"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced" - James Baldwin
Sunday 26 April 2020
Butterflies and tornadoes
have always liked the story about the butterfly in Brazil flapping its
wings and setting off a tornado in Texas. It suggests that tiny
actions can produce massive changes.
and I live in a one-bedroom flat. As high-risk I stare out at our neighbours and wonder what life
is like for people living in multi-storey flats. A few minutes on the
internet gives me the answer.
Tower Hamlets an outbreak of Covid-19 hit Barnardo Gardens which
houses 200 people. “No one feels safe,” said one resident
on the fifteenth floor and trying to cope in this situation with two
young children, “At least ten people on my landing are ill and
there’s no one to help. We feel abandoned.”
have access to just two lifts which are someimes out of use. One
wheelchair-bound asthmatic woman says she feels like she’s in
prison. "I just sit and look out the window all day. And
that's really annoying me because I want to go out."
you ever received a letter from HM Revenue & Customs Tax Inspector, written personally to you and containing these words ... "You
must make payment in full by DATE. If you do not, I will start
distraint action against you. This means that I will seize your
possessions and later arrange to have them sold at public auction.
The proceeds from the sale will be set against the debt and the costs
of the action."
if your name is Richard Branson, Theresa May’s husband, Phillip
May, or at the head of five of the UKs biggest companies who pay not
one penny in tax.
the top 10 countries allowing billions
in tax avoidance, four are British overseas territories. Branson’s island
Necker in the British Virgin Isles is, of course, one of them.
challenged Government claims that tackling tax avoidance is a
priority for them, but Tax Justice Network found that the UK has
“single-handedly” weakened the global corporate tax system which
loses an estimated £395 billion per annum to avoidance.
is more than three times the NHS budget. There would be funds to put
an end to the suffering taking place at Barnardo Gardens.
Cobham, Tax Justice Network CEOI, has said, “A
handful of the richest countries have waged a world tax war so
corrosive, they’ve broken down the global corporate tax system
beyond repair …. The ability of
governments across the world to tax multinational corporations in
order to pay teachers’ wages, build hospitals and ensure a level
playing field for local businesses has been deliberately and
McDonnell, ( remember him?) and speaking under the words, ‘For the
Many not the Few’, during what was supposed to have been a General
Election, said, “The Tories’ record on tax avoidance is
embarrassing and shameful … The only way the UK stands out
internationally on tax is in leading a race to the bottom in creating
tax loopholes … A
Labour government will implement the most comprehensive plan ever
seen in the UK to tackle tax avoidance and evasion.”
The sun shines, I can hear children’s laughter in the gardens below, and we are grateful to have kind neighbours and a police cadet we have yet to meet, who braves the long supermarket queues to do our weekly shop. He then drops it off here by bicycle.
We have bought two folding chairs so we can sit outside at the front of the house and another stranger stopped by (two meters distance of course) and offered to add our food order to her delivery.
are lucky, but my sadness and
at the prolonged fate of those residents at Barnardo Gardens.
people are saying they hope things will return to normal once the
epidemic is over. I hope not. We have to start living in
recognition that ‘an injury to one is an injury to all.’ We
have to behave like Brazilian butterflies and set off social and