11 April 2005


The computer is somewhat better, but for how long who knows. But here is the news.
Last Saturday week I went to Kath and Steve's lovely party in Bankside, and asked a gentleman there in a Joy Division t-shirt what he does, like you do. His answer was along the lines of: I'm campaign co-ordinator for Stamp Out Poverty, which is lobbying for a tax on foreign currency transactions. He explained it all to my disfinancial brain, slowly and carefully... If Gordon Brown were to put a levy of one half of one hundredth of a percent (0.005%) on trade in sterling, this would generate £3 billion.
This money could then be ringfenced for overseas development. By "trade in sterling" is meant all those hyperspatial deals done between market speculators all over the world, generating untold riches for themselves. The tax is so small, relative to the volume, that they'll hardly notice it. I was stunned, and said so. It's such a brilliant idea. Glad you like it, he said. The name's David Hillman. Come to the press launch if you like. So I did. In a committee room over the road from Parliament, I sat and listened to these very brilliant men and one brilliant woman - Dame Shirley Williams - outline the aims of the campaign to raise a stamp duty on forex (see, I have the lingo now) deals. Please go to the website and read more. There's an easy-to-sign petition on there, too. If you support any of the NGOs like CAFOD, Make Poverty History, War On Want, Save The Children, Trade Justice Movement etc, you're already helping, as people from these orgs are on the case. If you feel you can help in any specific way with the campaign, you can contact David through the website. And finally, if you happen to have lots of money in any of the 20 tax "havens" around the world under British jurisdiction, look out. These very brilliant people have you in their sights. The redistribution of wealth is not an idea that's going to go away.

In other news, I was behind the bar at Southwark again on Friday. The show is on till Saturday and I urge you to go if you can. It's a Peter Gill play, Over Gardens Out. Readers of My London Life will certainly know of PG at least by repute, and won't be surprised to hear that the play is a gem. Nice review here.


Jan Davies said...

What is it with Peter Gill? Is it a cult? Who's in the pay of who? I saw The York Realist, about as real as Alan Bennet's History Boys at the NT, better directed, not as funny, both a load of gay old cobblers. I had high hopes for In The Blue and Lovely Evening, but alas pure style over content; if, if, if, if only he hadn't written them. I tried to read some of his other plays and kept falling asleep; Mean Tears (unreadable), Small Change(the Beckett Estate should sue), Cardiff East (repeat, repeat, repeat followed by pontification). Peter Gill is a great mimic. So much sound and very little fury signifying almost nothing. No wonder he left Wales.

sbs said...

de gustibus non est disputandum, jd.
I happened to be having coffee today with an actress who said unbidden that PG was far the best director she's ever worked with. It seems he understands actors and they appreciate him. so the work is informed by that, I think.
Respect to your passion, though. Lucky the writer you admire.

Anonymous said...

computer troubles -

are you using the firefox internet browser?

sbs said...

dear anon -

no. i've heard about such things. are they really much more secure? if so, is it a big job to switch from IE?

Anonymous said...

no - it takes five minutes to download, it imports all your bookmarks, and it prevents 98% of the rubbish that IE lets onto your machine -

download from: http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/

sbs said...

anon - had another hijack this a.m. so have done as you suggest..
fingers crossed.

Glyn said...

Tobin Tax, Stephen!

sbs said...

thanks for the link, Glyn. the Guardian called the SOP campaign "Tobin-lite", as Tobin's original idea was for a full 1 percent levy. But the banks who move 475 *trillion* in sterling won't think of it in those terms - 0.005% of that is a decent whack. But the campaigners hope, post-Enron and WorldCom, to shame the banks and their fat-cat accountants into coughing up.
Hurrah! Man the barricades!