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Taking back control – for the wealthy?
“It seems extraordinary that a man with such a past could have been brought back into government, let alone given such a crucial and sensitive role”.
The new international trade secretary, Liam Fox explained his enthusiasm for leaving Europe: “We’ll be able to make our own laws unhindered by anyone else, and our democratic parliament will not be overruled by a European Court.”
Liam Fox: “a corporate sleeper cell implanted in government five years ago”?
George Monbiot reminds us that in 2011 Fox resigned his post as defence secretary in disgrace, after his extracurricular interests were exposed. He had set up an organisation called Atlantic Bridge which formed a partnership with a corporate lobbying group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, funded by tobacco, pharmaceutical and oil companies. It was struck off by the Charity Commission after allying with people and organisations to lobby for privatisation of public services privatised and releasing corporations from regulation.
He allowed a lobbyist to attend his official meetings, without government clearance, making misleading statements about these meetings, which were later disproved.
Fox is said to promote TTIP which would “significantly undercut the last vestiges of sovereign power, spuriously revered by Fox and his allies, by insisting that the government open up the NHS and other public institutions to American companies, who could even sue the UK in international courts if policies affect their profits”.
Owen Smith: Labour’s corporate leadership candidate
Having worked at the heart of America’s corporate world, he is acceptable to right-wing Labour and Conservatives.
As head of government affairs for Pfizer, which involved lobbying and public relations for the US drug company:
- He chose to work with Pfizer, which reached a $2.3 billion settlement with the US government in 2009 for fraudulent marketing and kickbacks paid to doctors who prescribed Lyrica and other Pfizer products and $400 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit over this case.
- He endorsed a Pfizer-backed report offering patients a choice between NHS services and private-sector healthcare providers.
- He helped the drugs company to strike an exclusive distribution agreement with UniChem, the wholesaling arm of Alliance-Boots; the OFT’s chief executive warned that such agreements “could cost the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds while reducing standards of service”.
Mr Smith then decided to move on to work as head of corporate affairs at the biotech company Amgen until 2015, a company recovering ground after its anti-anemia blockbusters, Aranesp and Epogen, had been hampered by losses due to concerns about side effects, regulatory issues and insurance trouble
There is a real danger – as Monbiot points out – that people with such histories are only concerned with promoting the millionaires’ agenda, by urging that the social contract which makes this country more or less habitable be ripped apart.
There is an honest and public-spirited alternative – “Remind you of anyone?”.
Posted in Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Economy, Foreign policy, Government, Health, Inequality, Lobbying, MPs, Politics, Public relations, Revolving door, Vested interests
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Owen Smith is on record as being pro-choice aka privatisation in the health sector. Having worked at the heart of America’s corporate world, he is acceptable to right-wing Labour and Conservatives.
However, public support for the principled Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, continues to rise: more than 55,000 people have paid £25 to vote in the Labour leadership cpntest this week, with most expected to be Mr Corbyn’s backers and tens of thousands more are expected to sign up today before the deadline.
As head of government affairs for Pfizer, which involved lobbying and public relations for the US drug company, Owen Smith endorsed a Pfizer-backed report offering patients a choice between NHS services and private-sector healthcare providers. He moved on to work as head of corporate affairs at the biotech company Amgen until 2015 before becoming Labour MP for the safe seat of Pontypridd in 2010.
During his time as a Pfizer lobbyist, Mr Smith helped the drugs company to strike an exclusive distribution agreement with UniChem, the wholesaling arm of Alliance-Boots, examined by the Office of Fair Trading, whose chief executive warned that such agreements “could cost the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds while reducing standards of service”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s choice was to work for union members, for international human rights, for good public services, for his constituents, for nuclear disarmament, for just defence: against the war on Iraq and apartheid in South Africa and Israel-Palestine.
Tags: Amgen, Apartheid, Constituents, Corporate world, international human rights, Iraq, Israel, Jeremy Corbyn, just defence, Labour Leader, Labour leadership contest, nuclear disarmament, Office of Fair Trading, Palestine, Pfizer, public services, right-wing Conservatives, right-wing Labour, South Africa, union members