Posts Tagged ‘Uk Uncut’

The joy of tax

24/04/2012, 07:30:33 AM

by Peter Goddard

Let’s play a game.

Add another word to the following to make a popular phrase… “Tax _____”

What did you answer? Burden? Evasion? Avoider? Loophole?

Whatever it was, the chances are you weren’t thinking anything positive. “Tax hero”? “Tax Embracer”? Unlikely.

The debate around tax, on both side of the political divide always seems to revolve around who isn’t paying enough, who is benefitting too much and inevitably, who is cheating.

But whilst the activities of UK Uncut and their ilk play a valuable role in exposing corporations and individuals who are paying far less than their perceived fair share, are we missing a trick on the other side of the equation?

When I donate £25 to Save the Children, I receive an effusive thank you and the assurance that I have bought ‘safe birth kits’ for five women giving birth at home.

When I give £10 a month to adopt a leopard with the World Wildlife Fund, I receive an effusive ‘thank you’ from the recipients. I also receive regular updates about my newly-saved jaguar and, if I want, a cuddly toy.

And yet when I pay thousands of pounds each year to HMRC, what do I get? To stay out of prison.

Whilst I am a huge fan of not going to prison, it is hardly surprising that thousands of people and companies choose to minimise the amount of tax they pay, sometimes using the mechanism of giving money to charity to reduce their payments.

Either way, the individual is paying out, but at least with charity they have a feeling of wellbeing and a cuddly leopard to show for it.

So why is nobody making any attempt to celebrate the people who do indeed “pay their way”?


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Don’t disparage direct action: it works

03/04/2011, 10:43:09 AM

by Conrad Landin

It’s always a shame to see people on the left talking down our achievements just so they can prove their point. But this was exactly how I felt reading Dan Hodges’ argument that the rally last Saturday was “ruined” by the direct action taken against businesses in the West End.

Seeing smashed windows and paint-splattered police helmets weren’t my only memories of Saturday. And nor were these the only aspects picked up on by the media. The night before, for instance, saw the BBC talking to rather unorthodox protesters in the home counties, while live coverage during the day included the memorable aerial footage of the sheer scale of the crowds. Sky News’s subtitles – at least for some time – bore the simple words “250,000 on protest march”, or something to that effect.

In an age of sensationalised media, where it seems that, in the rather unfortunate words of Ken Livingstone’s reference to knife crime, “if it bleeds, it leads”, such attention for a peaceful protest isn’t bad going. (more…)

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Half a minute Harris

29/03/2011, 11:00:04 AM

Episode 5: A distraction from the main event

You can catch up with previous episodes here:

Episode 1: Welcome, Uncut readers, to the mind of Tom Harris

Episode 2: Should we abstain on the welfare reform bill?

Episode 3: How’s that working out for you Polly?

Episode 4: Student visas… I’m with Theresa May on this one

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UK Uncut was always going to spoil Labour’s party, but we invited them in

29/03/2011, 07:00:01 AM

by Dan Hodges

By the time you read this I will just have completed my morning’s shopping. First, I’m popping into Fortnum and Mason. Unlike the majority of public school anarchists who were trashing the place on Saturday, I can’t afford a full hamper, so I’ll probably settle for a nice jar of strawberry jam. Then I’m planning to wander down to Topman. Not too sure what I’ll pick up there, seeing as I haven’t been in a Topman since Mark Harrison’s fifteenth birthday party back in 1984. I think I bought something grey. To me grey was, and still is, the new black. I was part of the south east London greyblock.

These are, I concede, small gestures. But there are times one has to take stand. Fight the power. Face up to the man.

At the moment I’m a lone voice. But I have high hopes of blossoming into a fledgling movement. UK Half Cut. Or Half Baked. Something like that.

Meanwhile, as I await the flood of applications to my new, organic, grassroots protest group, (I hope I can get a few  grandmothers who have never protested before; the BBC love those), I must proffer an apology. (more…)

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Protest is not the preserve of the young.

17/02/2011, 02:00:22 PM

by Victoria Williams

We all know what a protester looks like. They are long-haired, middle class, vegan, university students who wear woolly jumpers and read the Guardian. Look at the comments on the Mail Online and you’ll discover that they are also “lentil munching yoghurt knitters”. And so they may be. And so what?

The stereotype has been around for decades, and, though irritating to serious political activists, it has generally been harmless enough. Until now. Now protest matters again, and so does our perception of those who participate in it. The problem with our commonly held view of activists is that, as with so many stereotypes, it is simply not correct. The faces we’ve seen at demonstrations in London and throughout the UK in the last few months have come from all backgrounds (and have sported a variety of fetching hair styles and fashionable alternatives to the knitted jumper). And while we can laugh off silly assertions about hair and fashion sense, the enduring belief that those engaging in political protest are all very young is more pernicious. (more…)

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