Seasonal living is a great joy when you live in a temperate place with adequate shelter and with enough money to keep warm, it’s a different story for the homeless and peeps in ‘fuel poverty’, a mild phrase that covers a terrifying situation: having to choose between food and fuel. For the elderly and vulnerable, that is a life and death choice, either way…the cuts to the benefit system are putting a terrible strain on millions now…please don’t buy anything from Starbucks until they pay their full  taxes to the British government, shamefully their tax debt could pay for everyone, not just the over 75s to get a winter fuel payment, but all the young families and disabled…no more deaths from hypothermia this winter, no more suicides due to financial fear and strain, no more suicides because the government’s response to austerity is to persecute hundreds of thousands on already perilous incomes instead of a big corporation making… how many millions?  I don’t have the spoons to do the investigation, because whatever figure is in the declared accounts will be some accountant speak quite far from the truth…like their company statement of making warm friendly places for people to drink good coffee is a long way from old ladies in 20 layers still dying of the cold when it goes below -5 degrees…

Someone online has made the point that duty to shareholders means the accountants have to make the most of loopholes…but this isn’t really what’s happened, and in the age of abject apologies it is very noticeable that Starbucks have expressed neither shame nor regret over their choice to avoid tax. They’re not the only one, lots of the global corporations now feel they are above the laws of  individual countries, so we, the customers have to remind them that we also have power – and not buy their products, but sign online petitions or write to head office and the shareholders asking them to vote to return the tax in every country it has been avoided. Where will we get delicious coffee? At our local small cafe, probably struggling under the new rules the Tories have brought in that says PAYE (tax and Nat Insurance) now has to be paid weekly to the government, thus adding to the paperwork load and overheads of small businesses struggling to keep their balance in the wake of the mega corps.

Can I take this chance to sing out praises to some of the independents of Nottingham: jam cafe for putting on open mikes, handmade for lovely friendly service to peeps with babes in buggies and most of all to alley cafe, who put on lots of events, show art and at the moment, also have these:

        white poppies!

My grandad fought in the 1914-18 war and got badly mustard gassed, but he always refused to wear a red poppy, saying the government should look after its soldiers, they shouldn’t have to rely on charity…and that “the war to end all wars” would have been just that if the ministers had fought it, instead of underage lads who wanted out from the mines. So I always wear a white poppy if I can find one, but it’s not always that easy. Some wonderful person has bought a box from the Peace Pledge Union, and then put it in the alley cafe with a collecting box for the Refugees of War/Refugees Destitution Fund. Double donation to the forgotten victims…

Alley Cafe can have this on the bar because they’re a small independent cafe, it’s just not the kind of thing a mega corp can do, for fear of offending mainstream customers…but they could pay their rightful taxes…

 

update: I am so pleased that Starbucks are reconsidering their position. £10 million is a poor start and well done to the peeps out there protesting 3 saturdays before xmas, you are true stars, may the bucks shake more free…

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