Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Why the only way to be fair is to share

Have you ever wondered why things suddenly happen or suddenly stop happening? Like the flag protest riots.

Suddenly, they ended. Like the IRA ceasefire. Suddenly, it stopped. Like Tesco having horse meat in their burgers. Suddenly, they're changing how they do things and saying neigh to the old ways.

For all the times when you might feel overwhelmed by the world and resigned to the idea that things will never change, take heart. Things change dramatically all the time.

All it takes is the will.

The economic crisis has been debated up and down and round about. We're told there is no alternative to huge spending cuts for all of us. But, in fact, with the will to do things differently, this government could address the problem in a radically alternative way.

Michael Meacher MP, in a letter to the Guardian last week, showed how the richest 1,000 people in the UK, that's just 0.003% of the population, have increased their wealth by £155bn in the past three years. Enough to pay off the entire deficit and still leave them with the odd £30bn.

Is Cameron or Osborne planning a decent tax on this income? No. Instead they're going after the ordinary people, clawing back pennies when the richest 1,000, if they paid capital gains tax at the going rate on their earnings over the past 15 years, could pay off 70% of the deficit, £88bn in one fell swoop.

So don't say there's no other way. There is. There just isn't the will. Same with world hunger. The IF campaign has a short film doing the rounds on the internet. It shows the G8 leaders meeting in Fermanagh and discussing world hunger.

Only the leaders are all played by children. They start off saying there's nothing can be done, it's too difficult etc. But then they're served lunch. Not everyone's been given the same amount of food.

So the ones with the plates piled high do what most people would do sitting round a table of eight, where it's clear the spoils have been unfairly divided – they share out what they have and everyone has enough.

That's the simple point. There IS enough food to feed everyone. It's not good enough for anyone to say there's no way to feed the world. Worse is to say: "Oh they tried that and it didn't work". There is a way. All that's needed is the will.

The fact is that when we behave like caring individuals, we know the thing to do. When we step back and see the world as "other people" separate from us, we become disempowered, small and less caring. But it doesn't have to be that way. There is another way. And there is a growing will.

The IF campaign wants people to spread the word and to make a strong voice heard by the G8 leaders when they meet later this year in Fermanagh.

And to those who say: "It's much more complicated than that. It's not as straightforward as you think. These things aren't simple," you can say: "Yes they are. They may not be easy, but they are simple." If a group of kids can work it out, are you trying to tell me that the world's smartest adults can't crack it?

As we used to say here when we were kids: "Givus share."

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