This'll just be a quick post because I'm revising for an Operating Systems exam tomorrow.
I don't normally do online petitions, but given that this one is going to the United Nations in an attempt to finally end the war on drugs, and has some serious weight behind it, I'm going to get onboard in the hope that it might do something.
Avaaz is running a campaign to end this frightful waste of money, sign it here and get your friends to do the same. This could be a huge step in the right direction for civil liberties worldwide.
The economic reasons are persuasive, but just remember there are far better ones: the war on drugs causes gang crime, puts money in the hands of weapons traders and killers, criminalises people who are innocent, puts people off getting help with addictions, drives up the price of drugs (and as such, drives down the amount spent in the white economy) and causes impure product to be sold to people.
I was going to put this as a response on your newest blog post, but since you edited my last reply, I think putting it here gives it a higher chance of evading the censorship demon, and us liberals (the real kind, not the 'liberal as long as you agree with me' kind) don't like censorship very much.
I know it must have been embarassing to be called out on saying Toby Jones supported the Rally Against Debt, making insults about his movies and then realising that it was actually Toby Young who supported us, but usually the bigger and less self-conscious amongst us just accept when we make a mistake, let the reply through and make the amendments necessary (these were the results of a Twitter conversation, not a blog reply, but the same basic rules apply).
I'm a right-winger, and proud of it. I stand for small government, low taxes and a free market economy. This is not because it produces the best growth statistics or the best living conditions (although it helps), but because it offers the most freedom to succeed or fail to all individuals.
Having said that, I do not stand for a society where people are left to fend for themselves if they're not able to find employment, or they're disabled, or they're really struggling despite trying.
It is completely understandable that many people presume that the Rally Against Debt is a movement of self-interested. "Cut the services, cut our taxes, fuck the poor". Fortunately, that's not what it's about at all.
I'd like to speak to you about your message, your method and your aims. So, I'm going to take your mission statement (or, what I perceive to be a summary of it -- you don't have a mission statement) from your website and put it here:
We are told that the only way to reduce the deficit is to cut public services. This is certainly not the case. There are alternatives, but the government chooses to ignore them, highlighting the fact that the cuts are based on ideology, not necessity.
- One alternative is to clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and the rich, estimated to cost the state £95bn a year
- Another is to make the banks pay for a crisis they created: last year they paid out over £7bn in bonuses and just four banks made £24bn in profit
The tax avoided and evaded in a single year could pay for the £81bn, four-year cuts programme.
Let's ignore the banks for now, and concentrate on UKUncut's mission against corporate tax avoidance, because certainly if we can just increase tax yield by £95 billion a year, it's well worth looking at.
First of all, we need to distinguish tax evasion, which is the illegal non-payment of tax via false accounting or other methods, from tax avoidance, which is finding legal loopholes in order to pay less tax than is required.
It is a fact that some businesses do use tax loopholes to avoid taxation which they should pay. It is also true that some businesses which UKUncut have targetted are in fact only guilty of not paying tax twice on the same profits.
Well, it looks like our worst fears have come true. The 'No' vote is romping home to a greater than 2:1 ratio victory, and we're probably going to be stuck with Tory and Labour votes counting for between four and infinite times as much as other votes for another twenty years.
|Party||No of Votes||No of Seats||Seats per Vote||Vote Value|
By standardising a Labour vote to a value of 1 (multiply 'seats per vote' by 33370), we are easily able to compare the values of votes for each of the leading six UK-wide parties.