Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Do the right thing - Move Your Money!

It pains me to say it, but I've been inspired by our PM, David Cameron. He talks a lot about "doing the right thing", whether it's on the NHS, RBS, Libya, Afghanistan, hard-working families or the EU veto. It's his favourite phrase. I don't necessarily think he has done "the right thing" on these issues. What is "the right thing" anyway? Is it letting the government and the banks walk all over you while they pay each other a fortune in bonuses on top of their extortionate salaries, and not making a fuss about it? Is it staring at a TV screen watching endless reality TV and soap operas while neglecting the bigger (and even smaller) issues going on in the world? Is it shouting at someone for attempting to make a positive difference - even if you think they are doomed to fail and possibly going about it the wrong way? Maybe, if your name is David Cameron, George Osborne or Boris Johnson.

In my view, "doing the right thing" is not a simple matter, and sometimes personal sacrifices have to be made. I've only got so much time, and the day is never long enough to fit in everything I want or need to do, or spend time with the people I want to spend time with. Sometimes by doing "the right thing" I end up neglecting other "right things". Sometimes by trying too hard to do "the right thing", I've ended up doing the wrong thing. 

"Doing the right thing" is subjective - certainly Mr Cameron and myself do not see eye-to-eye on his proposed NHS reforms and the economic and environmental policies of the coalition government. To me, "doing the right thing" involves standing up for yourself and your fellow humans and other animals. It involves finding the path of least harm - or most benefit - to all concerned. I occupied Bristol, Bath and London because I did not think our government was "doing the right thing". I still don't. 

RBS, Barclays, NatWest and all of those other high street banks that the public have grown to hate due to their risky investments, investments in unethical businesses and huge bonuses have, by my definition, not done "the right thing". They have created inequality, funded arms dealers and companies involved in environmental devastation - and then the people responsible have rewarded themselves for doing well. Definitely, definitely, definitely not "doing the right thing". But banks such as the Co-operative/Britannia and Triodos and many credit unions have done "the right thing" (or at least not nearly as many "wrong things"). They invest in ethical businesses and put money towards environmental initiatives and community projects. They share profits with their customers. They don't fund wars. So this blogger salutes those banks that have done "the right thing" - and is going to reward them moving their money to one of them. At least, what little money I have. It all counts.

Meanwhile, The Bath People's Assembly, with the support of Occupy Bath, have got on board with the national Move Your Money campaign and organised a petition to try and persuade Bath and North East Somerset Council to Move their Money from NatWest (owned by RBS) to an ethical bank. The petition can be found here - do "the right thing" and sign it! Or, if you're not from Bath, set up your own campaign.

The petition:

Previous post on Occupy Bath: Occupy Bath and Bristol - January 2012
Next Post on Occupy Bath: Moving Beyond this Representative Democracy

Further Reading

More info on the Move Your Money campaign can be found here:

Indymedia article on the B&NES Council Move Your Money campaign:

Now Bath article on the B&NES Council Move Your Money campaign: