Tag Archives: Tesco

Greedflation: companies are fuelling inflation by overcharging us to build profit

French protesters have stormed the Paris stock exchange: will greedflation prompt the British to do worse?

Whenever the Conservatives tell us wage increases are driving inflation, be aware that they are lying.

Inflation isn’t being driven by wage demands but by greedy companies that are using the cost-of-living crisis to drive up prices and boost their profits.

Take a look at the degree by which food prices have risen:

Claudia Webbe puts the situation – and the reason for it – in a nutshell:

Now read this:

That is what the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank seem to have discovered, according to The Guardian:

The IMF and the ECB wouldn’t put it in these terms, of course, but both support the idea that companies are gouging their customers when they can. The non-technical term for what is going on is greedflation.

Companies [are] doing rather better out of the cost of living crisis than workers… The flipside of steeply rising prices but only modestly higher wages [is] that profit margins [have] “surged”.

Unite, one of the UK’s biggest unions, published a report in March that blamed systematic profiteering across the economy for fuelling the cost of living crisis. Energy companies, supermarkets, shipping companies, car dealers and food manufacturers had all cashed in on drought, war, and strong demand after the pandemic to “push prices and profits through the roof”.

The eurozone’s central bank looked at the contribution of profits to inflation over nearly a quarter of century, and found that between 1999 and 2022, profits were responsible for one-third of the inflation rate on average. In 2022 alone, profits contributed to two-thirds of the rise.

But whereas the ECB – from its president, Christine Lagarde, downwards – is fully exercised by the threat posed by greedflation, policymakers in the UK seem far more relaxed. There have been plenty of calls for wage restraint, most notably from Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, but far fewer for price restraint… Price controls, of the sort used in the 1970s, are seen as to be avoided at all costs.

Instead, inflation is being controlled by increasing interest rates – which sucks demand from the economy and reduces pressure for wage rises by incurring job losses (meaning that, once again, too many jobseekers end up competing for too few jobs and the bosses can pay whatever they want).

But workers who have taken pay cut after pay cut for more than a decade are close to breaking point and something has to give way soon.

Will we see scenes like what has happened in France over pensions, with protesters storming bastions of capitalism like the stock exchange and trashing it? Will we see worse?

It’s a good question. The British have very long tempers and have put up with a lot – so much, in fact, that nobody knows what they might do if those tempers snap.

It seems likely that, if they do not moderate their own rhetoric and curb corporate greedflation soon, the Tories might find out.


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Twit Tory’s tweet shows the Labour Welsh government is handling Covid-19 better than his rabble

James Cleverly: He was once described as “the Tories’ go-to eejit when they need someone to tweet absolute nonsense or defend the indefensible”.

James Cleverly is a gift to everyone who opposes Tories and Conservative policies.

His latest blunder was a tweet trying to claim that Labour would have failed to handle the Covid-19 crisis as well as the Conservatives – by suggesting a comparison between Westminster and the Labour-run Welsh government:

Wales is doing very well, thank you very much – as experts lined up to explain to the misnamed dimwit.

Worse still (for Cleverly), his tweet provided another Tory an opportunity to make an utter fool of himself – and by extension, his party – by trying to spread a lie about the current Welsh lockdown. Here’s the tweet:

Here’s the response that best skewers Cllr Hill:

Just for completeness, here is the Welsh Government’s response to Katie, from the thread in question:

Tesco has apologised for the mistake.

I wonder if Cllr Hill, any of the other Tories who have tried to spread the lie, or Cleverly himself will ever have the courage also to apologise?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Ex-Tory councillor thought he had the right to put metal shards in BABY FOOD. What is wrong with these people?

Is there something inherently psychotic about Tories, that they think they have a God-given right to cause harm to others?

Already today (at the time of writing), This Site has published an article about a Tory who had more than 1,500 child sex images, including torture and bestiality. He walked free because he was not considered a danger to children, even though the judge stated clearly, in court, that people who consume these images cause other people to make them.

Nigel Wright is a danger to children. He contaminated Tesco baby food with metal shards during an attempt to blackmail the supermarket giant, claiming that he represented dairy farmers who had been underpaid by the firm.

He tried to get Tesco to pay him £1.4 million in return for information about where he had hidden the jars.

Wright is a former Conservative councillor who then shifted to UKIP, for whom he was a Parliamentary candidate.

Look at the details:

The court heard two mothers found the metal fragments when they were feeding their children after Wright began his two-year campaign in the spring of 2018.

He threatened to inject tins of fruit with cyanide and salmonella unless the supermarket giant handed over the cash in Bitcoin.

He triggered two nationwide recalls on Cow & Gate and Heinz baby food as a result of the threats, prompting the supermarket to clear 140,000 products from the shelves.

A detective posed as a Tesco employee named Sam Scott and handed over £100,000 in the crypto-currency to trap the blackmailer.

Wright was caught on CCTV buying wine and flowers for his wife after placing a contaminated jar on the shelves of a Tesco branch in Lockerbie in Scotland on November 29 last year.

It was said that he took ‘delight’ in what he was doing, believing he could get rich anonymously by using bitcoin and downloading the Tor browser that allows anonymous communication.

This is really sick stuff, and it demonstrates that at least some people who identify as Conservatives have serious psychological problems.

It is not acceptable for Wright to endanger other people’s children for the sake of a bit of cash – just is it was not acceptable for Mark Lerigo to cause children to be harmed for the sake of his personal gratification.

But these Tories blithely carry on, in the unshakeable belief that they are above the law.

After all, their colleagues in Boris Johnson’s government are.

Their attitude seems to be, why shouldn’t they be above the law, too?

Source: Farmer who put metal shards in Tesco baby food is ex-Tory councillor – Mirror Online

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History is made as Vox Political agrees with David Cameron

 

Jean-Claude Juncker, tax avoidance mastermind and now President of the European Commission.

Jean-Claude Juncker, tax avoidance mastermind and now President of the European Commission.

Believe it or not, David Cameron was right to oppose the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission.

If Private Eye is to be believed, Juncker has a record of wreaking fiscal havoc across the continent, thanks to his behaviour embracing corporate tax dodgers as finance minister and prime minister of Luxembourg.

Anti-EU readers will be interested to note that he was chair of the EU’s council of economic and financial affairs, in which role he played a key part in shaping the economic and monetary aspects of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty.

Eye 1368 (June 13-26) states that Luxembourg has turned itself into a tax haven, “but, crucially, one at the heart of Europe entitled to tax-free flows of money in and out of its borders in a way traditional sunny island havens… could only dream of.

“The Grand Duchy became the member of the economic club that pilfered from the club’s funds.”

Let’s look at examples: “An especially fruitful line has been multi-billion-pound corporate tax avoidance at its neighbours’ expense. In the most infamous case, Vodafone still routes more than £50bn worth of loans through Luxembourg for no purpose other than taking advantage of tax laws and administrative rulings carefully tailored by Juncker’s governments to facilitate large-scale tax avoidance… The company is sitting on a £17.4 billion “tax asset”, ie reduction in future tax bills around the world, courtesy of [Mr] Juncker.

“Hundreds of other multinationals, including the UK’s Glaxo, Tesco and Financial Times publisher Pearson, use Luxembourg in similar ways at enormous cost to Europe’s economies.”

And the buck doesn’t stop rolling with tax, either: “Juncker pursued an aggressive regime of financial deregulation, especially in the area of investment fund administration. So it was no surprise that when Bernard Madoff’s ponzi scheme collapsed in 2008, a large chunk of the money had come through loosely-regulated Luxembourg funds set up by Swiss banks.”

The man responsible for the above is now in charge of the European Union. David Cameron was right to oppose his appointment.

Be afraid.

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Reasons to be fearful for a warm Summer’s day

Hero of the week: Peter Hain put the record straight about the cause of the UK's current economic woes (bankers) and the Conservatives' attitude to bank regulation (they wanted less of it before the crash). At long last, the facts came out on a national media outlet!

Hero of the week: Peter Hain put the record straight about the cause of the UK’s current economic woes (bankers) and the Conservatives’ attitude to bank regulation (they wanted less of it before the crash). At long last, the facts came out on a national media outlet!

There are a lot of potential topics for discussion but yr obdt srvt (that’s me) is very short of time on this sunny Sunday, so today’s article is going to have to be a quick run through of Things You Need to Know.

First up, following yesterday’s feature on how the Tories are blaming the civil service for the problems they have been creating, here are a couple more examples: The Guardian tells us that housing ministers are ordering councils to help families stay in their homes, rather than re-housing them in expensive bed & breakfasts for longer than the maximum period. Apparently this breaks the law. Minister Mark Prisk said he had created a £2 million fund to help councils currently breaking the rules.

Nice one. Shame it won’t scratch the surface of the £2 billion that has been spent by UK councils on temp accommodation since 2009 – that’s an average of £500 million per year; 250 times the puny amount Mr Prisk is offering, to alleviate problems his government has created with (for example) the Bedroom Tax.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph tells us that Jeremy Hunt has ordered the NHS to find a solution to the crisis in Accident & Emergency departments – that he and other Tory ministers have created – by next April.

These are further examples of the current Conservative ‘Create a Crisis and Blame Someone Else’ strategy we saw outlined in yesterday’s Vox Political article.

The BBC and many others have reported that Tim Yeo has joined the growing ranks of Tory MPs involved in ‘lobbying’ scandals, alongside Patrick Mercer from last week. Unlike Mercer, the allegation does not involve taking money to raise an issue (paid advocacy) – instead it is alleged that he coached an organisation, telling representatives what to say to the Commons’ Energy and Climate Change committee. It’s still corruption, and it’s staggering that these people are being allowed to continue as MPs while investigations go on, and possibly even afterwards, if they are found guilty. Should we really have people who have been proven to be dishonest, helping to make decisions on the future of our country?

Should we, Mr Cameron? Mr Shapps? Mr… Smith? Mr Hunt?

As some of us predicted long ago, Iain (Duncan) Smith’s benefit cuts (you mustn’t call them ‘reforms’ – that only encourages him) have led to a 40 per cent rise in the number of people seeking help from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

It’s just a shame that funding for the CAB (much of it from the government or statutory authorities) is declining, isn’t it? It’s almost as if somebody planned it that way, to make it even harder for poor people to get any justice. (I write as the vice-chair of a Welsh CAB so, believe me, I know my facts).

On the subject of justice, did anyone hear John Finnemore on The Now Show, laying into inJustice Secretary Chris Grayling’s ‘reform’ (there’s that word again) of the Legal Aid system that will make it impossible for anyone in that system to get justice, unless – you guessed it – they’re rich.

“Legal Aid will have a financial eligibility threshold. To be fair, this doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world,” he said. “And I can be confident about that, because right there next to it – as if deliberately placed there for purposes of comparison – are two of the worst ideas in the world.

“One – defendants will no longer have the right to choose their own lawyer; two – legal aid contracts will be awarded on the basis of price-competitive tender, i.e. who’s cheapest, to private companies – like Tesco and Eddie Stobart. You know, the lorry guy.

“You might almost wonder whether this might affect the quality of the representation in some way but Chris Grayling, Minister of Justice and dispenser of none, assures us it will not… Even though everywhere else, the government is obsessed with getting us to choose… when it comes to poor people who’ve been arrested, suddenly Daddy knows best.

“The bargain-basement Eddie Stobart Legal Aid lawyers will be paid a flat fee, regardless of results and, best of all, regardless of whether the client pleads guilty – which is quick and cheap – or not guilty, which is not. Yes, Chris Grayling has actually created a system where privately-run Legal Aid firms have a direct financial incentive to persuade their clients to plead guilty, while simultaneously being under enormous pressure to slash costs to the bone in order to put in a tender low enough to keep the contract.

“Meanwhile, the career crims… tend to trust their regular solicitor and take their advice if they suggest they’d be better-off pleading guilty, but they’re certainly not going to take that advice from Eddie McTesco in his ‘My First Lawyer’ costume. So they’re going to start pleading not guilty to everything.

“Well done, Mr Grayling, you’ve pulled off the double – innocent people encouraged to plead guilty; guilty people to plead not guilty. What a merry, madcap world of misrule you have created, Mr Grayling, you absolute tit!”

Finally, still on the radio, did everyone hear Peter Hain on Any Questions, putting the record straight on the reasons for the economic crisis and the facts about bank regulation – two subjects about which the Conservatives have been hugely vocal in their lies for many years.

He was talking about the announcements last week by Labour’s leaders, on their future plans for welfare. He’s critical (which is a relief), but he said it would not be right to make promises about things that Labour can’t deliver.

“We can’t deliver because this economic policy of the Tory-Lib Dem government is failing on a spectacular scale,” he said. “They’re doing all these things, all these cuts, in order to bring borrowing down, the deficit down, debt down.

“What’s happening? Borrowing is £245 billion higher than they said it would be in 2010 when they began this cuts programme. The national debt is £309 billion higher – and the deficit is £78 billion higher.

“It’s because cutting and cutting and cutting is a way to putting people out of work, destroying businesses, they don’t pay taxes, you don’t get government revenues and everybody goes on benefit – that’s why this is a spectacular catastrophe and we’re going to have to rescue the country from that, and we’ve got to do it responsibly and honestly.”

Hear, hear.

Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, went on the attack with the usual rubbish about Labour overspending but didn’t get very far before Hain put him straight: “It was the banks that destroyed the economy, not the Labour government – it was the international banking system!”

Uproarious applause from the studio audience in Machynlleth (just up the road from me) where the broadcast was taking place. They – like most of the British population – had clearly been waiting years for someone to come out with that simple fact on a national media outlet: The banks caused the current economic situation, not Labour.

Let’s just repeat it: The banks caused the current economic situation, not Labour.

Anyone suggesting otherwise is just plain wrong.

Paterson riposted weakly, “Because Gordon Brown didn’t regulate them”. But Hain had his answer for that ready, as well.

“You wanted lighter regulation. Come on, remember – you wanted lighter regulation!”

And that was also true.

Paterson went further into idiocy by prattling about breaking the national credit card – the kind of stuff that we all now know is nonsense and that has been disproved irrefutably on this blog and in many other places – and about the private sector creating 1.25 million new jobs, which we know it hasn’t done, for example, because 200,000 were education jobs that the government redefined from public to private, probably in order to create another made-up statistic.

In other words, the Conservatives have no arguments for what they’re doing. No arguments about the economy. No arguments about the cuts they have been making.

I’ve met Peter Hain a couple of times, and I’ve had a few differences of opinion with him – but in this instance he was right on the button and far more effective in putting forward an argument for supporting Labour than anything Ed Miliband said in his “we’re supporting Tory policies because we think pretending to be Tories will win us votes” speech last week.

It was one of the worst speeches a Labour leader could have made, but if it prompts more Labour representatives, like Peter Hain, to stand up for the party and present a proper case for opposition to this hateful, incompetent, evil shower – the Coalition – then it might do some good in spite of itself.

Stand up, you slaves!

I’ve been accosted by several people in the 24 hours or so since I wrote ‘No forced labour please, we’re British’ – all of them determined to make me believe that any stand against government injustice is doomed to failure and I shouldn’t try to support it.

What a bunch of craven cowards.

If these people had their way, everyone in the UK would be a slave. If the religion they preach was true, all of our ancestors would have been slaves as well – to the biggest bullies with the nastiest weapons, all the way back down through time.

None of the great changes, emancipations, freedoms that were ever gained in history would have taken place.

Well, I’m here to tell you that we are not slaves; those changes did take place, and they happened because people like you and I made them happen.

The writer J Michael Straczynski, creator of the cult SF TV show Babylon 5, put it very well a few years ago, so I’ll hand the rest of this article over to him:

“Let me tell you about a little psychological trick called conditioned helplessness.

“When our world and our choices are restricted over a sufficiently long period of time, we come to believe that we cannot snap our bonds, cannot choose anything other than what we have, even though those bonds are often as sheer as gossamer.

“And it’s when we are in that state of conditioned helplessness that we are truly at our most dangerous, to ourselves as we fall into despair or poor decisions, and to others when the weight of the perceived chain becomes too much, and like enraged elephants we go mad… and make those around us pay the price for our confinement.

“It is in the vested interests of any society, any form of government, any hierarchical system to make you believe that you have no power, that you have no choices, that you cannot fight City Hall or Parliament or the Party or the Committee. We are told to play nice, to behave, to get along, that the human being singular can’t really change anything, can’t affect anything. Leave it to the rest, to the authorities, to those qualified to deal with the problem. They want you to go to sleep, to believe that there is nothing you can do.

“They are, of course, quite wrong. And when they tell you you cannot do anything, that you do not have a choice, they are lying to you. Nothing more, nothing less.

“History was changed by one assassin in Sarajevo, whose bullet set off a chain reaction that led to World War I and by default to World War II and much of the Cold War history thereafter.

“One man with a bullet can change the world. We’ve seen it. We know it’s true.

“How much more can one man or one woman with one idea change the world? Ask Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa, John Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Aquinas.

“And while you’re at it… ask yourself.”

JMS is appealing to us to see “hope, and optimism, and our capacity to build a better world if we are willing to fight for the future, to seize it for ourselves and make of it what we want, because if we don’t then someone else will make it for us, and it may not be the best possible future, or the one we most desire. It is about the nobler aspects of our humanity, those elements which call us together in a common cause, not the differences that pull us apart… In the final analysis, whatever we may have been taught to the contrary, we are more alike than we are different.”

There is something we can do. And we should praise those who do it.

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No forced labour please, we’re British!

Here’s a story to chill the heart.

Unemployed Geology graduate Cait Reilly, aged 22, was forced to give up volunteering at the Pen Room museum in Birmingham (she was hoping it would lead to a curatorship further down the line) in order to work for nothing at Poundland, sweeping the floors on a government scheme.

She was told she would lose her £53-a-week Jobseeker’s Allowance if she did not submit to the “forced labour” of stacking shelves for the discount retailer, which did not have to pay her.

Let’s put this into context: Poundland’s annual profit in 2010 was £21,500,000. Split among its 390-odd stores, that’s more than £54,000 – or enough to pay three extra employees, per store, on minimum wage, with cash to spare. That’s up from the previous year, when it could have paid two extra employees on minimum wage, with cash to spare.

Ms Reilly said in a Telegraph article: “There were five of us sent there. I was the only graduate. We were doing exactly the same work as the paid staff. It makes no sense.

“If the Government subsidises high street chains with free labour, they don’t have to recruit. It causes unemployment rather than solves it.”

Absolutely correct.

Ms Reilly has employed a lawyer to sue the government for contravening article 4(2) of the Human Rights Act, which states: ‘No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour,’ and I think many people around the UK will be waiting impatiently for the result of that action.

The Daily Mail appears to have reverted to its usual form (after the moment last week when one of its columnists actually stood up for disabled people, who are also being victimised by the current government).

That hideous harpy, attack columnist Jan Moir scribbled: “Cait, I really want to say this to you. Two weeks stacking shelves in Poundland — a breach of your human rights? Grow up.

“You might think that a student with barely an NI payment to her name would be happy to put something back into the pot, would be very grateful to be in receipt of taxpayer-funded benefits in the first place.”

Catherine Bennett in The Guardian leapt to pour acid on this attitude: “Many Daily Mail columnists, you gathered, would not have reached the ethical heights they occupy today if they had not, once upon a time, been willing to wash down the Tesco aisles with their own tongues – and, yes, to pay Tesco for the privilege. Forgive them, but what exactly is wrong with no pay for a decent day’s work?

“Annoyingly, for this school of thought, Reilly’s story requires a little finessing before she can be depicted as a total princess. Prior to Poundland, she was regularly volunteering – for no pay – in a Birmingham museum, hoping this would help her find a job in curating.”

The whole saga is the result of a scheme in which Job Centre staff have the power to force anyone claiming unemployment benefits to take part in “mandatory work activity” designed to get them used to working from nine to five.

The pilot scheme found that one in five who were ordered to take part in a four-week community project stopped claiming immediately. Another 30 per cent never turned up and had their benefits axed.

This result – people coming off benefits rather than submitting to being treated as slave labour – was treated as a huge success by Employment Minister Chris ‘Goebbels’ Grayling and his cronies.

A ‘source’ told the Telegraph: “What this demonstrates is that there is really a hardcore of claimants who have absolutely no intention of working come what may.”

I say: The people who refused to do unpaid work were absolutely right to do so and should never have been penalised for it.

If commercial work is available and needs to be done, then companies should be employing people to do it.

This scheme is nothing but another scurrilous attack on the people who are least able to defend themselves, by the most privileged and least deserving government in the recent history of the UK.

To describe this scheme as a success because it has deprived people of the income they need to survive, is sickening.

To those responsible, I say: Shame on you. May you suffer poverty and homelessness for the rest of your days and may good people shun you.

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