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Jeremy Corbyn: The PM’s most influential adviser on the political economy

On 14th July a Moseley reader emailed to say “Theresa May’s speech yesterday sounded more left wing than your mate JC!”

theresa May

My reply was a one year snapshot of her actions in office which belied this humanitarian stance, published earlier on this site:

  • In 2010 she suspended the registration scheme for carers of children and vulnerable people.
  • On 4 August 2010 it was reported that May was scrapping the former Labour Government’s proposed “go orders” scheme to protect women from domestic violence by banning abusers from the victim’s home.
  • This was followed on 6 August 2010 by the closure of the previous Government’s “ContactPoint” database of 11 million under-18-year olds designed to protect children in the wake of the Victoria Climbiéchild abuse scandal.

“Rewarding hard-working people with higher wages”.

This is another of Ms May’s Corbyn-like soundbites made shortly after Corbyn’s description of what he saw as the difference between the  Conservative and Labour offerings, in the form of a question:

bbc kuenssberg 1 

“Do you want to be bargain-basement Britain on the edge of Europe, cutting corporate taxation, having very low wages, having grotesque inequalities of wealth? Or do you want to be a high-wage, high-investment economy that actually does provide decent chances and opportunities for all?”

We read that Theresa May has launched a cabinet committee on the economy and industrial strategy, which she is to chair; it will bring together the heads of more than ten departments and focus on “rewarding hard-working people with higher wages”.

Is Corbyn the most powerful, though least acknowledged of Theresa May’s advisers on the political economy?

If only she would heed him on nuclear and foreign policy issues.

 

 

 

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Keep Trident as a job creation scheme?

“Just get the catchphrases correct and the masses will nod along”; today –

A reader emails: “Today’s Times has several vituperative comments on Jeremy Corbyn – questioning his patriotism, etc., including an editorial on Trident after the Scottish Labour Party vote”.

nuclear buttonAs most will have heard, at a conference in Perth, Scottish Labour Party members and union delegates both voted by 70% to 30% to abandon plans to maintain a “massively expensive” and “militarily useless” submarine-launched ballistic Trident nuclear missile system.

The FT’s Mure Dickie reports (so much more objectively than the paper’s Corbyn-bashing Jim Pickard) that delegate Stephen Low said scrapping nuclear weapons would free money to be spent in more economically productive ways.

FT blog: the problem with UK politics, however, is not that people are too cynical but that they are too gullible

Though union delegates overall voted substantially to abandon Trident, Gary Smith of union GMB Scotland, played the fear card, saying that the idea that Trident jobs could be replaced is “utterly disingenuous” and that scrapping Trident renewal would threaten members far beyond Scotland’s Faslane and Coulport submarine and nuclear missile bases. Elsewhere an estimate of up to 13,000 jobs was given.

Politicians and other vested interests realise that – as FT lawyer/analyst David Allen Green says: “Our politics is beset and bedevilled by the phenomenon of mass nodding along. Just get the catchphrases correct, and you will get all the audience applause you need. The trick is saying the right things at the right time”.

*

Twice as many – up to 25,000 worthwhile, constructive jobs in Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire are at risk as a result of in-plant losses at Tata Steel, it has been claimed – but apart from workers, unions and the current Labour Party, the fear of this far larger loss is not presented to the public as cause for concern by mainstream politicians and supportive media.

After reading my correspondent’s final words: “I suppose several people may well have lost their jobs after Hitler-Germany no longer built the gas-ovens”, two questions occurred to me:

Why have governments preferred to support and promote damaging nuclear and armaments industries?

And why not work to elect a government which will break the mould . . .?

See: Musing on the Trident issue – arms conversion: the transfer of resources from military to civil use.

Lucrative corporate-political-scientific alliance revealed, working in the nutrition/malnutrition sector

hnrc nutrition header

A British Medical Journal investigation has published findings that leading public health scientists working for the government-funded Human Nutrition Research (HNR) unit, who advise the government on nutrition, have received millions of pounds in research funding from food and drinks companies.

A total of almost £250,000 a year for the past decade has been given by companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Mars, and Nestlé.

So what’s new? Many scientists who advise the government have close links with interested nuclear, biotech, waste disposal, armaments and pharmaceutical companies.

revolving door peopleAnother case of the revolving door: Susan Jebb, a former HNR scientist is now chair of the food network for the government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, lead or joint lead investigator on industry-funded research projects worth £1.37m between 2004 and 2015.

Last year it was reported that five of the eight members of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), which advises Public Health England and other government agencies and departments on nutrition and related health issues SACN’s carbohydrates working group had advised or consulted for the food and drinks industry, including Coca-Cola and Mars.


Mars, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Coca-Cola declined to comment.

Media sources:

The Scotsman,

The Telegraph

The FT

Relevant site links:

http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h231

http://www.ncl.ac.uk/hnrc/people/profile/john.mathers

Nuclear ‘incidents’

British government denies information about nuclear ‘incidents’ to placate American owners

An earlier PCU post reported:

On January 6th Her Majesty’s Government was asked about five incidents referred to in the Director of Civil Nuclear Security’s report The State of Security in the civil nuclear industry and the effectiveness of security regulation April 2008 to March 2009 that “warranted further investigation and subsequent follow up action”. The Minister of State refused to give it.

Despite an undertaking on the Sellafield website that ”Information will only be withheld when necessary and in line with legislation, taking into account public interest and protecting legitimate confidential information, such as personal and commercially sensitive information” the minister had refused to answer questions in Parliament about incidents which were clearly of interest to the public.

Two days earlier Nuclear Management Partners, a consortium of US, French and British companies was reported to have told ministers that it would walk away from the deal unless it was fully indemnified against the costs of cleaning up an accident at what is one of the world’s most hazardous nuclear sites.

VIP blogger http://gaianeconomics.blogspot.com/ has reminded PCU of an exemption rushed through in 2008:

Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, is to exempt from the Freedom of Information Act the new US-led private consortia taking over the running of Britain’s biggest nuclear facility at Sellafield next Monday.

“The move comes on top of a decision by Malcolm Wicks, the former energy minister, to make the taxpayer liable for any accidents at Sellafield, which is in Cumbria, exempting the firm from the national requirement to pay the first £140m of any bill for leaks or radioactive contamination . . .

“The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority confirmed yesterday that Sellafield Ltd – as the new organisation will be known – would be exempt from the FOI laws because it is a private company.

Surely private companies should be fully accountable for their actions?