i had a busy evening last night. i attended a meeting on the campaign to retain MMP, which i've written about here at the hand mirror. i think the vote next year on MMP will have a very negative impact on our democracy if it goes the wrong way.
after that meeting, i went to a celebration held by shama which was very well attended. it was great to see families there, supporting the organisation & one of it's many successful programmes: the parenting classes. there was a wide range of ethnicities present, as well as different religious groups. great to see a bunch of muslim women attending, enjoying the performances & other activities. my favourite was the henna, and the back of my hand is now very nicely decorated.
i've been watching the mass protests across europe with interest - and sadness. as the recession & credit crisis hits hard & governments try to make massive cuts to social expenditure, the public is doing their best to resist. go them. it's a nonsense to say that these cuts are necessary. they totally aren't. there is another solution to raising the money necessary to ensure decent education for all, and a minimum level of financial security in old age.
the answer is to raise taxes, particularly for high-income earners & for corporates - especially large corporates. i'd put massive taxes on anyone whose salary is more than $1 million per year, something akin to the 66% that was nz's top tax rate in the 70s. of course, these people will threaten flight, taking large amounts of capital with them, but realistically, europe is a huge market & large corporates need to have a presence there. it would be nice if the tax rises could be co-ordinated not just across europe, but across the world.
i just don't see why those at the bottom should have to pay the price for the actions of the financial sector. i don't see why there is money for corporate bailouts but not for social expenditure. but mostly, i don't see why tax rises are so off the agenda that they are barely being raised as an option.
i guess the most silly thing is that the populations who are protesting are themselves the ones who voted in conservative leaders - particularly in france & england. it's not like they didn't know what they were getting. even so, i hope that the fightback is successful.