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Corporate/political interests threatened by the public support for Corbyn’s caring policies

The corporate world continues to make vitriolic but insubstantial attacks on the Labour Party leader, whose approach threatens their unreasonably affluent lifestyles.

corbyn a threat graphic

Brief reference will be made to arms traders, big pharma, construction giants, energy companies owned by foreign governments, food speculators, the private ill-health industry and a range of polluting interests. One reflection on each sector will be given here – of many recorded on our database:

Arms trade

Steve Beauchampé: “A peacenik may lay down with some unsavoury characters. Better that than selling them weapons”. The media highlights Corbyn’s handshakes and meetings, but not recent British governments’ collusion in repressive activities, issuing permits to supply weapons to dictators. In the 80s, when lobbying Conservative MP John Taylor about such arms exports, he said to the writer, word for word: “If we don’t do it, someone else will”. Meaning if we don’t help other countries to attack their citizens, others will. How low can we sink!

Big pharma

Theresa drew attention to an article highlighting the fact that the Specialised Healthcare Alliance (SHCA), a lobbying company working for some of the world’s biggest drugs and medical equipment firms, had written the draft report for NHS England, a government quango. At the time, the latest attempt at mass-medication – this time with statins – was in the news. The world’s largest manufacturer of low-cost vaccines said that British taxpayers are paying for excessive profits earned by big Western drugs companies.

Construction

Most construction entries relate to the PFI debacle, but in 2009 it was reported that more than 100 construction companies – including Balfour Beatty, Kier Group and Carillion – had been involved in a price-fixing conspiracy and had to compensate local authority victims who had been excluded from billions of pounds of public works contracts. The Office of Fair Trading imposed £130m of fines on 103 companies. Price-fixing that had left the public and councils to “pick up the tab”.

Utilities

The Office of Fair Trading was closed before it could update its little publicised 2010 report which recorded that 40% of infrastructure assets in the energy, water, transport, and communication sectors are already owned by foreign investors. In Utility Week News, barrister Roger Barnard, former head of regulatory law at EDF Energy, wondered whether any government is able to safeguard the nation’s energy security interests against the potential for political intervention under a commercial guise. He added: “Despite what the regulators say, ownership matters”.

Food

A Lancashire farmer believes that supermarkets – powerful lobbyists and valued party funders – are driving out production of staple British food and compromising food security. She sees big business making fortunes from feeding the wealthy in distant foreign countries where the poor and the environment are exploited, also putting at risk the livelihoods of hard working British farmers and their families. Large businesses are gradually asset-stripping everything of value from our communities to make profits which are then invested abroad in places like China and Thailand. She ends, “They do this simply because they have the power to do so”.

Pollution

Government does not act on this, appearing to prioritise the interests of the corporate world. The influential transport lobby prevents or delays action to address air  pollutants such as ground-level ozone and particulates emitted by cars, lorries and rail engines which contribute directly to global warming, linked to climate change. Last November a report found that waste incineration facilities and cement plants across Europe, had seriously breached emission limits. Intensive agriculture’s lavish use of insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers has also released harmful chemicals into the air, in some cases causing water pollution. Manufacturing industries and petroleum refineries produce carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds and chemicals which pollute the air. Children in areas exposed to air pollutants commonly suffer from pneumonia and asthma. The burden of particulate air pollution in the UK in 2008 was estimated to cause nearly 29,000 deaths. DEFRA’s report for 2013, however, does not refer to health impacts, though admitting serious levels of air pollution.

Some features of the corporate-political nexus summarised: victimised whistleblowers, media collusion, rewards for failure and the revolving door

  • Rewards for failure cover individual cases, most recently Lin Homer, and corporate instances. Capita, according to a leaked report by research company Gartner was two years behind schedule with its MoD online recruitment computer system – yet the government contracted to pay the company £1bn over 10 years to hire 9,000 soldiers a year for the army.
  • The 74th instance of the revolving door related to Andrew Lansley’s move from his position as government health minister to the private health sector. An investigation by the Mail found that one in three civil servants who took up lucrative private sector jobs was working in the Ministry of Defence. Paul Gosling gives a detailed list of those passing from government to the accountancy industry and vice versa.

As Steve Beauchampé reports (link to follow), there is a coterie of arch-Blairite, anti-Corbyn Labour MPs who never accepted the decisive democratic mandate Corbyn secured last autumn:

JC large rally

“Mann’s very public intervention can be interpreted as a calculated move to undermine the party’s electoral chances this Thursday . . .

“Realising that they have at best 4-5 months to try to oust him before reforms anticipated at this September’s party conference transfer crucial powers from the party hierarchy into the hands of members, the forthcoming elections will be used by Corbyn’s adversaries as an excuse to try and replace him”.

Will increasingly media-sceptical people – who support Corbyn because they seek the common good – hold firm?

 

 

Farmgate price: food producers unite to brief politicians before the May election

The next election to the Northern Ireland Assembly will be held on 5th May 2016 and Northern Ireland Farm Groups – Farmers For Action and Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers – have already begun to lobby all the political parties and Independents in the wake of the report by economist Paul Gosling which makes the case for legislation on farm gate prices by Stormont.

The Gosling Report clearly states the prosperity, jobs and welfare savings that legislation on farmgate prices would create for Northern Ireland.

ffa niapa stormont

John McCallister MLA and farmer (below left), who met a delegation from FFA and NIAPA at Stormont (above) earlier this week. Poor returns at the farm gate is a subject very close to Mr McCallister’s heart.

John McCallister MLAHe was intrigued to see the mechanics of the legislation on farm gate prices and how it would work. A detailed discussion was had by all with Mr McCallister insisting that we keep him posted at every turn. He left to fully digest everything he had received and will consider its place in his manifesto.

Michael Clark, Chairman of NIAPA comments: “The legislation proposal, if enacted after the election, would return Northern Ireland’s family farmers a minimum of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked for their produce across the staples providing a financial safety net with prosperity for all across Northern Ireland as a net result”.

Contact FFA’s William Taylor

56 Cashel Road, Macosquin, Coleraine, BT51 4NU

Tel. 028 703 43419 / 07909744624 Email taylor.w@btconnect.com

 

Banks’ failure, assisted by New Labour and Conservative thinking

Useful tweets: Paul Gosling: http://www.paulgosling.net/

cameron bank regulation

https://twitter.com/paulgosling1

Teaching the gentle arts of failed speculation and rate rigging in schools: completing the corporate takeover of Britain?

Rage distracted me from my gentle Sunday plans – mixed with surprise that our government could display even more corporate-friendly arrogance than I thought possible. Are there no lengths to which they will go? No depths to which they will sink?

Yesterday an article by Elaine Moore, deputy editor of FT Money, was widely retweeted.

captive state cover2It opens by reporting a plan by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People to invite high street banks – even those responsible for the consumer ‘mis-selling’ scandal of the past decade – into British schools to help to teach financial education.

Banks, including Lloyds, RBS and Barclays, would be considered for a list of financial service firms permitted to use branded material when making classroom presentations in English primary and secondary schools from September 2014.

And the Department for Education states that there are no rules to prohibit corporate involvement in teaching and the display of brand names in material used in lessons.

Financial education – and lessons in the art of form-filling until plain English triumphs – is undoubtedly needed in schools to equip pupils to cope with ‘the system’, but choose decent, honest, intelligent and well-informed people to give this instruction.

My candidate would be financial journalist Paul Gosling; name yours . . .