Thursday, March 01, 2007

Your Help Please

The Make Poverty History campaign mobilised thousands to the cause – and politicians listened!

Will of the People versus Personal Profit.

Yesterday you got a very long rambling blog that talked about voting, democracy in action – and introduced you to the rather nasty, tacky world of Vulture Funds.

Well, my concerned yeomen, today I return to the topic. (Note 1)

You may not realise this, but when someone defaults on a debt, the person who is owed the money may decide that it is effectively lost and that they have no chance of seeing their money. Banks can call this bad debt and write it off against tax. (Note 2) Before they do this, the banks can pursue payment through various means including the courts and debt recovery agencies.

Another option is to sell the debt for pennies on the pound to another company who will then seek to recover the full amount of the debt plus expenses. These companies are forced to be more aggressive about collecting the debt.

The ‘Vulture Funds’ buy the really big debts from corporations and countries and then go after the debt very aggressively indeed using high powered lawyers and accountants.

Bono, one of the figureheads of the Make Poverty History campaign with Tony Blair.

The Make Poverty History campaign targeted the G8 Summit in Scotland when Tony Blair chaired the event. Bono and Bob Geldof managed to wring out some concessions from the leaders of the industrialized nations to provide debt relief for the poorest countries who were showing a commitment towards democracy and freedom.

Zambia was on nation that was identified as one of the beneficiaries of that Debt Relief – but that doesn’t worry the Vulture Funds.

The BBC Newsnight program broke the story how the Vulture Funds were putting all of that work at risk by going after the full amount of debts that were due to be written off. At the actual High Court Hearing, the judge found in favour of the Vulture Fund.

The ‘Vulture Funds effectively wiped out any of the benefits Zambia would feel from International debt Relief this year. Millions of Zambians would not see the benefits of improved infrastructure health care and education.

The owners of the Vulture Funds can rub their hands with glee as several millions dollars are added to the millions already in their bank accounts.

This is where I ask you nicely for your help (Pretty Please).

Kerry has set up a petition on ipetitions. Please could you spare some time to add your name and comments to the petition?

Stormscrossing left a comment in the original blog entry with some links to the Jubilee Debt Campaign. Among the interesting links he gave were a chance to email Donegal International to ask them not to collect the debt. Plus a chance to email Gordon Brown, the UK Chancellor (and some believe the next UK Prime Minister), to ask him to do something about it. It would be great if you could spare the time to add your name to those campaigns.

Then, you are a British resident (citizenship is not required), you can add your name to the petitions on the Number 10 website. Such is the delight of technology, there has ended up with more than one petition and you can find them here and here (There maybe more yet – I’ll keep the list updated).

IMPORTANT : The number 10 website sends you an email to confirm your email address. Some junk mail filters treat this email as spam. If you don’t get a confirmation email with a link to confirm your signature – please check in your junk mail folder!

Sorry for taking up so much of your time, but I feel this is important. I hope you do too.

From 14th June 2006, the industry standard Crozzy Standard has been applied to footnotes.

NOTE 1: You will be pleased to know that this does not take the form of a test as I threatened yesterday. This isn’t out of any misplaced goodwill on my part, but because I am going to ask you to pledge a little of your time and energy to try to get our leaders to take action. Click to return

NOTE 2: So if a bank does a really bad job of assessing risk on a loan or doesn’t check that the loan can be repaid properly, they end up paying less tax – which means that governments have to get tax revenue elsewhere. So when banks lend badly we end up paying more!. Click to return

My cute mascot would just love to put the bite on the Vulture Funds.

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1 comment:

Sean said...

Hey, you have the same background as me. I guess there's no accounting for taste.