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Vote “No” to Straw Men and Tobin Taxes

November 3rd, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized by

Leslie Clark’s article yesterday brought to my attention this irritating video from the pro-Tobin Tax lobby.

(I refuse to call it “The Robin Hood Tax” because, as I keep pointing out, Robin Hood devoted his life to waging a war on tax collectors. He would be turning in his grave if he wasn’t a mythical figure)

What annoys me about the film is that it sets Bill Nighy up as a particularly-corny straw man; a cardboard cut-out of a banker who is utterly unable to explain why a Tobin Tax is a bad idea.

Much like the Make Poverty History movement five years ago, the Tobin Tax people do not seek to inform their audience or to make their case in a serious way. Instead they make simplistic and circular arguments and refuse to address real criticism.

Having watched the video, viewers are invited to vote on whether they support the Tobin Tax. However, having voted, one is not then shown the latest results: usually, once one has voted, one is shown the percentages for and against. I wonder what they’re hiding!

To give credit, however, a negative vote does bring you to a page where those who are skeptical can express their views. These do not appear to have been edited or censored or deliberately trolled. I must admit that this is a first: most single-issue campaigns (and official political party websites) tend either not to invite comments or to not publish/delete critical comment. They do of course patronise the nay-sayer first (“Not convinced by Bill the Banker and the homepage? We understand. It’s a big idea”!), but that’s only to be expected from an organisation that recruits film stars to make highly produced but uninformative propaganda videos.

The good news is that, having sat through 3.25 minutes of this drivil, you too can vote to express your disapproval of the Tobin Tax. Go on! Do it! You can even scroll past the first 3.22 if you like (though don’t undershoot, or you’ll have to listen to Snow Patrol!).


There are better ways to introduce British actors to straw men


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