Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A Taxing Day...

Today was frustrating, that I cannot deny.

After the sterling overnight efforts of our ISD staff some semblance of normality was briefly restored this morning. First the intranet and then email were available; the enforced coffee breaks, meetings, visits to garden centres and other diversions were brought to an end as staff took up their usual positions in front of laptops and PCs - hallelujah!

Our joy was to be short lived however as after an hour or so all was not as it had seemed and it became apparent we were offline for another day.

We worked around - as you do. We still had Skype, personal email - not for sending sensitive information obviously, and, of course, the phone! I found myself apologising to our amazing receptionist who had to transfer me to all my colleagues - their extension numbers being on the intranet - but her buoyant upbeat cheerfulness was an example to us all.

All of this however is simply by way of preamble and has nothing whatsoever to do with why I am angry. There's really no point worrying or stressing over things we have no control over, so my main thoughts have to be with those colleagues who are charged with putting things right.

My anger is directed elsewhere and needs some background.

A lovely lady came to collect a little red envelope today. For another charity obviously, but a very good cause and we fell into conversation as I asked her to wait whilst I gift aided my donation. After all, I had time to talk ;-)

We chatted about the highs and lows of house to house collecting, my employment with Christian Aid came up, she said how much she loved our slogan "We believe in life before death".

I introduced the concept of Poverty Over, Christian Aid's vision that the scandal of poverty can be eradicated in our lifetime. We moved onto taking action as well as just giving, to the ways in which campaigning can make a difference and is necessary to achieve our ambitious vision of a world without poverty.

And somehow, quite naturally, the Trace the Tax campaign came up and I explained how multinational companies don't have to declare how much profit they make in each company they do business in. So for example mining companies in the Philippines don't pay the tax which could fund education or health care for many children and families living there.

The lovely lady was aghast. And so was I. Sometimes it is only as you explain this to people who didn't know it before that the injustice hits you again. I was really really angry.

We talked some more and I'm almost embarrassed to admit what she went on to say. "If ordinary people knew about this and did something then the government would have to take action - I never knew".

I thought of our marketing, our advertising, all that we do to get the word out. What are we doing wrong? But it's oh so easy to think what "we" can do and not what "I" can do. My blog's been getting a lovely lot of attention lately so maybe by popping this on here a few more people will know about it and join the fight to end poverty.

About £160 billion a year is lost to developing countries every year through tax avoidance. That's almost twice the amount they receive in International Aid.

So a taxing day, and I am angry about this injustice. But if it made me share with you then it was worthwhile.


  1. Linda,

    It's great that with all your difficulties and frustrations going in with your day, you can take time to do this and be focussed on the big issues!


  2. Thanks John - doesn't do to be too inward looking all the time - here's to us having email tomorrow!

  3. Hi Linda
    There will always be those who get away without paying what they should, but the question is “how do we stop it”? Last weekend whilst in my local little Charity Shop I overheard a very smartly dressed lady ask the assistant how much a pair of ornaments in the glass cabinet cost. The assistant replied £40, which was a fair price as they were lovely objects and it was the price tag that had been put on them. However, my jaw dropped when to my absolute astonishment I heard the said smartly dressed lady ask the assistant in a low voice if she would accept £25 for the pair instead! I nearly commented “do you really want them, and if so, then why don’t you pay the price marked, it is a CHARITY shop after all”! Now I wouldn’t have had the nerve, but clearly the people who can most afford it do, and they get away with it (its wrong)!! K xx