Tuesday was a pretty momentous day that not many people even noticed. No, Dear Reader, I don’t mean that it was Pancake Day. Nor do I mean that it was the anniversary of the start of both the Suez Crisis and the Russian Revolution. I’m not even referring to the fact that it was Mickey Dolenz’s (the most important of all the Monkees, except the other three) birthday.
What I’m referring to is a piece of legislation passed by the European Parliament in Strasbourg. I know what you’re thinking. European legislation hampers the UK, erodes the nation’s independence, makes life difficult for small businesses, and is nowhere near as important as the birthday of Mickey Dolenz.
But this particular piece of legislation is actually good for the people of Britain and the rest of the world and in no way detracts from the brilliance of Dolenz’s lead vocals. Those vaunted MEPs have called for introduction of a financial transactions tax on all banks of €200 billion (or £172 billion) a year.
Financial transactions tax may not sound as sexy as Last Train to Clarksville, but you probably know it better at the Robin Hood Tax anyway. The German, French, Austrian, and Spanish governments are all supporting this tax and now the European Parliament has voted in favour of it by 529 to 127 votes. The only financial leader digging in on this one seems to be George Osborne. I know you won’t be surprised by that news.
European politicians seem to be waking up to the fact that people want more regulation and increased transparency in our financial sector. The mood is swinging slowly in favour of the Robin Hood Tax. There is a desire from voters to prevent a repeat of the latest financial crisis by making the people who caused it that bit more accountable.
Stabilising the economy by preventing bankers from abusing financial markets and expecting society to bail them out is a great thing. Europe’s politicians have realised this. I wonder how long it will take George Osborne to do the same.