Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bassist: original and covers. And now, cyber political activist

What a weird week.

Before I get kicked off - the music projects are continuing: Tony is recording further material with a click track to get us to work with: he's also got some potentially awesome support slots we might do through a swimming buddy (of all things)... hope that's not a euphemism (I'm sure it isn't...). The Function Band from Hell is having a first get together on the 2nd of November so I'll be working on the first 10 songs double-time from this point onwards. Good tracks too, they've thrown in "this love" by Maroon 5 at the last minute - the baseline is surprisingly well-formed. I'd forgotten how instructive it can be to listen with a musician's ear to chart music sometimes: just because it's popular doesn't mean it isn't well written.

Anyway...the last few days have been a bit... well... odd.

A week ago last sunday the ol' Xantia (142000 and counting) decided to stop starting - a first, it's been bulletproof until now - so I was stranded at home working remotely for the week, something of a busman's holiday.

On thursday lunchtime I read about the Vodafone UK Tax "deal" from the government: a long-standing tax demand for an estimated accrued £6Bn from Vodafone's profits and acquisition of a german company years back, and subsequent profit stashing since then: they have a company called "Vodafone V2" *eyebrows arch* based in Luxembourg, that well-known place of business (for those who wish to escape european taxation), and have been using this to purchase the German company and give a tax-friendly haven for their profits since.

The whole thing has been grinding along for years, but lo and behold with our new Uber-Priviledged government, the negotiations are suddenly taken out of HMRCs hands and given to someone who would apparently take a less hard line approach: net result, Vodafone are eventually billed for only £1.2Bn over 5 years. What a joke.

I got angry. I surveyed twitter and facebook and the web and found an utter lack of interest, apart from Private Eye, who broke the story ages ago.

So I thought "Why is nobody else saying anything?" and I wrote a few tweets. Including this one:


and now it looks like this:


this is the tweet's entry on a site which tracks their popularity. Currently the tweet is number 6 in the world (seriously - in the WORLD) and has reached over 400,000 twitter accounts, being retreated by nearly 2000 people.

Since then, and spurred by the strength of feeling and goodwill I've received by some excellent people, I've turned it into something of a campaign. We're starting to get noticed (guardian unlimited story last friday).

I've started a petition - funnily enough, the e-petitions site at number10.gov is offline! What a coincidence.

Mine is at gopetition: http://www.gopetition.com/petition.40035.html - if you believe as I do that it simply doesn't matter if it's legal, what Vodafone have done is rob food from the mouths of every single one of the 500,000 jobs which will go as a result of the government's cuts. The benefit cuts alone are something like £7Bn - how much would the original £6Bn have offset?

The petition has over 1000 signatures since I started it last thursday, with some comments made by people who are just as angry.

The whole experience has completely changed my mind - I was one of the apathetic, but now I see that through technology I had thought was irrelevant a few months back, public strength of will can be expressed.

Stand up and be counted. Oh - and it turns out George Osborne is a tax avoider as well. Nice. A hypocrite as well as an idiot.

Location:Cyberspace, baby

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