Wednesday, April 30, 2008
We reported that plans of the possible stopping of production at the former Motorola semiconductor plant at in East Kilbride under the codename Operation Claymore. Various assurances were made about demanding answers etc, however, it seems everyone is still in the dark
in an article named, Are we next?, ask Freescale workers. EKMail, Wednesday the 30th April reports, Freescale bosses have moved to deny rumours they have brought in temporary HR staff to oversee mass redundancies at the troubled plant. In a week when another major employer JVC announced it was to shut up shop at the end of July after months of speculation, these rumours point to a new low in the morale of the 900 workers at the Kelvin industrial estate factory.
The former Motorola semiconductor plant at in East Kilbride was taken over by the new Texan owners, Freescale, last year, it was reported that they were putting the giant plant up for sale.
The plant was opened up in 1969, it is thought that Freescale will only keep their research and development arm which would save about 300 jobs at most. However, 900 workers are set to lose employment.
At that time Local MP Adam Ingram says he has been told nothing officially by Freescale and would be demanding answers tomorrow. It seems he never got any answers because workers say they have been growing increasingly frustrated with bosses who they accuse of keeping them in the dark over the plant’s future. A worker at the plant reports
“The latest rumour is that they have started some HR people on six month contracts. It’s only rumoured, but we reckon that it’s to make up the redundancy packages. But nobody upstairs is saying anything. Not a word.”The worker believes there are worrying parallels to be drawn between the fate of JVC in College Milton and the Kelvin technology manufacturer.He said: “The feeling here is that the closing of JVC was inevitable. “The writing has been on the wall for some time there, as it has been here for a while. There are certain similarities between JVC and Freescale. They weren’t told what was happening there either and it is the same here. It just seems to be the way things are now.“It’s the old mushroom syndrome – keep them in the dark and feed them a load of crap.”
The profit motive will always prevail in a capitalist society, lets go for a society that gets rid of the profit motive, Socialism.
Those living in areas of deprivation are still at higher risk of dying from coronary heart disease . GPs in deprived areas have 30% more coronary heart disease patients and are likely to have less time for all of them.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
A TU official may well be "stunned", but socialists are not. That is how capitalism operates. Inside capitalism you must.on pain of extinction, cut your costs to survive. Three hundred workers on the dole? Who cares, this is capitalism. RD
The peer is said to have more or less single-handedly bankrolled the Scottish Conservatives and has loaned or donated Tory HQ around £6m. He is also one of the key benefactors to Boris Johnson's bid for the London mayoralty, having handed over £25,000 to the Henley MP's campaign to oust Ken Livingstone.
The peer has a love of fast boats, fast cars and helicopters. As well as his £3m home in Monte Carlo, he has a £4m vineyard on the French Riviera, a £10m estate near Capetown, a £2m home in London's Eaton Square, a mansion in Scotland and a £14m home in Hampshire.
Same paper , different article , the more frequently men use prostitutes, the more likely they are to be sexually aggressive towards other women, according to new research.
Many of the men believed that the money paid cancels out the harm caused. Jan Macleod, development officer with the Women's Support Project, said:
"[of these men] Somehow they kid themselves that these women are there out of choice and that they are earning lots of money and that it means they are doing nothing wrong."
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Jim Ratcliffe, 55, owner of the strike-torn Grangemouth refinery , reported to be 25th in this years Times Rich List with wealth of £2.3 billion will have no doubt secured the future of his future generations and progeny .
Ratcliffe has grown Ineos rapidly by making ever-bigger acquisitions funded mostly with debt, says Breakingviews.com. “How come, one might ask? Surely even in today’s markets where liquidity is sloshing around, one needs to fund at least 20% of a deal with equity?” Ratcliffe gets round that requirement by using Ineos as the equity – focusing single-mindedly on growing cash flow to increase the company’s debt capacity. “That way, Ineos is ready to be used as collateral for the next deal”, ensuring that “every few years, he can triple or quadruple in size”.
Nor is Ratcliffe averse to blackmailing .
Having acquired ICI’s Runcorn chlorine plant in 2000, “after one of the longest due diligence exercises in recent history”, Ineos decided it had been “sold a pup” and began petitioning the taxpayer to bail it out. Ratcliffe went for broke, asking the Government for £300m: the alternative, he said, was the closure of the plant with the loss of some 133,000 associated jobs.
The press consensus was that “Ratcliffe of Runcorn should be sent packing”, but he nevertheless still managed to extract £50 million.
The top 1,000 richest people in the country now have more than £400 billion between them, it estimates - up almost £53 billion in the last year. A fortune of £80m is needed to be one of Britain's richest 1,000 people - up from £70m in 2007.
Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list since it was first published in 1989, said: "Until now, the 11 years of Labour government have proved a boon for the super-rich, rarely seen before in modern British history..."
“The 11 years of Labour have been absolutely fantastic for the super-rich,” said Philip Beresford, “Having a friendly Labour government has almost been better than having a Tory one..."
RICH LIST TOP 10
Lakshmi Mittal, steel (£27.7bn)
Roman Abramovich, oil and industry (£11.7bn)
The Duke of Westminster, property (£7bn)
Sri and Gopi Hinduja, Industry and finance (£6.2bn)
Alisher Usmanov, Steel and mines (£5.7bn)
Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, pharmaceuticals (£5.6bn)
Hans Rausing and family, packaging (£5.4bn)
John Fredriksen, shipping (£4.6bn)
Sir Philip and Lady Green, retailing (£4.3bn)
David and Simon Reuben, property (£4.3bn
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
A clear link between wealth and health has been highlighted in a study of middle-aged Americans. Being better-off was associated with a significantly lower risk of stroke between the ages of 50 and 64. Other findings linked a lack of wealth with higher blood pressure, excessive weight, diabetes and heart disease.
Scientists analysed data from 19,445 men and women involved in in the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study which surveys people aged 50 and over every two years. Over an average period of eight-and-a-half years, a total of 1542 of the participants suffered a stroke.
The researchers divided the participants' wealth levels into six categories. They found that the 10% at the bottom of the wealth ladder had three times more stroke risk between the ages of 50 and 64 than those at the top, excluding the "ultra-rich".
Dr Mauricio Avendando, from the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, who co-led the research, said:
"Lack of material resources themselves, and particularly wealth, appear to strongly influence people's chances to have a first stroke."
There should be a health warning placed upon every worker - wage slavery can lead to premature death .
Thursday, April 24, 2008
"Nearly 100,000 patients with Alzheimer's a year will be refused drugs that could delay the onset of the disease, the Court of Appeal has heard. ...NICE guidance in 2001 recommended the drugs - which can make it easier to carry out everyday tasks - should be used as standard. But advice published in November 2006, stated that the drugs should only be prescribed to people with moderate-stage disease. NICE said the drugs, which cost about £2.50 a day, did not make enough of a difference to recommend them for all patients and were not good value for money." (BBC News, 15 April)
Needless to say the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) do not instruct the capitalist class not to waste £2.50 a day on their parents or grandparents. Only workers are told it is not "good value for money". RD
Madonna and Guy's homes
* A £7m family townhouse in Marylebone
* A £6m, 10-bedroom property next door
* Two mews cottages close to the Marylebone house, one bought for £900,000
* Two properties used by the Kabbalah religious sect: a £3.6m building in the West End used as its headquarters and a £1.6m five-storey townhouse in Regent's Park
* A 1,200-acre estate in Wiltshire, bought for £9m
* An £8m house in Beverly Hills
* An apartment in New York
Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary, said many of his members were forced to choose between food and heating last winter.
Campaigners, union leaders and opposition MPs dismissed as inadequate a package of measures announced to cut the number of people forced to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel bills.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
White loaf at Sainsbury's and Tesco: 65p - up 20%
Butter: 94p - up 62%
English mild cheddar: £1.52 - up 26%
Garden peas at Tesco: £1.79 - up 63%
Basmati white rice: £1.45 - up 61%
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Members of the Scottish Police Federation , representing ranks up to chief constable, will debate the issue at their annual conference.
Police are prohibited by law from striking. The nearest they came to industrial action was a demonstration last year when 22,000 off-duty officers south of the Border protested over the pay deal they had been given. Many officers believe not being able to strike means they enter pay negotiations at a disadvantage and there is an increasing feeling within the federation that pay levels have been slipping.
The answer is yes, but only after significant change in land use and a rather drastic adjustment of the national diet.
Professor Peter Gregory, CEO of the Scottish Crop Research Institute says: "Technically, this is not a crisis for Scotland. There is enough arable land to provide for every person in Scotland. Our cereal yields are around twice the global average."
It would be possible to start making bread for five million people living in Scotland if we switched rape fields for wheat fields.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Equitable Life has enlarged the pay package of its chief executive, Charles Thomson. Thomson's total rewards rose by 22% to top £1million. Thomson's package included salary of £453,973, a salary-related bonus of £199,305, and a discretionary bonus of half his salary - the maximum permitted under an "annual retention bonus scheme for senior staff"
Thomson has been reprimanded by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries for misconduct, after being found guilty of bringing the profession into disrepute over the revelation during the court action that he had faked his job reference for Equitable in 2001. He was guilty of "failure to comply with the standards of behaviour and integrity which the public and the profession might reasonably expect of a member".
Thomson had admitted in court in April 2005 that he himself was the author of the glowing reference to his "exceptional record of success" at Scottish Widows, where he was the deputy chief executive from 1995 to 2000.The reference concluded: "We will miss his intellect, integrity, and energy and feel sure he will bring great value to other organisations at the highest levels."
Nothing like a bit of self-praise and now being richly awarded above inflation remuneration .
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Lots of food, lots of hunger: it’s a market thing.
Last week the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development was published...Its main findings were simple enough, however. There is enough food for everyone. It is cheaper and, broadly, more nutritious than it has been in decades, but 800 million go hungry...
...there are no food shortages. Instead, according to one of those complicated theories they teach at Oxford and the like, there are money shortages. Or rather - and this is apparently so complicated it never gets discussed - some people are very short of money and some are anything but...
...The relationships between land, food security, politics and bread at £1.13 a loaf are not abstract. The laws of economics should not be mistaken for acts of God...
As Bell writes , the law of economics is not abstract but neither is it complicated . Simply put , in capitalism , if you cannot pay , you cannot have , no matter your dire need . The Socialist Party understand this , as too does the working class , even if they so far have not understood or sought the solution - socialism - and it is not more abstract analysis from philosophers and politicians that is required , instead the point now is to change the way the world is organised for the benefit of the few against the interests of the many to a system where we all enjoy the fruits of our labour . That takes political action and a political movement to organise around and that requires members and commitment.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
(New Statesman, 10 April) RD
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
" I can hardly condemn UKIP as a bunch of boss-eyed, foam-flected euro hysterics, when I have been sometimes not far short of boss-eyed, foam-flected hysteria myself (2004)."I can't remember what my line on drugs is. What's my line on drugs? (2005) "What ever James Oliver says, McDonald's are incredibly nutritious and, as far as I can tell, crammed full of vital nutrients and rigid with goodness. (2005) The awful truth is that people do take me seriously ...you must consider the possibility that underneath it all there may really lurk a genuine buffoon." (2007) (Observer Magazine, 13 April). RD
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
"The New Economics Foundation has shown that global growth has not aided the poor. In the 1980s, for every $100 of world growth, the poorest 20 per cent received $2.20; by 2001, they received only 60 cents. Clearly neo-liberal growth disproportionately benefits the rich and further impoverishes the poor. Real wage increases in the top 13 countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have been below the rate of inflation since about 1970 – a situation compounded in Britain as the measure of inflation massively underestimates the real cost of living. Thus wage earners – rather than asset owners – have faced a 35-year downward pressure on their standard of living." (Independent, 23 March) RD
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
We are fairly certain that the reverend gentleman is complaining about the expense of keeping old workers healthy and not the Royal Family whom he serves and who have a fairly good record of longevity. RD
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
In 1973, 86% of people said they were satisfied with their standard of living, while in 2006 85% were satisfied. And one in six UK adults reported that they suffered from a variety of mental health problems in the latest survey, of which the largest category was "mild anxiety and depression."
The amount of goods and services purchased by UK households has risen by two and half times in thirty years.
But that increase in spending was not evenly distributed among the whole population, with the income of those in the top 10% of the income distribution going up much faster than that of households of the bottom 10%. In 1979, the real disposable income of the top 10% was three times greater than the real income of those in the bottom 10%, but by 2006 that had grown to four times greater.
And social mobility also appears to have declined, according to studies cited in the report. Children born in 1958 to poor parents coming to adulthood in the 1970s, were more likely to have moved to a higher part of the income distribution than those born in 1970, who came of age in the new millennium.
And child poverty has remained stubbornly high, with 22% of children living in relative poverty in 2005/6, compared to 27% in 1990/91.
Monday, April 07, 2008
That's the issue in this election, says THE SOCIALIST PARTY candidate in Lambeth and Southwark Danny Lambert.
On 1 May, you will have your occasional ration of democracy with the opportunity to vote for the Mayor of London and the Greater London Assembly.
It's all very well having a vote but are you normally given any real choice? Let's face it, if it wasn't mentioned on the front of the election leaflet, could you tell which party was which?
It's tempting – in the absence of any real alternative – to get drawn into the phoney war that is political debate today. Whether Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, Greens or the others, they all spout empty promises. And it all amounts to the same thing – vote, vote for us and we’ll do this, this or this for you. As if they could.
None of them offer any alternative to the present way of running society. That’s why they always fail to deliver. The profit system requires them to put profits before people, to put saving money above meeting people’s needs.
Do you really think who wins an election makes any difference to how you live?
And do politicians actually have much real power anyway?
Can they control world market and financial forces or do they have to adjust and trim their policies to fit in with these?
Do any of the political parties address any of the real issues:
Why can money always been found to fight a war while hospitals, schools and local services are always strapped for cash?
Why do some people get stressed working long hours while others get stressed from the boredom of unemployment?
Why are there homeless people in the streets and empty houses with "for sale" signs?
Why is there still child poverty even in Britain?
Why is there no world agreement to limit carbon emissions when scientists say this must be done to avert the threat of global warming?
Why is there world hunger in a world that can grow enough for all?
So what's the alternative?
This time, in this constituency, you have a real choice. We in THE SOCIALIST PARTY are standing to put forward an alternative to capitalism and the madness of the market – a society of common ownership and democratic control. We call it socialism.
But real socialism. Not the elite-run dictatorships that collapsed some years ago in Russia and East Europe. And not the various schemes for state control put forward by the old Labour Party. For us socialism means something better than that. We're talking about:
A world community without any frontiers where the Earth’s resources would be the common heritage of all.
Wealth being produced to meet people's needs and not for sale on a market or for profit
Everyone having access to what they require to satisfy their needs, without the rationing system that is money.
A society where people freely contribute their skills and experience to produce what is needed, without the compulsion of a wage or salary.
If you agree If you don't like present-day society ... if you are fed up with the way you are forced to live ... if you think the root cause of most social problems is the profit system, then your ideas echo closely with ours.
We are not promising to deliver socialism to you. We are not putting ourselves forward as leaders. This new society can only be achieved if you join together to strive for it. If you want it, then it is something you have to bring about yourselves. Nobody can do it for you.
If you agree with what we say, you can show this by voting for THE SOCIALIST PARTY candidate, DANNY LAMBERT.And if you want to know more about us, call in at our election office at 52 Clapham High Street, SW4 or return the reply coupon on the last page (no stamp required). You can also.phone or email us or visit our website at www.worldsocialism.org/spgb.
We don't take sides in this political "beauty contest". but we can recognise that all of the candidates are hypocritical self-serving people who wish to administrate the awful system of capitalism. We hate their system and we detest every one of them who try to con us. RD
Sunday, April 06, 2008
The government-commissioned review of civil and military relations, led by Quentin Davies wants secondary school pupils to receive basic military training as a means of developing greater affiliation with the armed forces. Davies, who was a Tory MP before defecting to Labour last year, said his proposals to expand the cadet structure throughout the comprehensive system were firmly backed by the Prime Minister, the Children's Secretary Ed Balls and defence ministers. Under the new government proposals, state schools who do not set up a cadet system will encourage pupils to attend a community cadet force instead. One of the core elements of the cadets' training is mastering shooting skills and military drill.
An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 children are serving as soldiers in current armed conflicts. These young combatants participate in all aspects of contemporary warfare. They wield AK-47s and M-16s on the front lines of combat, serve as human mine detectors, participate in suicide missions, carry supplies, and act as spies, messengers or lookouts. In 2000, the United Nations adopted an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The protocol prohibits the forced recruitment of children under the age of 18 or their use in hostilities. To date, it has been ratified by more than 110 countries.
The ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor prohibits the forced or compulsory recruitment of children under the age of 18 for use in armed conflict. It has been ratified by over 150 countries.
Kiddie cannon fodder by the back door is now what New Labour have lowered themselves to .
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Michael Martin, The Speaker of the House of Commons "Order! You shouldn't discuss Her Majesty the Queen. The honourable member must not discuss her majesty the Queen in the house. "
According to Erskine May, the guide to parliamentary practice, "the irregular use of the Queen's name to influence a decision of the House is unconstitutional in principle and inconsistent with the independence of Parliament". It adds: "Any attempt to use her name in debate to influence the judgement of Parliament is immediately checked and censured." It says MPs have been reprimanded "or even sent to the Tower" for treasonable or seditious language "or disrespectful use of Her Majesty's name".
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said Parliament "is fast becoming a museum piece - a 19th-century home for our 21st-century political elite".
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
"Gold-trimmed SUVs idle outside parliament. Among new female lawmakers, black Muslim veils are out and Gucci bags are in. Civilian rule has returned to Pakistan, and its politicians have come back with bling. Last month's elections ushered into parliament a new crop of business leaders and wealthy elites opposed to U.S.-backed President Pervez Musharraf's one-man rule. ...Parliament's parking lot was crowded Wednesday with new Mercedes and Toyota sports utility vehicles festooned with flashy tire rims and hood ornaments. ...Economic hardships persist for most Pakistanis. Millions live in poverty despite the recent growth. The country has yet to fully overcome a severe shortage of wheat flour — a staple here — and fuel prices have spiked sharply in recent weeks." (Yahoo News, 19 March) RD
Men in full-time employment are now paid 15% more than their female equivalents and 34% more than women in part-time work according to the annual report into the Gender Equality Scheme.The report also found wide variations between the gender pay gap in different sectors. The gap ranges from 2% in sales and customer service occupations to as high as 28.1% for managers and senior officials.
Chris Benson, a solicitor who works with the UK-wide Support Equal Pay campaign group, said of the findings: "It is really disappointing that, despite government efforts, the pay gap is still growing..."
"Where are the leaders and what are their demands?" will be the question puzzled professional politicians and media pundits...
A myth pervades that 1917 was a 'socialist' revolution rather it was the continuation of the capitalist one. What justification...
The life expectancy of people born in many parts of Scotland has fallen, as health chiefs continue to be worried about the worsening figu...