I wandered into a beautiful Shoreditch boutique called Labour and Wait the other day, and walked out with brown paper bags full of plain enamelled pie dishes and school canteen tumblers. Unpacking my purchases at home, I wondered why, given the asceticism of my purchases, I still felt my usual pang of shopper's guilt. If anything, it felt even worse.
Britain is open for business, the Government is keen to say, and there are signs over the past few weeks that global firms are indeed looking seriously at entering the door. Yes, the UK offers a business-friendly tax culture. Yes, the workforce is trained and motivated in many areas. But there are complications that could trip up the unwary.
In his pre-G8 speech the Prime Minister once again raised "the golden thread" theory which posits a link between open economies and open societies. Eradicating conflict and corruption, establishing the rule of law, free speech and the presence of property rights and strong institutions are central to this.
What propels Romania into the category of 'World's First Dystopia' is the massive cyanide mining project that could turn Transylvania, one of the most beautiful and pristine parts of Europe, into a dystopic wasteland. It is also a case study in how corporate PR and marketing can convince a population that the destruction of their ecosystem is in their own interest.
We, and our politicians, love to moralise about the rank unfairness of multinational corporations paying so little tax. And it's quite understandable we should. As we suffer austerity measures on one side and higher food and energy bills on the other, why should multinational corporations get off so lightly? Well, they shouldn't.
Those of us who campaign for the powerful to pay their taxes are delighted with the cross-party MPs' report because it sets out the shocking facts on tax and poverty with admirable clarity. It also calls on the Government to stop making excuses and get on with helping poor countries collect the taxes they're owed.