Harry Potter, Walking Dead celebrities team up to promote Robin Hood tax

The film’s director is David Yates, who made the last four Harry Potter movies. The actors involved include: Andrew Lincoln (star zombie-fighter on the hit AMC TV show The Walking Dead), Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Love, Actually), Javier Cámara (star of Pedro Almodóvar films Talk to Her and Bad Education), Clémence Poésy (Harry Potter), and Heike Makatsch (Love, Actually).

London (18 Feb. 2014) - Forget flesh-eating zombies and Lord Voldemort, celebrities from Harry Potter movies and the Walking Dead TV show are now going up against some real power. In a short film released February 18, some of Europe’s biggest film stars promote a financial transaction tax (FTT), which Wall Street lobbyists and their European counterparts fiercely oppose.

New short film gives profile to Robin Hood Tax

The three-minute film’s director is David Yates, who made the last four Harry Potter movies. The actors involved include: Andrew Lincoln (star zombie-fighter on the hit AMC TV show The Walking Dead), Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Love, Actually), Javier Cámara (star of Pedro Almodóvar films Talk to Her and Bad Education), Clémence Poésy (Harry Potter), and Heike Makatsch (Love, Actually).

Director David Yates said, "I agreed to direct the film because the Robin Hood Tax is a simple yet brilliant idea. We need to learn the lessons of the financial crisis and ensure that banks and hedge funds work in the interests of society not the other way around."

Andrew Lincoln, star of TV’s the Walking Dead, said, "After six years of shaky recovery and decreasing living standards, it is time for our leaders to be ambitious and act in the interest of the people and the planet.

"It is rare that a tax could garner such incredible support from people across Europe, but the Robin Hood Tax is an obviously fair way to ensure that those responsible for the economic crisis pay to clear up the mess it caused.”

Final phase of European negotiations

The video is timed to influence the final phase of negotiations over a regional financial transaction tax in Europe. In January 2013, 11 European Union Member states formed a “coalition of the willing” to coordinate such a tax. These countries include: Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia. The European Union President has identified May 6, 2014 as the expected date for a final agreement.

The starting point for negotiations is a European Commission proposal for a tax of 0.1 per cent on stock and bond trades and 0.01 per cent on derivatives that would generate an estimated $31 billion euros ($US 42 billion) per year.

Set in the future

The celebrity video is set 10 years in the future, with Lincoln anchoring a newscast looking back at the impact of the tax. Bankers from Spain, Germany, and France boast about how the tax has generated revenues to help fund public services in their countries and combat poverty and climate change – shaming a British banker (Nighy) over his country’s failure to implement the tax.

The international aid agency Oxfam helped produce the film and is hosting a “million strong” petition that would make the tax the most popular in history. For four years, Oxfam and a wide range of labour, environmental, public health, and other civil society groups around the world have worked to advance proposals for the financial transaction tax.

Despite intense financial industry opposition, leaders of France and Germany are expected to reiterate their support at a summit in Paris on February 19. A successful conclusion to the European negotiations will help boost momentum in the United States. While the Obama administration is not yet supportive, there are several congressional proposals that include some form of financial transaction tax.

Where is Canada?

Unfortunately, the Harper government remains hostile to a financial transactions tax.  However, Canadian supporters continue to press for it.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), thinks that "as more countries see the need and value of an FTT they will similarly move to implement such a measure. We believe that it is time that Canada join with its European counterparts (which include a number of the world's most advanced economies) in implementing an FTT."

Clancy points out that "a 13 country global poll, conducted by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), found support for an FTT at 63 per cent. This includes 74 per cent in Canada!"

Clancy worries that "Canada, which used to be a leader in progressive global initiatives, is becoming isolated in the world community. Our reputation as supporting efforts to end global poverty, enhance the quality of life for the world's people, and address climate change is being tarnished by our actions on the world stage."

More information:

Robin Hood Tax Petition

National Union on Robin Hood Tax

Canadians for the Robin Hood Tax on Facebook

Canadians for the Robin Hood Tax

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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