Monday, December 20, 2010

UKUnCut Protests - Why They CAN and WILL Work In The Long Term ...

After yesterday's #payday events across the UK organised on Twitter by #UKUnCut, there are two burning issues now being discussed:

Why the lack of media coverage?

Did the weather-based travel disruption really warrant 96% of airtime on the major TV news channels? (the other 4% was cancelled sports events and on the BBC, a 'Strictly Come Dancing' preview disguised as news.)

I have complained to the BBC on-line, as follows:



Sirs,

For the last few hours (12:00 to 16:00) there has been far too much coverage of weather disruption (probably 90% of airtime) - most of it of very little benefit after the fact - and far too little, or no, coverage on other major events in the UK today, especially the #UkUnCuts actions against High Street stores up and down the country.

This follows on from poor or little coverage of other actions taken against VodaFone and the Arcadia group in recent weeks. BBC News' editorial policy and choice of stories is an issue which needs to come under serious scrutiny if taxpayers and license fee payers are to continue to fund BBC News on it's current basis. Otherwise many of us who support #UKUnCut and other similair organisations may choose to add our voices to the call for a complete restructuring of current BBC News Services.

If you want to continue to broadcast and be funded in the current manner, I would suggest that you seriously re-evaluate your existing editorial policy and report all worthy news stories. And if you don't consider the #UkUnCut actions story to be worthy, then perhaps BBC should reconsider the position of the person that makes that decision.



No reply as yet but I'll keep you posted.


The second issue is more critical:

Will these protests work in the long-run?

I believe they will.

Just as Vodafone, Boots, HSBC 'et al' claim that their tax-avoidance is legal, (and sadly, they are right) so calling for specific companies to be boycotted is also legal. This is the basis behind ethical consumerism. As tax-payers and voters we have little power (usually) except an election vote every 4 years. Many are now realizing that their spending money is also a terrific weapon.

  • Choose NOT to spend money at an unethical store and you hurt that companies profits and reputation in the long-term.
  • Spread the word and others will consider doing the same. At least, if various companies in the same business sector are closely price-matched, tax ethics may well be the deciding factor. I'm delighted to say that I have persuaded 6 people to dump Vodafone.
  • Other businesses considering similiar unethical tax evasion will perhaps reconsider the potential future ongoing cost of a public backlash.
  • Highlighting the issue will hopefully pressurize the Millionaire's Cabinet into dealing with tax avoidance long-term as promised. Perhaps in the next budget or two we might get some legislation in place.

 If #UKUnCut is to work, it must continue the pressure relentlessly - in which case I honestly believe it simply cannot fail to have a political and economic effect on UK Tax Policy.