One of the main obstacles to the Robin Hood Tax has been the buck-passing or world leaders, who are always looking for someone else to make the first move, or for everyone else to agree before they will. Apart from the clear failure to understand what the word “leader” actually means, this is almost always only an excuse for inaction, which lets the financial sector off the hook while public services are slashed, the poor get poorer and the world heats up.
Today the European Parliament has broken the logjam and voted 360-299 in favour of a European-level financial transactions tax regardless of global agreement or individual action.
A combination of socialists, greens and those further left, together with substantial numbers of liberals and conservatives (although not, notably, the hard right group British Conservative MEPs belong to), voted to change the decision of the Economic Committee to drop the proposal. The TUC and ETUC have welcomed the decision.
This puts the pressure on the European Commission (which would prefer a smaller Financial Activities Tax to the Robin Hood Tax, unless – you’ve guessed it – there is agreement at the G20) and the Council of Ministers on which David Cameron represents the UK. We want a Robin Hood Tax, and we want it now!