I think I have a duty to say that this is complete and utter nonsense. As a co-founder of the TJN, as one of the two people who led it for a decade, who co-created with John Christensen all the policies it still pursues, and who has negotiated on its behalf many times in international arenas, I am deeply embarrassed to see its current chief executive issuing a comment that is so utterly ill informed, reveals so little understanding of political economy, and is simply wrong.
There might even be a lesson here:
My simple suggestion is that if Alex Cobham stopped the abuse of the OECD and others, which has become his stock in trade, and instead invested time and effort in talking to the OECD, negotiating formally and informally, learning the constraints, understanding the mechanisms and working out the arguments that might win rather than delivering the tantrums that can never work, then he might have influenced this process rather than watched it from the sidelines.
Who runs an organisation matters. Which is why CEOs do get well paid. Why people spend rather a long time doing that succession planning. Rather than just grabbing the nearest available unemployed NGO researcher.
TJN has undertaken no innovation since then. I should, however, note that this is unsurprising. Neither Cobham, or anyone else in the tight team he keeps around him, has any actual knowledge of tax, in which none of them have ever worked. Nor do they know anything about political economy. Or tax havens as far as I can tell. Or anything else that is much relevant to tax justice come to that. Their skills are only in NGO management
Well, you know, perhaps you shouldn’t have hired him then?
That paper about copper, Glencore and Zambia being perhaps a clue that he wasn’t very good?
The unfortunate fact is that TJN, and regrettably too many others in tax justice, simply does not understand tax.
That’s rich of course…..