Man Of The People

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson is in line for a pay-out of up to £1m after leaving the European Commission to rejoin the Cabinet. He will continue to receive taxpayer-funded EU pay worth £234,000 over three years – in addition to his annual ministerial salary of £104,386.

The Conservatives spokesman on Europe said the details of the “golden goodbye” would anger UK voters. Mr Mandelson will be ennobled on Monday to allow him to return to the Cabinet. He will take his seat in the House of Lords as Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool.

I can’t think of anyone I know who isn’t paid a mil in severance and is a Lord, common as muck, like all those millionaire Lords the Tories have… Although really the evil commu-tory BBC are exaggerating it a bit, it’s not a lump sum after all!

The business secretary is entitled to the EU compensation package despite giving up his post as trade commissioner voluntarily after four years. Under EU rules, Mr Mandelson will be eligible for around £78,000 in “transitionary payments” annually for the next three years. The money – £234,000 in total – will also be subject to preferential tax rates devised for EU officials.

The top-up ensures his income in his new job is the same as his £182,500 salary as a commissioner. In addition to the salary boost, Mr Mandelson’s four-year stint in Brussels entitles him to a pension. When he reaches the age of 65, Mr Mandelson will receive a pension, starting at £31,000 and then rising in line with the cost of living.

A private sector worker who wanted to ensure a similar income in retirement would have to build a pension fund worth more than £700,000. As he relocates from Brussels to London, Mr Mandelson is also due a one-off resettlement grant of £15,000.

Only £15 grand? That’s pretty well much leaving him with a bin bag and a coach ticket home. How’s he meant to fund moving on his poverty pay?  Subject to preferential tax rates? Oh the humanity! I can only hope he picks up some moonlighting directorship gigs to keep body and soul together as he serves the public so selflessly. And an inflation linked £31 grand pension? Why not just start feeding him value dog food as he freezes to death right now you stingy bastards!

Oh Mandy, you came and you gave without taking!

[Ok it was just an excuse for the Manilow lyric. Damn you, history will be my judge!]

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Posted in Class War, Media. Tags: , . Comments Off on Man Of The People

We’re Incredibly Corrupt, Yeah!

The OECD while a big fan of the free market and all that crap still manage to accuse NuLabour’s corporatist friendly regime of being like totally frickin’ bent guvnor (and this was before the BAE investigation was dropped)-

Leading industrialised nations have fired a stinging broadside at Britain over its failure to tackle corporate bribery overseas, at a time when other countries are pursuing big-name multinationals.

The anti-bribery working group of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development attacked London’s performance in a letter delivered to the government in June, the Financial Times has learned.

The letter – sent before the House of Lords backed the scrapping of an investigation into BAE Systems’ Saudi arms deals – is a sign of how Britain’s failure to bring cases against its multinationals is alienating European and US allies who are pursuing their companies.

The message suggests London can expect a tough time at the next meeting of the OECD anti-bribery group in October, where members could take the embarrassing and unprecedented step of pushing for Britain to be suspended.

One person who has seen the letter said it was “particularly undiplomatic” and laid out the “full menu” of criticisms about Britain’s performance on tackling bribery by its businesses and nationals overseas.

The letter attacked Britain over its failure to bring a single overseas bribery case or to deliver on a years-old pledge to update its anti-corruption laws. It also raised concerns that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) would downgrade its commitment to tackling corporate foreign bribery, because of plans for it to focus more on public education and consumer crimes such as share scams.

Yes the all new SFO as noted before will focus on working with business, not y’know investigating them, so do you think a/. this will make us less corrupt or b/. Hey stop laughing.

Posted in Capitalism, Inequality. Tags: , , . Comments Off on We’re Incredibly Corrupt, Yeah!

Common -Fucking- Sense

The three biggest unions – Unite, the GMB and Unison – have called for tax rises for the rich in amendments to draft policy statements. So have many constituency Labour parties. The unions want an increase of the threshold at which national insurance starts from £3,500 to £5,000, and a cut for people earning up to £40,000 a year, funded by higher contributions for people earning over £100,000.

Money quote-

One cabinet minister said: “There is a debate about tax at the highest level of the Government. Some people are arguing that we should raise more from the top to help those at the bottom.” But another minister warned that such a move would be “suicide” and mark the end of New Labour.

It’s great NuLabour want to govern on behalf of the minority earning over 100,000, no wait the other thing- a wildly undemocratic betrayal of their core principles. Hey, suicide sounds good in that case. See that’s the flaw in ‘another minister’ s reasoning, there are no bad outcomes in his scenario. Half a million on strike this time, and it will grow. Now can anyone guess who gets over £100,000…clue.

The Stupid Drug War Lumbers On

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One of the defining characteristics of the drug war is politician’s ignoring expert findings and providing demagogic enforcement measures to placate idiot & ignorant voters. And never, ever, EVER considering de-criminalising and harm reduction allied to social reform. And Gordon’s no different-

Downing Street today signalled that the prime minister remained intent on toughening the law on cannabis despite reports that the government’s official drugs advisory body opposes its reclassification. Gordon Brown’s spokesman played down reports that the advisory committee on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) had concluded there was no need to raise the classification of cannabis from class C to class B.

The mental health charity Rethink said Mr Brown should heed the committee’s advice. The charity spokesman Paul Corry said: “Gordon Brown should put aside his personal views on cannabis and accept the fact that it does not make sense to reclassify.

“Use of the drug has gone down since it was downgraded in 2004 and research by Rethink shows that only 3% of users would consider stopping on the grounds of illegality.”

Cannabis was downgraded from class B to class C in January 2004. People still face up to two years in prison if caught in possession of the drug, while those supplying the drug to others can be given a five-year sentence.

NuLabour’s War On Women

Not wanting to be too antagonistic The Guardian/Observer has a good report on women and prison, they bury what really should be the lede 8 paragraphs down-

The female prison population almost doubled between 1997 and 2006, despite there being no corresponding rise in women committing more serious crimes. Nine out of 10 were convicted of non-violent offences. According to a 2003 report by the Prison Reform Trust, women who would previously have received community penalties are being imprisoned while those who would have been sent to prison are being given longer sentences. 

So tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime was in fact-

  • tough on crime- longer sentences.
  • the causes of crime- the person who committed the crime (see tough on crime).

I’m sure they didn’t mean to mislead people and make supporter sthink they would be looking at the socialogical roots of crime, like poverty, housing, education, income and opportunity disparity. NO, that would be fibbing. So NuLabour have locked more women up and for longer while the rich got richer and social mobility declined, really quiet an achievement for a right wing party, the tories must be seething with jealousy- shit, that’s what we wanted to do dammit!

  • 17 The number of women prisons in England
  • 4,248 The average number of women in prison in 2006, up from 1,560 in 1993
  • 37 The percentage of women in prison who have attempted suicide
  • 6 The percentage of women in the total prison population
  • 36 The percentage of women prisoners in 2004 convicted of drugs offences
  • 19 The percentage of women in prison who are foreign nationals – compared to about 12 per cent of males
  • 70 The percentage of women prisoners with mental health problems

MOD Admits…A Little Bit Of Torture, Then Keeps Lying

Britain’s Defence Ministry is to admit that its troops tortured and breached the human rights of nine Iraqi men they detained in southern Iraq in 2003, opening the way to potentially large compensation claims. The decision follows years of legal wrangling in which the family of Baha Musa, an Iraqi hotel worker who was beaten and died in British custody, and eight other Iraqis who survived the beatings, have sought justice.

Seven officers and soldiers were court-martialled in the case of Musa and the others, but only one was found guilty after admitting mistreatment of prisoners.

Well first, it’s not a Ministry of Defence, it’s the Ministry of War, or Violence, or Military. Defence? Newspeak bullshit it is time to abandon. Now then can you spot the effectiveness of the Military investigating itself? And how long did the establishment deny this treatment, ie. lie? And what about the gag order on Ben Griffin who says British complicity in torture was widespread and from the top? In other words this is a tiny admission while they work furiously to keep the truth of the extent of involvement in torture top secret. After all they make sure to state this was tiny number, isolated incident, rotten apple blah blah blah-

“I deeply regret the actions of a very small number of troops and I offer my sincere apologies and sympathy to the family of Baha Musa and the eight others,” armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth said in a statement issued along with the ministry’s admission of its breach of human rights.

Contrast with the last thing Ben Griffin was allowed to say before the same people who have just made that statement gagged him soviet stylee-

As UK soldiers within this Task Force a policy that we would detain individuals but not arrest them was continually enforced. Since it was commonly assumed by my colleagues that anyone we detained would subsequently be tortured this policy of detention and not arrest was regarded as a clumsy legal tool used to distance British soldiers from the whole process.

The joint US/UK Task Force has broken International Law, contravened The Geneva Conventions and disregarded the UN Convention Against Torture. British soldiers are intimately involved in the actions of this Task Force. Jack Straw, Margaret Beckett David Miliband, Geoff Hoon, Des Browne, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown. In their respective positions over the last five years they must know that British soldiers have been operating within this joint US/UK task force. They must have been briefed on the actions of this unit.

Seems like Bob is looking to be added to the list. I think Amnesty put it well-

Rather than seeking to silence people who might have credible evidence of alleged human rights violations, which may include war crimes, the UK authorities should be seeking to investigate those allegations.’

It has taken 5 years and constant fighting to get the government to admit to the torture of Baha Musa and 8 others which makes it clear they are not remotely interested in transparency or human rights.

Mehdi Kazemi Safe For Now

The campaign worked-

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced the review of his case on Thursday.
“Following representations made on behalf of Mehdi Kazemi, and in the light of new circumstances since the original decision was made, I have decided that Mr. Kazemi’s case should be reconsidered on his return to the U.K. from the Netherlands.”

But it is not a granting of asylum just acknowledgement that the public furore over it means they don’t want a PR disaster, they may well hope when no one is looking to quickly deny him permanent asylum and fly him to Iran. Safe for now, but their general position remains the same and this is one case against an institution wide corruption & barbarity.