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Chamber of Shame’s revolving door: the interests of the already rich are served and media further compromised

Clearly at the service of the multinationals, especially arms manufacturers and United States/Israel/Gulf states – and not those whom they were elected to serve – the Conservative cabinet goes full steam ahead to consolidate these links:

From Abu Dhabi Airports to the UK Ministry of Defence

tony douglasAs the electorate sees cuts to basic services, the coalition government has decided to appoint Tony Douglas, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports, with most useful Middle East contacts, as the new chief executive of Defence Equipment and Support (DE & S) on Tuesday. The FT reports: “The new chief of Britain’s armaments programme is to be rewarded with a £285,000 salary and £250,000 performance-related annual bonus, making him the highest earner in Whitehall and the latest in a new line of senior business figures lured into the public sector with the promise of private sector levels of pay”.

Now to the BBC Trust: Sir Roger Carr, arms manufacturer, representing your average license fee payer?

sir roger carrInvestigative journalist Felicity Arbuthnot adds another breathtaking example: Roger Carr, the chairman of Europe’s biggest arms company, BAE Systems and Visiting Fellow of Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, has just been appointed as Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust, ludicrously, “to represent license fee payers views”. The BBC is established under a Royal Charter and – under an agreement with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – is to serve the public, inform, educate and entertain.

BBC impartiality further compromised?

BBCarms88The BBC Trust is its governing body, mandated to ensure that the BBC delivers that mission – and ‘speak peace’ according to the charter coat of arms.

But truth?

On a range of issues, grossly skewed information has led to floods of public protest and the official 2004 Hutton Inquiry investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly, a biological warfare expert and former UN weapons inspector in Iraq challenged the BBC’s journalistic standards and its impartiality.

CAAT protests that BAE Systems has armed dictatorships and human rights abusers around the world, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel. It has presented a petition asking the BBC to cut its ties with Carr and the arms trade.

The Guardian’s gross omission

Disturbingly, the Guardian, still read by many thoughtful people, does not mention this affiliation, listing only Carr’s former appointments.

99%-3If any of the 99% vote for Conservatives in May, they will deserve all the ill-treatment they get – but would Labour, with previous New Labour incumbents, do much better in office?

Professor Sikka calls for policies placing the interests of the 99% at the heart of the debate

prem sikka 4Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting, Business School, University of Essex surveys the World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where the world’s rich and powerful gather to discuss the world’s economic and social problems.

 

davosElite retreat. World Economic Forum, CC BY-SA

Professor Sikka points out that the ‘grand narrative’ of the previous Davos summits have carved out policies for the rich to advance their own interests and done little to check inequalities. Past failures are evident from Oxfam’s latest report which states that very soon 1% of the world’s adult population will own more than the rest.

In the UK, the richest 1,000 people have doubled their wealth over the past five years to £519 billion. At the same time, millions of people in Britain have seen a real decrease in their income.

Political leaders will talk about tackling public debt, a cue for more austerity, reduction in public expenditure and further privatisation of state-owned enterprises, often at knock-down prices resulting in huge wealth transfers.

Economic policies are increasingly formed to appease financial markets where vast amounts are gambled every day though they produce little tangible economic activity.

In this narrative there is no space for workers, trade unions, industrial democracy, or people who want to live fulfilling lives. Markets are supposed to serve society but people are increasingly forced to dance to their short-term financial tunes.

The top 500 transnational corporations control 70% of the worldwide trade, 80% of the foreign investments, one-third of all manufacturing exports, 75% of all commodities trade and 80% of the trade in management and technical services. Breaking up these global behemoths and making them accountable to the public is not on the Davos agenda; corporations are frequently able to hold governments to ransom: “give us what we want or we are off” has become a familiar call from companies to discipline governments.

99%-3

International forums are increasingly essential to solve global problems, but they can’t be addressed by pursuing the interests of the 1%. The neoliberal experiment for the last 35 years has failed to deliver full employment, economic stability or equitable distribution of wealth. A radical shift is needed to develop policies that place the interests of the 99% at the heart of the debate.

Read his article in full here: https://theconversation.com/davos-delegates-dont-care-about-inequality-or-your-debt-36511