The Coalition of Resistance held a very interesting meeting on Thursday night at the Central Community Centre in Scunthorpe, which VisitScunthorpe covered live.
In total there were 20 people present at the meeting, a further 12 people followed the live feed on www.VisitScunthorpe.Com throughout the evening, with more people viewing the archived event from the home page yesterday.
For readers interested in reading the feed again, the archive has been moved from the home page to the end of this article.
This meeting was very interesting to me for several reasons.
Firstly this was the first "political" meeting I've attended in 15 years, ironic really in view of recent posts making various accusations about political affiliations on VS; lets just say that the VS policy still is, and always has been that all
views are welcome providing they do not intimidate an individual or incite violence.
Secondly having attended the meeting it did get me thinking very seriously about just how the media (locally and nationally) have been covering the issue of cuts.
As a result, since the meeting I've spent quite a long time looking in to why we have the cuts, what economic reasoning is behind them, and what (if anything) is the alternative.
Looking at media coverage, it's clear see that the mainstream media are looking to positively divide the population. Just look at today's Evening Telegraph
article and read the comments. Mr Cameron is right, we are all in this together, unless you are unemployed, or working hard and begrudging the unemployed, or like himself a millionaire.
Now the more I look into this, the more I do not believe that cuts to the level which are being proposed are the answer. In order to reduce the deficit we need growth, and growth only comes from investment in production. Sadly this country for the last 25 years has produced very little, we have become a services based economy centred around moving other people's money around the world and in matter of fact producing very little.
Throughout the CoR meeting on Thursday night it became clear that CoR have two major objectives, the first to unite all members of society to oppose these cuts (on a size and scale of that which the Poll Tax was overthrown in 1990), and secondly to encourage government and individuals to look at alternative methods by which the deficit can be reduced.
As a nation (and a region) we have many opportunities in emerging technologies such as wind and tidal power, we have the experience of North Sea exploration and off shore working from the Oil Industry. Scunthorpe Steel is renowned as some of the highest quality still in the world. Sadly a lack of investment in these areas sees us gradually falling behind other European countries.
To me its only investment in manufacturing and production which will enable growth and get us out of this recession. Reducing public services will not.
So what are the alternatives? Well, consider this, the Inland Revenue are responsible for the collection of taxes from businesses and individuals. Currently there is and estimated ï¿½26Bn of tax each year which goes uncollected as the revenue does not have enough compliance offices to go and collect it! This figure alone accounts for approximately 20% of the current deficit.
In addition to this there is an estimated ï¿½25Bn (per year) lost in tax avoidance, and a further ï¿½70Bn in tax evasion by large firms and individuals.
To me this is a very good excuse as to why the Inland Revenue should be given more resource, not less.
While covering the meeting on Thursday, I was asked a very prudent question, "Its all very well asking people to unite, but what are the alternatives". There are various options on this, for example ï¿½1.3 Trillion was spent bailing out the banks, we own ï¿½850 Billion of bank assets as a result, so the government could use the profits from this to reduce the deficit instead of paying bankers bonuses for spending our money.
While estimates vary, between ï¿½50Bn and ï¿½120Bn per year is not collected by the revenue in tax, give them the resources that they need, and consider looking at taxing global financial transactions, a 0.05% tax would generate an estimated ï¿½20Bn a year.
More radical is investing properly in manufacturing, creating production jobs and training combined with making the education system work, by actually investing more in our schools, colleges and universities so we have a trained skilled work force, and not a population taught a narrow worthless curriculum aimed to pass meaningless exams.
And all of this without the controversial scrapping of trident (ï¿½76Bn) or the withdrawal from Afghanistan (ï¿½5Bn).
For those interested on understanding more about how the ideology of these cuts will effect every one living in North Lincolnshire, then next Wednesday (23rd) the North Lincolnshire Council Budget will be set.
CoR intend to stage a demonstration outside the meeting starting at 5:15, along with other local interest groups.
The Council meeting is open to the public and both the meeting and the demonstration out site will be covered by the VisitScunthorpe.Com live broadcast system.
Any one can contribute to the live broadcast using the twitter hash tag #NLCB, the live broadcast will be available from shortly before 5pm.
Below is a replay of last Thursday's live broadcast from the CoR meeting: