Friday, November 27, 2009

Stopping the Vultures

The moves to stop the vultures continues with much pace.  I had a fantastic email action from Jubilee Debt Campaign in my inbox this morning and I just had to share it....(ok this is my write up of it)

The call is simple - This latest case is yet another example of the horrors of Vulture Funds.  They can be stopped if an MP introduces a private members bill.   The 'winners' of the poll this year to introduce a bill (of their choice) are currently deciding what to introduce....

So.... JDC have suggested....if Vulture Funds get your Goat (not to mix my animals up) then contact the MPs direct.  But also I would suggest letting your own MP know your concerns and asking them to lobby the MPs to introduce such a bill as welll.

Incase you don't know the winners list they are

1. Dr Brian Iddon MP (Labour, Bolton South East): 
2. David Chaytor MP (Labour, Bury North): 
3. Andrew Gwynne MP (Labour, Denton and Reddish): 
4. Albert Owen MP (Labour, Ynys Môn): 
5. Julie Morgan MP (Labour, Cardiff North): 
6. Anthony Steen MP (Conservative, Totnes):
7. Alistair Burt MP (Conservative, North East Bedfordshire): 

As ever, if you want more info then go to the Jubilee Debt Campaign page and also send the MP there as well... or make it easier and print out a Vulture Funds briefing and send it to them with a note.

(Brief History........
Spring 2009 - An early day motion is lodged opposing the practice of Vulture Funds - this EDM currently has over 200 MPs signatures - the equivalent of a 1/3rd of the house
Late Spring 09 - Sally Keeble, and a group of cross bench MPs introduce a Private Members Bill to severly limit the practice of Vulture Funds
Spring 2009 onwards and JDC gets thousands and thousands of lobby cards signed by members of the public

Summer 2009 and the Government has a consultation on the issue of Vulture Funds - an issue no-one was talking about (bar JDC) around Christmas last year
Autum 2009 - Consultation closes and no further word from the government....)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Vultures Have Swooped

Rage. Anger. Fustration.  Blimey the news makes my blood boil.  But what news is this?  Quiet simply the news that Vultures Have Struck Again on a Vulnerable Nation....

Vulture Funds are, by their name, a scavaging mode of making money. They purchase debt cheaply from the debtee and the pursue the debtor for the full costs (and some) making profit out of these actions.  For some areas of the market this could be seen as what ensures that those with poor credit are able to get credit, because it enables their debt to be passed on if the person lending the money knows they will get at least some back. However, for some areas of the economic market this is nothing but outragous exploitation and can potentialy lead to some vial consequences.

Today's case serves only to highlight what a blight on this country such actions are.  Both the UK and US legislators have been considering legisation to stop such action. The UK held a consultaiton on the issue, but results have yet to be released - but nothing about it in the queens speech does imply the result.  The US is reconsidering its options after the presidential election stalled their equivalent bill.

Church groups were at the forefront of calling for debt relief way back in the 1990s.  Church groups have been key to ensuring the debt issue stays on the agenda.  Because of church groups Jubilee Debt Campaign still exists to ensure that we  all work towards a world without illigitimate and onorous debts enslaving nations.


All this good work will be undone if vulture funds can continue to operate.  Email your MP today and ask them to take action on this subject because for all the moral condemnation the law still enables it to happen... because the government haven't released the results of the summer consulation and time is running out.... not just for this parliament.... but for some of the most economicaly vulnerable nations in the world.... and I for one don't want another private firm to benefit off a soverign nations poverty, and at the same time by the act of litigating enslave another generation to live in poverty.

To live in poverty for no more than private gain.

This isn't an issue of economics.

This is an issue of justice.

And for every one of us that keeps quiet, we are allowing the next case to be brought to court.

Take Care Y'All


(For information updates and to donate to support the campaign to defeat these funds please go to the Jubilee Debt Campaign website)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ethical Chocolate

The certification of Cadbury's Dairy Milk, in 2009, should be considered a highpoint in the fairtrade campaign.   It is estimated the impact of this will have been a doubling of the amount of fairtrade cocoa sold to the UK.

Therefore, it was quiet a shock to visit Cadbury's World last week and not find any reference, bar a few pictures stuck on the wall, that the bar had gone fairtrade.  This was, to be honest, rather odd.  Through a fantastic set of interactive videos, the story of the ethical, Quaker founded, Cadbury company seemed to end slightly too early.

Unfortunatly, it could all end slightly too early. Another set of people taking a peek around the factory were journalists.  With notebook and cameras, they were getting the low-down on what impact the proposed take-over bid from Kraft could have.

Therefore I thought it wise to return to an age old piramid cartoon. For, through the movements of craft, I am convinced one of the problems of capitlism - well the shareholder part - is clearly illustrated. Kraft discussed with the board what they thought of the plan. The board of Cadbury's said 'thanks but no thanks'.
Now, I would think at this point Kraft should take no as an answer. Afterall, that is what Children are taught - no means no.
Instead Kraft launched a hostile takeover bid. This operates, not in the companies interest, but in the interest of the shareholder. Ie the company aiming to do the hostile takeover opens up its wallet and waves money at the shareholder and says 'dare you overule the current management'.   Certainly, this grows even more worrying, because reports have begun to circulate that the Fairtrade status of the bar could be under threat should the deal go through.

So, to return to the pyramid. Popular around the time of the Russian revolution, it outlines the way the richest percentage of any population rely upon the poorest to prop up the system.  When shareholders are given dream amounts of money it is as though the top of the pyramid leans down to the bottom and begs them to move. However, as the Building Society debacles of the last decade illustrated, if you go away from a more co-operative approach to purely chasing profit the future isn't bright - it is the potential for absolute disaster.

Cadbury's are a fascinating orgainsation. Somehow they try to mix ethics with being one of the biggest confectionery companies in the world.  Many people didn't realise they striving for ethics - yet that is being highlighted as the biggest issue that challenges the merger talks.  Almost, it appears management have realised ethics behind the machine and wish to defend it.  Will the shareholders wish to defend it?

Sunday Song

"Do you want salt and vinegar", was what they made her say,
But in the language of the ghetto,
That means, "Help, I'm a woman in chains"

This weeks Sunday song is a wee bit of fun. Bill Bailey and Billy Bragg unite to sing one of the finest songs ever written.

Take Care Y'All