Mr Two Percent’s Tobin Tax …

… To Bin Or Not To Bin?

‘O Presidente’ in his ‘state of the union’ vanity show address yesterday unveiled among other things the European Commission’s proposal for a ‘Tobin Tax‘ or officially a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT). It would fall on monetary and financial institutions (MFIs), banks to ordinary people. It would apply to inter-MFI transactions within the EU and between EU MFIs and third country MFIs. In the commission’s own words,

The financial sector was a major cause of the crisis and received substantial government support over the past few years. To ensure that the sector makes a fair contribution to public finances and for the benefit of citizens, enterprises and Member States, the European Commission on 28 September put forward a proposal for a financial transaction tax (FTT).

So:

Through the FTT, the financial sector will properly participate in the cost of re-building Europe’s economies and bolstering public finances. The proposed tax will generate significant revenues and help to ensure greater stability of financial markets, without posing undue risk to EU competitiveness.

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While Athens burns …

… Brussels fiddles on Road to Ruin 

From the outside looking in on the latest phase of the GFC (no it never ended) unfold the brain oscillates between utter disbelief and (when that is successfully suspended) mad hilarity – and then one realises it is actually all for real. One such transitional moment was the announcement by Tesco last week that it had decided to throw stg£5oom at (staple) grocery price cuts. Clearly Britain’s biggest bruiser in the grocery business had decided that its home market is in deep recession and home-makers’ budgets are seriously squeezed. It has said as much: reported consumerist web site bitterwallet,

Tesco top knob Richard Brasher said: “Across the country families are telling us the same thing: their budgets are under real pressure. They want more help today to afford everyday essentials. We have listened carefully and, for families facing hard times, the Big Price Drop will cut prices on the products they need to buy the most.

Another obviously, more recently, was the Rastani Moment (or RM as I’ve taken to call it). This truly was transformational – all the way from disbelief to hilarity and awakening reality. Watch it here (or if you’ve already seen it just pull the duvet over your head). Read the rest of this entry »


Prehistory of ‘The Special Relationship’

The Prehistory of ‘The Special Relationship’ – An American on Britain and its subjugation of the world (1864)

by

Pat Walsh

Introductory Note

This essay was first published in the July 2011 edition of the political journal, Irish Foreign Affairs, a quarterly review published by the Irish Political Review Group in Dublin. Pat Walsh is also the author of the book The Rise and Fall of Imperial Ireland – Redmondism in the context of Britain’s conquest of South Africa and its Great War on Germany andIreland’s Great War on Turkey 1914 – 1924 both published by Athol Books, Belfast. It is republished here with the permission of Pat Walsh as it is an exploration of one stormy chapter of the theme behind the title of this blog – the Great Divergence – or the rise of Ameranglia.

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After the United States had survived its civil war the Reverend Charles Brandon Boynton gave a Thanksgiving Sermon to the House of Representatives in which he pointed out that the enemy without was more dangerous than the enemy within:

“We should be thankful to God because He baffled the plot which was formed against us in Europe. With the evidence now before us, no candid man can doubt that the conspiracy against our Republic led to Europe, and that the foreign branch, then was more formidable than that on our own soil. The plot was prepared with as much care in France and England as in the Southern States. The European part of it was ready quite as soon as their accomplices here. When the moment arrived, France and England, by proclamation, and according to previous agreement, lifted the traitors to the position of lawful belligerents… England was on hand to aid in crippling a commercial and manufacturing rival, and gratify her jealousy of the United States, and get ready her Alabamas, and swift steamers to run the blockade. Nothing saved us at the outset from more active interference, but the perfect confidence of France and England that our ruin was sure through what had been done already. They watched and waited for our destruction in vain; but they thought it certain. They were ready to strike, but thought the blow not needed.” (National Thanksgiving Services held on December 7, 1865, in the House of Representatives of the United States of America by Reverend Charles Brandon Boynton, Chaplain of the House pp.10-11)

These were the days before the ‘Special Relationship’ when war between America and Britain was still a living memory (England had burned Washington in 1813) and perhaps a distinct possibility of the future. Read the rest of this entry »