Tag Archives: Unite

Popular support for UK’s biggest union as it cuts funding to Labour because Starmer is ‘not listening’

Len McCluskey: as long ago as March 2018, he said if Labour won’t support left-wing policies, it won’t have left-wing funds.

Len McCluskey is providing the leadership the Labour movement badly needs, and right-thinking people across the UK know it.

Late on October 6, the BBC’s Newsnight told us the Unite union general secretary had announced a partial disaffiliation from the Labour Party because new leader Keir Starmer is “just not listening” to the Labour movement.

One of the most contentious issues recently was Starmer’s decision to pay £600,000 to so-called whistleblowers who contributed to a Panorama documentary about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

After Labour denied their story, they threatened to sue the party for defamation. Legal advice was that Labour would win – but Starmer decided to pay up anyway.

Now, United has disaffiliated 50,000 of its members, meaning its subsidy to Labour will drop by one-tenth – around £700,000.

This Writer thinks the close correlation between this sum and the amount paid to the “whistleblowers” is no coincidence. Unite – and McCluskey – are saying that if Starmer has so much cash he can afford to blow it on appeasement, he can afford to do without some.

The cash that has been freed will go to left-wing grassroots organisations – a shrewd move if it leads to wider understanding of alternatives to the neoliberal policies of Boris Johnson (and Starmer himself).

And the decision has been met with widespread support from the general public. Here’s This Site’s friend, Cornish Damo (be warned that he doesn’t hold back and you may find some of his language too strong):

We need an opposition, not an “appeasition”. Yes indeed!

Others have also leapt up to voice their support for Unite – and their disgust with Starmer on this and other issues:

AFTERTHOUGHT: Sadly, looking at the social media, it seems the Twitter trolls are trying to take over the discussion with support for Starmer and insults for McCluskey.

Perhaps Unite and all the other trade unions who co-formed Labour in the first place should just withdraw all their funding now, as these so-called members and representatives clearly neither need nor want it.

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We should all support McCluskey over Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ payouts

Len McCluskey: if Labour won’t support left-wing policies, it won’t have left-wing funds.

Len McCluskey has the right idea: if Labour is going to waste its funds, then its funders should pull the plug on the party.

All left-thinking unions – and what’s the point of being in a union if it isn’t left-thinking and doesn’t look out for its members? – should agree.

New Labour under Blair, Brown and Miliband gave us 20 years in which members’ wishes were scorned for a bland, tepid watering-down of Tory policies. It would be an outrage if Labour’s supporters let Starmer take the party back to that.

So Unite is reviewing its political donations to the Labour Party – reconsidering whether it should continue to be Starmer’s largest backer, or indeed back him at all.

The decision came after Starmer decided to pay huge amounts of money to seven so-called whistleblowers who claimed the party had not handled anti-Semitism properly in a BBC documentary.

A leaked report to the party that Starmer failed to release later suggested that some of those involved had themselves held back the party’s response in a bid to smear then-leader Jeremy Corbyn and harm Labour’s chances of election with him in charge.

McCluskey has been clear:

“It’s an abuse of members’ money,” he said. “A lot of it is Unite’s money and I’m already being asked all kinds of questions by my executive. It’s as though a huge sign has been put up outside the Labour party with ‘queue here with your writ and get your payment over there’.”

Unite is Labour’s biggest donor, contributing £7 million to the party since the beginning of 2019. The loss of any of these funds would be a huge blow when it is rumoured that thousands of members are quitting every day in disgust at Starmer’s recent policy u-turns.

It seems clear to This Writer that McCluskey has chosen the right direction.

Starmer seems entirely unconcerned about losing members – in fact he seems to be pushing left-wingers out of the door.

But he needs money, and the party’s business backers – many of whom deserted Labour during the Corbyn years – are unlikely to be hurrying back if the party’s remaining financial base is dwindling.

It could be that the summer Parliamentary recess is the perfect time to judge Starmer’s Labour.

He has just ditched his flagship policy – the one he used to woo enough party voters to win himself the leadership: higher taxes on the wealthy.

Can he be persuaded to reverse that decision? What other decisions has he been planning to make and, if they harm the Left, will he be forced to reconsider?

If he doesn’t, he may find himself with very little Labour left to lead.

Source: Unite sounds warning over Labour antisemitism payouts | Labour | The Guardian

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Responses to leaked Labour report shows the party – and unions – must kick out the racists

Why are elements in the Labour Party, along with unions like the GMB and Unison, trying to protect people in their ranks who have been shown committing vile acts of racism?

Not only is this behaviour highlighted in the leaked Labour report on how factions in the party’s staff dragged their heels over complaints of anti-Semitism in order to discredit the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn…

… but it seems miscreants in the party are now trying to protect the apparent racists – and attacking right-thinking people.

So ITV News is reporting that Labour staff members tried to stop the party’s Unite branch from sending letters of solidarity to Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler and Clive Lewis – the MPs named in the report as victims of racism and racial profiling.

A meeting by videoconference supported a motion that said the report had “highlighted damning examples of casual workplace racism at the most senior levels of the party” and “illustrates how the racism faced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic members were ignored.” It also called for letters of solidarity to be sent.

The report continues:

During the meeting, some Labour Party staffers objected to this and an amendment was tabled to stop the letters of solidarity being sent out.

One Labour staffer, who is mentioned in the report in reference to these allegations, argued against it happening and said that it served as “an implication of guilt”.

Who are these people? What are their names? Why are they supporting racist abuse? When will they be suspended while their own conduct is investigated?

Perhaps more shocking is the motion put before the GMB’s Labour staff branch that general secretary Jennie Formby should “apologise personally” to staff named in the report (apologies for the source of this; we know Pogrund has published false information about This Writer but in this case it seems his facts are sound):

Why should Jennie Formby apologise to these apparent racists?

Or perhaps we’re seeing elements in Labour who believe the named people should be given the benefit of the doubt.

If so, are these the same people who were happy to demand the persecution and expulsion of left-wing party members, based only on inaccurate press reports (such as Pogrund’s, about me)?

Such people are obviously not acting in good faith and their memberships of their various organisations should have been suspended already.

Also ripe for suspension is Dave Prentis, right-wing general secretary of UNISON, who has said the jobs of two of the principle actors named in the Labour report are safe – in spite of outrage among the union’s members and executive committee.

According to Skwawkbox, “On Tuesday, hundreds of Unison members – including more than twenty elected members of the union’s National Executive Committee – demanded action from general secretary Dave Prentis after two senior Unison officials were accused in the leaked Labour report that detailed sabotage of Labour’s disciplinary processes and electoral effects.

“In an open letter, the members demanded a full investigation and firm action against any staff found to have undermined Labour as described in the report, “to retain the confidence of our members, who look to the Labour Party to deliver the political change they need“.

“Prentis’s action appears to be a promise of protection to Emilie Oldknow and John Stolliday.

“According to Murdoch hack Gabriel Pogrund [him again], seemingly at a loose end now that Jeremy Corbyn is no longer leader of the Labour Party, Prentis has told the pair not to worry about their positions because he will back them.”

Time for a “no confidence” vote, perhaps?

Source: Group of Labour staffers try to block support for BAME MPs named in leaked report as racism and racial profiling victim – ITV News

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Brexit HAS united the country – just not in the way the Tories wanted

The Conservative Party’s cack-handed tackling of the UK’s departure from the European Union is the biggest disaster this country has faced in decades – and people on all sides of the political divide know it.

That’s why outrage has been building on the Left, Right and Centre.

Take a look at these three self-explanatory exclamations, all of which appeared on This Writer’s Twitter feed yesterday (September 2).

The first is the image at the top of this article.

Now, here’s a right-wing view: former West Dorset Conservative Peter Reynolds’ resignation from the party. This is a cracker [boldings mine]:

After the disastrous handling of the EU referendum result, the ludicrous decision to appoint one of the most incompetent and out-of-touch ministers as prime minister and her farcical election performance, I have been wrestling for some time as to whether to renew my membership.  The Conservative Party is now far divorced from its fundamental principles of liberty and small government and Mrs May is an authoritarian bigot stuck in some 1950s delusion of what Britain is today.

Following her ridiculous announcement last night that she intends to stay on as leader I am now tendering my resignation forthwith.  She has no mandate, no respect and in my view is held in utter contempt throughout the country.  It is also self-evident that all other ministers are too weak, cowardly and neurotic about their own jobs to do anything to stop her.

Mrs May failed consistently over six years at the Home Office. She is a Remainer and should never have been permitted to lead the party or the country after the referendum result.  Mrs May and all ministers failed entirely to plan for a leave vote and they have dithered, waffled, dodged and tripped up again and again, achieving absolutely nothing in the period since the result.

Brexit was a huge opportunity for the UK but the Conservative Party has wrecked it and damaged Britain irreparably in the process. If I had my way Mrs May would be led in chains out of Downing Street and placed in stocks in Parliament Square to endure the humiliation she so richly deserves.

Note that these are the words of a ‘Leave’ voter, disgusted with his own party’s failure to get to grips with the necessary actions required to effect an acceptable departure from the EU.

Finally, it seems a proportion of the population is angry at pensioners for voting selfishly. Here’s 54-year-old Chris Webster from Abergavenny:

He writes:

“Clacton’s ruthlessly pro-Brexit Boomers are an inspiration. Brexit is expected to cause a long-term loss of some 10% of GDP, or around £200bn per year.

“Government revenues are around 35% of GDP, so a 10% drop means £70bn less for public spending.

“But state pensions cost £90bn a year, and 65% of voters over 65 voted Leave.

“The obvious solution is to cut pensions by 65% or £58bn, and let the generation that mostly voted for Brexit pay for most of it.

“This is a controversial idea, so we should hold a referendum to ensure we know the will of the people. As in the EU referendum, we must ignore the interests of those who will be most affected, so pensioners will not be allowed to vote.

“Of course many old people will lose out, but they will be reassured by empty promises from wealthy politicians, and they can starve happy in the knowledge that it is a price worth paying for Brexit.

“Never mind cake, let them eat sovereignty.”

Of course, the impression of solidarity against Brexit is illusory.

Look at the details and they’re all different.

But they all hate the Tory travesty we’re living now.


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Nuclear workers will strike after Tory promises on pensions prove worthless

Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston in Berkshire [Image: PA].

Here are another couple of arguments against privatisation: Private firms raid your pensions.

Oh, and a Tory government will always make promises about the conditions in which privatisation is taking place – and then those promises will be broken.

Usually at huge cost to workers, the state… anybody apart from the people responsible.

Nuclear workers will go on strike after this month, Unite union has confirmed

Workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment are to stage two 48-hour strikes in a long-running dispute over pensions.

Unite said 600 of its members at AWE’s two sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire will walk out for 48 hours from January 18 and 30.

The union said workers felt “deeply betrayed” as promises made a quarter of a century ago guaranteeing their pensions, when they were transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the private sector, have been broken.

The union is protesting at plans to close the defined benefit scheme at the end of the month and replace it with a defined contribution one.

Source: Nuclear workers will strike as they vote for two 48-hour walkouts in row over pensions

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Coyne’s words won’t pay off as he short-changes members on immigration

Gerard Coyne says Brexit voters expect immigration to be curbed [Image: PA].

I can’t say I’m sorry to see Gerard Coyne making a fool of himself.

This is a man whose sole purpose is to undermine his trade union and the support it provides to plans for a better future – not just for Unite members but for workers across the United Kingdom.

The organisations mentioned in the article – representing workers born abroad but working in the UK – are right to oppose his comments.

But This Writer is sure that other workers are – and should be – equally incensed by the challenger’s divisive rhetoric.

Is this really a man who will stand up for everybody? Or is he just another divide-and-rule dupe?

The trade unionist challenging Len McCluskey for the leadership of Unite has been accused of running a “highly irresponsible” and “populist” campaign after he blamed foreign nationals living in the UK for contributing to job insecurity.

Gerard Coyne said on Monday that “the presence of a very large number of foreign nationals” in the UK was putting pressure on British workers at a time of austerity.

The 3million pressure group, which campaigns for the rights of the three million EU nationals living in the UK, said many of the EU nationals voting in the Unite leadership election would not trust Mr Coyne and his “anti-immigration” credentials to represent them.

Open Europe, the successor to the official Remain campaign, additionally suggested Mr Coyne was going against the wishes of trade unionists, who “overwhelmingly” backed single market membership.

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Britain’s biggest trade union supports Corbyn’s bid for Labour leadership

v218-Jeremy-Corbyn-Get-v2

Unite, the UK’s largest trade union and the Labour Party’s biggest donor, has urged its members to support Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership campaign.

The union’s decision is believed to be a reaction against the other leadership candidates’ support for policies of fiscal austerity.

Corbyn wants the party to reject austerity. Britain’s largest transport union, the RMT; the train drivers’ union, Aslef; the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) have also backed him.

Unions are expected to have less influence on this year’s contest, because the party has moved to a one member, one vote system for choosing its leader. This may be a reaction against criticisms that Labour’s last leader, Ed Miliband, only won his place with union backing.

Corbyn only made it onto the ballot paper at the last minute, with support from fellow MPs who thought – correctly – that his presence would widen the debate.

With the left-winger now winning support from the unions and the wider Labour-supporting public, could Labour end up with a leader the public supports, but his own MPs don’t?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Named and shamed: The government MPs profiting from NHS sell-off

Sickening: These are some of the prominent government ministers who have profited from allowing private companies to provide NHS healthcare services. Meanwhile...

Sickening: These are some of the prominent government ministers who have profited from allowing private companies to provide NHS healthcare services. Meanwhile…

Here’s a new wrinkle on an old story: The social media have been publishing lists of MPs with shares in private healthcare companies – and therefore have their noses in the trough as these companies profit from NHS contracts – since before the Health and Social Care Act 2012 was passed. Now the Unite union has published its own list and the mainstream media have got involved.

Good for Unite – at last this corruption is receiving the attention it deserves.

Named on the list of 71 Coalition MPs (64 Tories; seven Liberal Democrats) are David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, along with former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley – proving that corruption played a huge part in the introduction of private firms into NHS work.

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are also named, providing a clear indication of why the Liberal Democrats colluded in this – we can only call it – crime. Even though none of the politicians mentioned in the list acted against current UK laws, they all acted dishonestly in claiming that the change was good for the country when in fact they meant it was good for themselves.

How many of them declared this clear conflict of interest while voting for the Health and Social Care Act in 2012? None seems the most likely answer.

According to the Daily Mirror, “All 71 MPs named in the dossier voted in favour of the Government’s controversial Health and Social Care Act in 2012, which opened up the NHS to more private firms.”

The revelation comes ahead of Friday’s vote on Labour MP Clive Efford’s Private Members’ Bill, which calls on MPs to scrap key sections of the Act.

This Bill is not to be confused with Labour’s plan to abolish the Act altogether, which could only happen after a Labour government is elected in May next year. The UK Parliamentary system works in such a way that the sitting government can never lose a whipped vote as its members outnumber all other groups in the House of Commons; it is a shame that this blog has to spell it out but some readers have demonstrated a lack of understanding in this regard.

The list includes Andrew Lansley’s now-infamous £21,000 donation in November 2009 from John Nash, the former chairman of Care UK, and Jeremy Hunt received more than £20,000 from hedge fund baron Andrew Law, a major investor in healthcare firms.

... the same government ministers support a benefit system that denies the seriousness of conditions like fibromyalgia. The imagerepresents how people's bodies would appear if fibromyalgia was visible and is therefore how Mrs Mike would appear.

… the same government ministers support a benefit system that denies the seriousness of conditions like fibromyalgia. The imagerepresents how people’s bodies would appear if fibromyalgia was visible and is therefore how Mrs Mike would appear.

Here’s the full list – can you find your own MP on it?

1. David Cameron – Prime Minister

Handed a peerage to nursing and care home tycoon Dolar Popat, who has given the Tories more than £200,000 in donations.

2. Andrew Lansley – Former Health Secretary & architect of privatisation

Received a £21,000 donation in Nov 2009 from John Nash, the former chairman of Care UK.

3. Harriet Baldwin – Tory whip

Former executive at JP Morgan, a major player in private healthcare.

4. Greg Barker – former Energy Minister

Held shares in Quester VCT 5 plc ,a venture capital firm with multiple investments in healthcare companies.

5. Henry Bellingham

Former director of Lansdowne Advisory Ltd, which has shares in private healthcare company Circle.

6. Jake Berry

Has registered interests in legal firm Squire Patton Boggs, which workd with multiple NHS trusts on PFI and PPP programs.

7. Graham Brady

Former advisor to PA Consulting, a management consultancy company which has worked with the NHS’s new Clinical Commissioning Groups.

8. Simon Burns – former Health Minister

Attended an oncology conference paid for by Aventis Pharma – a five-day trip to the US funded by a leading drug firm.

9. Nick de Bois

Was the majority shareholder in Rapier Design Group, an events management company heavily involved with the private medical and pharmaceutical industries.

10. Steve Brine

Received almost £15,000 in donations from James Lupton, the chairman of investment bankers, Greenhill Europe which has a global network of corporate relationships in the healthcare sector.

11. Aidan Burley

Received six bottles of wine from Hitachi consultants for a speech in 2011. Hitachi Consulting UK built an online ‘portal’ for NHS commissioners to help them monitor performance.

12. Damian Collins

Spent almost a decade working for marketing agency M&C Saatchi, whose clients include PPP healthcare, AXA insurance, Astrazeneca, Pfizer and Merck

13. David Davis – former shadow home secretary

Received a payment of £4,250 for a six-hour speaking engagement for private health insurance company Aviva.

14. Jonathan Djanogly

Received £1,900 from Huntleigh Healthcare Ltd, which manufactures medical and orthopaedic equipment and instruments.

15. Richard Drax

Received £14,000 in a series of donations from Derek Luckhurst, chief executive and owner of care home group Agincare.

16. Iain Duncan-Smith – Work and Pensions Secretary

Has shares in hygiene technology company Byotrol plc, which sells products to the NHS.

17. Philip Dunne

Was a non-executive director for investment firm Baronsmead VCT 4 plc, which had multiple investments in private healthcare companies.

18. Michael Fallon – Defence Secretary

Former director of Attendo AB, – a Swedish private health company.

19. Mark Field

Was a board advisor to Ellwood and Atfield; a recruitment firm which recruit for NHS positions and private healthcare.

20. Liam Fox – former Defence Secretary

Received £5,000 from investment company IPGL Ltd, who purchased healthcare pharma company Cyprotex.

21. George Freeman

Has shares in Hill House Assets Ltd, formally private health firm 4D Biomedical Ltd.

22. Mike Freer

Provided marketing advice to Care Matters, a financial planning company for care homes.

23. Richard Fuller

Worked for L.E.K consulting, which has six ‘partners’ in European healthcare.

24. Richard Graham

Received £3,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

25. William Hague – Leader of the Commons

Received a £20,000 donation from MMC Ventures, which parts owns The Practice plc which runs 60 GP surgeries.

26. Philip Hammond – Foreign Secretary

Beneficiary of a trust which owns a controlling interest in healthcare and nursing home developer Castlemead Ltd.

27. Mark Harper

Received £5,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

28. Nick Herbert

Received £15,000 in donations from Caroline Nash, wife of former Care UK chairman John Nash.

29. Jeremy Hunt – Health Secretary

Received £32,920 from hedge fund baron Andrew Law, a major investor in healthcare firms.

30. Margot James

Had a key role at marketing giant WPP Group, which had a long list of healthcare clients.

31. Sajid Javid – Culture Secretary

Received £11,000 from Moundsley Healthcare Ltd last year.

32. Jo Johnson – Downing Street policy adviser

Received £6,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

33. Kwarsi Kwateng

Worked as an analyst for for Crispin Odey’s hedge fund Odey Asset Management.

34. Mark Lancaster

Former adviser to property venture capital firm Company Palmer Capital Partners Ltd, a funder of Danescroft Commercial Developments, which has worked in the healthcare sector.

35. Dr Phillip Lee

Has worked as a freelance or Medical Solutions Ltd, which provided medical cover for events.

36. Oliver Letwin – former shadow chancellor

Was a non-executive director of N.M. Rothschild Corporate Finance Ltd, which invests heavily in healthcare.

37. Peter Lilley

Non-Executive director of management software firm Idox plc, which provides services to the NHS Health Libraries Group and NHS Education for Scotland.

38. Tim Loughton

Received £350 for training sessions with Cumberlege Connections, a political networking firm that works “extensively” with the pharmaceutical industry.

39. Mary Macleod

Was a senior executive at Andersen Consulting/Accenture, which has profited from big PFI deals.

40. Francis Maude – Cabinet Office Secretary

Was a director of PR firm Huntsworth plc, which was part of lobbying group Healthcare Communications Association.

41. Maria Miller – former Culture Secretary

Former director of Grey’s Advertising Ltd, an advertising and brand company which worked extensively with clients in the healthcare sector.

42. Andrew Mitchell – former International Development Secretary

Was a strategy adviser to global management firm Accenture, which has worked extensively with private healthcare companies and the NHS.

43. Penny Mordaunt – Communities Minister

Worked for lobbying firm Hanover, where she had a range of healthcare clients.

44. Brooks Newmark – former Charities Minister

Partner in the Allele Fund, which invests in healthcare startups.

45. Jesse Norman

Received £5,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

46. Stephen O’Brien

Received payments totalling £40,000 from Julian Schild, whose family made £184million in 2006 by selling hospital bed-makers Huntleigh Technology.

47. George Osborne – Chancellor

Received donation through Conservative Campaign Headquarters from Julian Schild – see above.

48. Priti Patel – Treasury Minister

Worked for lobbying firm Weber Shandwick, which does PR for big healthcare and pharmaceutical firms.

49. John Redwood – former Cabinet Minister

Advised the private equity company which runs Pharmacy2u, the UK’s largest dedicated internet and mail order pharmacy.

50. Jacob Rees-Mogg

Partner of Somerset Capital Management LLP, which has healthcare investor Redwood Emerging Markets Dividend Income Fund as a client.

51. Sir Malcolm Rifkind – former Foreign Secretary

Chairman of advisory board at L.E.K. Consulting LLP, which helps private healthcare firms identify “new business development” and “opportunities with the Government”.

52. Amber Rudd – Energy Minister

Received £3,000 from hedge fund baron Andrew Law, a major investor in healthcare firms.

53. David Ruffley

Received £10,000 in donations from Caroline Nash, wife of former Care UK chairman John Nash.

54. Mark Simmonds – former Foreign Minister

Was paid £50,000 a year as a “strategic adviser” to Circle Health.

55. Chris Skidmore

Received £3,500 for speeches to STAC Consultancy, which specialises in the launch of pharmaceutical products.

56. Julian Smith

Received a £2,500 donation from Principle Healthcare Ltd in September 2014.

57. Nicholas Soames

Received £2,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

58. John Stanley

Consultant on financial services to FIL Investment Management Ltd, which invests in healthcare.

59. Andrew Tyrie – select committee chairman

Attended the Ryder Cup as Secretary of the Parliamentary Golf Society, with travel and accommodation paid for by U.S. healthcare services company Humana Europe.

60. Robin Walker

His office received a £2,000 donation from Redwood Care Homes, which owns multiple care homes.

61. David Willetts – former Universities Minister

Has shares in Sensortec, a company that owns Vantix which was working on a contract for a new product to detect MRSI.

62. Rob Wilson

Had registered shares in Vital Imaging, a private screening company.

63. Tim Yeo

Also attended the 2008 Ryder Cup, courtesy of Humana Europe.

64. Nadhim Zahawi

Non-executive director of recruitment company SThree, which specialises in the Ppharmaceutical and biotechnology sector.

65. Menzies Campbell – former leader

Non-executive director of Scottish American Investment Company plc, which took over one of the care homes when Southern Cross collapsed.

66. Vince Cable – Business Secretary

Received a donation of £2,000 from Chartwell Care Services, which is 100% owned by Chartwell Health & Care PLC. It also owns Chartwell Private Hospitals plc, which provide day case surgery to NHS patients.

67. Nick Clegg – Deputy Prime Minister

Received a donation to his constituency office for £5,000 from Alpha Medical Consultancy.

68. Simon Hughes – Justice Minister

Received £60,000 donation to his constituency party from the founder of Alpha Hospitals, a private hospital firm.

69. Stephen Lloyd

MP for Eastbourne. Received £544.92 aggregated over time for office equipment from Platon Medical Ltd – who provides Ear, Nose and throat devices.

70. Robert Smith

Has shares in pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

71. Jo Swinson – Business Minister

Received a donation of £2,000 September 2013 from private optician firm, Peter Ivins Eye Care.

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Don’t be naive, Len – Cameron WANTS to lock privatisation into the NHS

140703NHS-TTIP

Unite’s secretary general Len McCluskey would be naive indeed to think David Cameron is ever likely to heed his call for the National Health Service to be kept out of the EU/US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

McCluskey has warned that the NHS could be sued by American healthcare multinationals if a UK government tried to return services to state control; they would argue that such renationalisations interfered with their potential profits, in breach of the trade agreement, as has been discussed on this blog in the past.

His appeal misses the point. The entire thrust of Coalition government policy is to ensure that the NHS becomes vulnerable to just such pressure, in order to ‘lock in’ the privatisations inflicted on us by Andrew Lansley’s horrifying Health and Social Care Act 2012.

One has to look no further than Vince Cable for confirmation of this. The Whig business secretary (you can’t call him a Liberal Democrat any more, and as a commenter pointed out today, the government as a whole behaves more like the old-style Whig Party from the 19th century. If the cap fits…) told The Independent: “There is no suggestion whatever that the TTIP negotiations could be used to undermine the fundamental principles of the NHS or advancing privatisation.”

What he means by this is that – as far as he is concerned, advancing privatisation is a fundamental principle of the NHS since Andrew Lansley’s hateful Act of Parliament. Therefore the TTIP agreement can only contribute to that project.

He said: “Our focus for health is to enable our world-class pharaceutical and medical devices sectors to benefit from improved access to the US market.”

If we have world-class healthcare already, why do we need access to a market-driven system that can only drag us down into mediocrity? Clearly he is not talking about healthcare at all; he is talking about the health service as a source of profit. The “benefit” he describes can only be profit – income for shareholders in private companies that could not be accrued while they were excluded from NHS work.

Everybody involved in this betrayal should be imprisoned as a traitor, with Cable and Lansley first to be sent down.

Cometh the hour, time for a party

140505UPIP

A new political party has been launched – on International Workers’ Day – to represent the interests of people whose opportunities in life have been restricted because they earn low wages.

The Underpaid People’s Independence Party – UPIP – will campaign for better pay, better rights and a better say on behalf of all those who currently earn less than they need in order to pay their own way.

The new party has announced several policies already:

  • A living wage for every working person, ensuring that the overburdened benefit system does not subsidise greedy corporations
  • A guaranteed ‘income floor’ for all British citizens, ensuring that those who do not work because of illness or unemployment are able to live with dignity
  • The guarantee of employee benefits including sick pay, holiday rights and both lower and upper limits on the number of hours worked
  • Strengthened – and rigorously-enforced – health and safety regulations for all workplaces, to limit the number of workplace-related illnesses and disabilities
  • An end to corrupt ‘workfare’, ‘work programme’ or ‘mandatory work activity’ schemes that allow governments to collude with corporations in forcing citizens to work for no payment other than benefits that are subsidised by other working people
  • Tax incentives to encourage all companies to transform into co-operatives, with responsibilities and profits shared among the entire workforce

UPIP founder Nobby Fulsom, a former mineworker, said Britain’s hardworking poor had suffered for too long under neoliberal profiteers, and the time had come for a party they could all enjoy.

“I have stayed underground for too long; now is the time for working people to stand tall,” he said.

But he admitted: “It is too late for us to field any candidates in the European election.

“If we could, we would be opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that would push workers on both sides of the Atlantic into ever-worsening conditions of employment.

“Europe should be pushing for an agreement that will guarantee the best possible conditions for all workers. The fact that the EU doesn’t seem interested in supporting its constituents poses questions about its own role, and that is why we support a top-down reorganisation of the European Union, with authority granted to nobody unless they can prove they started their careers at the lowest level and worked their way up, rather than just walking in from a position of privilege.”

Mr Fulsom said it was not true that members of UPIP had been posting anti-corporatist Tweets on the internet, nor had they been targeting members of the aristocracy with derogatory remarks.

“UPIP is an inclusive party,” he said. We believe in uniting people – not in the divisive rhetoric of the Coalition government or certain minority parties with similar initials to our own.

“Any corporate executive who is willing to turn his organisation into a co-operative is welcome to join us, as is anyone from a family of wealth who accepts that the people who made that cash for them are entitled to the opportunities they and their forebears enjoyed.”

He added: “We don’t want much, but what we want is fair – for everybody, not just those with a private education and independent wealth.”

Undoubtedly, UPIP will have a great deal to say about the current election campaign and the future direction of British politics.

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