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Bicnod for Mumsnet - LIVE AT THE G8!!! Come and keep me company...

(135 Posts)
Bicnod Mon 17-Jun-13 00:35:20

I'm here in Belfast for you lovely lot as one of the IF@G8 bloggers - original thread here

It all kicks off tomorrow so setting this up now like a good boy scout to be prepared.

Did I mention I'm getting a press pass?! shock

Still eeking.

Up in 5 hours so must go sleeeeeeep.

taczilla Mon 17-Jun-13 22:03:25

Yes to Pat Blakes and round the corner Francos restaurant will be heaving. I am chuckling at friends on Facebook out walking and perving at all the men in uniform..times have changed. Hope you rest well and good luck tomorrow.

Bicnod Mon 17-Jun-13 23:18:17

Off to bed - truly knackered. Looking forward to some more G8 action tomorrow.

By the way, Greggs sausage rolls now come guilt free: Richard Murphy tells me Greggs came top of the Fair Tax Mark ratings recently - meaning they have an excellent corporate transparency record. Who knew?! grin

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 06:58:49

Morning grin from one extreme to the other... got practically scalded in the shower this morning!

Just eating breakfast and then heading over to Lough Erne.

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 07:00:23

Apparently the OECD released a report on information exchange overnight admitting that there are vast amounts of money offshore.

Let's see what the G8 agree today about sharing information on squirreled away money with developing countries. ..

Salbertina Tue 18-Jun-13 08:01:14

Morning Bicnod- have you seen this?

BIWI Tue 18-Jun-13 08:57:42

Morning, Bicnod. Who are you going to collar today? grin

Salbertina Tue 18-Jun-13 09:12:31

Also this is interesting - did you get the (African not British!) Mail & Guardian in Ethiopia? An interesting, African perspective:

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 09:18:04

I'm here smile

Briefing with Paul Collier - advisor to Cameron - at 9.30am.

Thanks for articles @Salbertina - will have a squiz at them when I get back.

Coffee here is DIRE by the way.

Salbertina Tue 18-Jun-13 09:29:12

Got some fab Malawian stuff (get me) Fancy a virtual brew? And hope the apples are more palatable wink

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 18-Jun-13 10:14:39

Oooh Paul Collier! Let us know what he says

Tee2072 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:17:12

Dire coffee in NI? Say it isn't so! (Trust me, it's instant made in a huge vat with a random amount of powder to water ratio. Try to find a cafe!)

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 10:33:58

Oooo - that was interesting. Cameron's advisers cut the Q&A time off as they had to get back for lunch (?!)

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 10:37:35

Paul Collier started by saying that we're coming to the most important part of the G8 - the part that has the potential to impact on people in developing countries. Agreed.

There was a lot of talk about Cameron's commitment to making information on company ownership more readily available. Apparently he wants to hold a consultation on whether to make the beneficial ownership register public. hmm If the register ISN'T public then how will it help developing county governments pick up tax dodging companies?

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 10:43:21

Michael Anderson (another of the PM's advisors) said greater transparency in developing countries would be good for global business. NO mention of how this will impact on communities in developing countries.

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 10:44:03

Right - off to briefing on tax and transparency. Back soon.

SacreBlue Tue 18-Jun-13 11:08:47

I hope he means all countries and not just the 'developing' ones.

Btw it's Ireland, tea's the thing not coffee ;)

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 11:23:40

@Salbertina - the apples are great smile

@SacreBlue - I presume (hope!) that's what he meant but to be honest it wasn't that clear!

Richard Murphy asked the advisors when change will be seen on the ground - unsurprisingly the response to that was lukewarm - no timeframe given.

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 11:25:33

Ooooo - my Huffington post article is up! shock

Linky here

liger Tue 18-Jun-13 11:49:38

Ooo Bicnod, spot on with the huffington article - very well done.

So sorry to hear coffee is dire. (Kenya AA all the way for me Salbertina )

Has there been any mention of EU agricultural subsidies, pouring money into European (male) landowners pockets and skewing the market against the African small scale farmers ( mostly female).

Any journo's there? Is the DailyFail there? Can you ask them why they keep bashing the fact that we give 0.7% in Aid? ( I know why but really, the should be ashamed if themselves)

Go Bicnod!!

Tee2072 Tue 18-Jun-13 12:08:30

Really well done in Huff Post!

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 12:09:13

Just back from an interesting tax and transparency briefing with Gavin Hayman from Global Witness and Adrian Lovett from One

Gavin talked about how anonymous 'shell' companies' actions can have a huge negative impact on developing countries.

One example he gave was how the Democratic Republic of Congo, just before recent elections, sold off five of its best copper and cobalt mines. They were sold to anonymous companies registered in the British Virgin Islands for up to 1/20th of their estimated market value. The BVI companies then re-sold the rights to the mines for a huge profit.

The suggestion being that corrupt DRC leaders were lining their pockets before they lost power in the upcoming election.

The losses to the DRC from this particular deal are estimated to be $1.3 billion - twice the DRC health and education budget.

Gavin quoted Paul Collier as saying that shell companies are 'getaway cars for global corruption.'

So how does this link back to the IF Campaign?

Well, the IF Campaign are calling on tax havens like the BVI to commit to putting beneficial ownership information (i.e. who is the actual human being who controls/benefits from a company) in the public domain.

Having this information freely available would make it much easier for citizens, journalists and civil society to hold companies (and their owners) to account for their actions; and much harder for corrupt individuals to hide behind phantom companies.

Now I'm no expert on transparency, but it makes sense to me that making this sort of information more widely available can only be a good thing.

The question is, will the G8 lead by example and commit to a move towards PUBLIC registers of beneficial ownership?

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 12:15:22

x-posts liger and Tee - awww thanks smile

I find it quite hilarious that something I've written has been published somewhere!

No mention of EU agricultural subsidies in any of the briefings I've been in so far.

Will look out for DailyFail journos - haven't seen any so far but they must be here. Have they bashed the 0.7% aid target recently? I can't bring myself to read the DailyFail - it makes me too stabby.

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 12:21:22

More on the tax and transparency briefing...

<ignores collective moan of boredom>

Gavin went on to say that previous analyses carried out by the UK and EU have shown that it would be overwhelmingly in the public benefit to make the registers public.

The word on the street <flicks hand> is that not all of the G8 countries will publish an action plan on beneficial ownership today.

To this we say booooo.

Apparently Obama backed legislation on beneficial ownership in 2008 when he was Senator, but whether he will show his commitment today remains to be seen.

liger Tue 18-Jun-13 12:26:01

It's in the Daily Fail today! Under the title 'Britains foreign Aid madness'. I can't quite bring myself to link but yes its a regular bit of bile they churn out.

The Fail makes me very stabby, but its helpful for me to realise that the world is not just filled with the Guardian reading, globally travelled, understanding human beings who are concerned for the welfare of those who may have less than themselves, bubble that I live my life in. Some people really think such narrow minded thoughts - and the conservatives are in power.

Bicnod Tue 18-Jun-13 12:27:29

Adrian Lovett said that it is absolutely vital that developing countries are included right from the start in any information sharing deals.

I think this is such an important point. If developing countries aren't included then how can they hold tax dodging multinational companies to account? And how can their citizens hold corrupt individuals whose actions impact on them to account?

Gavin went on to say that although the lack of public registers/tax dodging has the most devastating HUMAN impact in Africa, it also has a HUGE impact in China and India, resulting in massive sums of money flowing out of these countries. So the hope is that this issue will be picked up by the G20 when they meet.

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