Blog post: 'Vote Global' to make the world economy work for the poor | World Development Movement

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Blog post: 'Vote Global' to make the world economy work for the poor

By Guest, 29 March 2010

Tim Gee

It is 12 months since 35,000 people took to the streets, days before the London G20 Summit, for the Put People First march, calling for decent work, an end to global poverty and a safe climate.

The march was a result of an unprecedented civil society alliance, spanning international development NGOs, faith groups, unions and domestic charities, highlighting the negative impact of unregulated markets on a range of issues.

When the summit outcome was released the G20 communiqué did not deliver the break from ‘business as usual’ that the movement called for. In particular, governments did not seize the opportunity to signal the transition to a green economy and concrete plans for increasing the accountability of the IMF were not forthcoming.

However, other announcements clearly showed the impact of the campaign and were cautiously welcomed, including funds for poor countries, and increasing the transparency of tax havens.

Most promisingly though, the summit signalled a sharp change in rhetoric as Gordon Brown proclaimed the Washington Consensus to be ‘dead’.

Campaigning pressure began to have an impact when G20 leaders’ met again in September. There they tasked the IMF to investigate instruments for a Financial Transaction Tax (Tobin Tax) – a long-standing campaigning goal of NGOs now showing just how widespread public support is through the current campaign for a Robin Hood Tax.

The financial crisis, and the campaigns around it, has seen changes in rhetoric from all UK major parties.

Addressing a recent Labour campaigns event, Gordon Brown declared that “markets should serve the public and not the other way around”. Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrat Spring conference speech pledged “a fair economy where we are no longer held hostage by the greed of bankers in the City of London” whilst Green Party leader Caroline Lucas used her 2009 Spring conference speech to point out that “for years, Greens have been warning against the cocktail of irresponsible policies that have fuelled this recession.”

The Shadow Chancellor George Osborne too has signalled a change of tack, writing in the Financial Times recently that “governments have enabled, if not enthusiastically promoted, recklessness, through… lax financial regulation.”

Like Put People First, the Vote Global manifesto calls for a global economy that works for the poor by cracking down on tax havens, regulating corporations abroad and pursuing fair trade not free trade.

A year ago citizens were taking to the streets. Now we will take to community hall hustings and the ballot box, calling on politicians to deliver these demands.

You can find your local hustings event, questions to ask the candidates, more information about the issues and actions you can take on world poverty on the Vote Global website at www.voteglobal.org.uk.

Tim Gee is Campaigns Communications Officer for Bond, the UK membership organisation for international development NGOs.

Voting

Most political parties have 'Green' policies, but for me, as a Green Party Parliamentary Candidate, I am beginning to feel a bit like the Golf car in the 'just like a Golf' advert on tv. Why vote for parties which have policies 'just like a green', when you can vote for the party which has based its policies on a Green agenda and fairness...The Green Party!

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