessions from thinkers whose work is new to me. They are Peter Latham who is talking about 'Land Value Taxation, debt and human rights: A Gramscian Perspective' and Ayse Nil Özbakan Tosun and Oytun Canyas who are talking on 'The Effects of the European Convention on Human Rights on Turkish Tax Policy and Administration'.

Now you may not got excited by that, but I'm certainly looking forward to it.