As Neville Chamberlain shuttled between the House of Commons, Paris, and Munich in search of peace, the world watched and listened, focussed on the important outcome of the serious discussions, debates, and conversations. World War had to be averted. A generation ago, the slaughter of the innocents had left its deathly mark in countries from Russia in the east to the United States of America in the west. No one wanted a repeat show.At least, there was a focus and an intensity about the challenges faced. When Neville Chamberlain rose to address the House of Commons on 4th April 1938, it was “the thirteenth debate on foreign affairs we have had in nine weeks”, no one could accuse the government of not talking, but were they doing anything?
I think everyone knows the outcome.
Now, we face another World War, not a military threat posed by nations ambitious for territory, but an economic war which sets rich shareholders and fat corporations- many bigger than some small states – against the little man, the poor man, the silent man, and the suffering man.
As a schoolboy, I looked at a Hogarth caricature of London’s poor, rotting through the abuse of alcohol in Beer Street and Gin Lane. Ladies (if you could call them that) let their children starve in the gutter while they, fat and happy, slurped more gin with crazy smiles on their faces. I couldn’t believe it was true. But now I think it was.
Today, those “ladies” are giant corporations – Apple (with a current cash pile of $230 billion) comes to mind but there are others, Starbucks, Google, etc., gorging themselves on the lowest possible corporation tax rates, by setting up virtual companies in hyperspace or Dublin or any country or city which is prepared to yield to their economic might, while the little people of Ireland, Britain, and many other countries suffer like those the starving children in Gin Lane. The fat corporations gorge themselves and, just like poor Chamberlain did years ago, the House of Commons talks impotently about clamping down on tax avoidance.
I think everyone fears the outcome.
The cost of World War II was measured in millions of dollars in 1945, what will be the cost of lost taxes to this country unless we win this economic war?