Today my very shady friend and I delivered a package to UK Chancellor George Osborne at 11 Downing Street. I think we got away with it.
It’s always a complicated business when you’re trying to get a change in the law. In the UK, different teams are responsible for different things, and often several Ministers are involved in the decision. This is the first time we’ve handed over the ever-growing number of signatures from supporters in the UK who want to fight phantom firms, and George Osborne was the lucky recipient because his team could make it happen.
He wasn’t available in person to receive it, but I thought I’d write to him anyway, in case he fancies a chat about the issue at a later date.
I don’t suppose you’re aware of this, but not long ago we sat really near to each other at a Muse gig. I didn’t say hello, but I did think to myself, “oooh, what would I say to George Osborne if I actually got the chance to meet face to face?”
The opportunity is yet to arise (although I have asked for a meeting George – and you could still say yes) but I got one step closer today when I delivered a petition to your pad, No. 11 Downing Street.
I didn’t go alone, instead arriving with the dodgiest of dodgy characters I could find. He owns a phantom firm. I won’t tell you his name. He could be an arms dealer, or a money launderer, maybe even a human trafficker. He could be making millions from these quite frankly abhorrent pursuits. But we’ll never know, because the law protects him.
It hides his identity so that it’s virtually impossible for the proper authorities to find out who he is, let alone the hardworking people of the UK and the rest of the world who, I believe, have a right to know.
Why? Because armed with this information, they will be able to follow the money and hold governments to account. They will be able to root out corruption and help to ensure that resources are used to fight extreme poverty rather than lost to dodgy deals.
35,000 people have already added their name to our petition, calling for you to crack down on phantom firms. What will you do in response?
Seem fair? I think so.
The campaign is far from over. If (when!) the UK government comes out in support of information about phantom firms being made available to the public, we’ll need to make the case in Europe.
You can join the campaign right now by signing the petition that will go to European leaders as they start making decisions on phantom firms soon.
And my shady friend and I will be delivering the petition to everyone who has a say.