Socialist Worker

Systematic corruption flourishes under Labour

Issue No. 2061

Four rich people lent millions to the Labour party. They were nominated for peerages. No crime was committed.

This week it turns out another four rich people lent millions to the Labour Party and weren't nominated for peerages. No crime was committed.

Labour peers in the House of Lords gave out passes to get lobbyists for big business into parliament. No crime was committed.

Corruption scandals are not about one bribe for one favour – they are about the systematic control of politics by business.

Thousands of lobbyists constantly swarm around Westminster trying to get access and influence. Gordon Brown's contribution has been to fast-track the process – bringing private equity bosses directly into government and making a former head of the bosses' CBI a trade minister.

The consequence of Labour becoming the party of business and privatisation is companies raking in the profits. In return an occasional tip is perhaps paid by grateful bosses for the services so happily granted.


Pensions

Working us to death

The neoliberal vision of working class people's futures was revealed last week in new figures that showed how the proportion of people working past the state pension age is running at record levels.

The Office for National Statistics said that 11 percent of people who are older than the pension age have jobs – up 3 percent from the mid-1990s.

Men over the age of 65 and women over 60 made up just under half of the 180,000 extra people in employment in Britain in the 12 months up to May of this year.

The worsening of public and private sector pensions and the low level of the state pension has forced many to keep working just to survive.

Millions have worked hard, often in jobs they hate, keeping the system and profits running, with the promise of a decent retirement they can enjoy with their friends and their family.

But now the capitalists and the government want to take that away from people – forcing us to work till we drop. The same is not expected of the people at the top of society.


Iran

A very dodgy dossier

Cast your minds back to the 'hostage crisis' sparked last March when Iran detained 15 British naval personnel from the Shatt al-Arab waterway that runs between Iraq and Iran.

The British government cried foul and paraded a ministry of defence map that purported to 'prove' that the sailors were on the Iraqi side of the maritime border, and that their seizure was an aggressive act by Iran.

But a report into the incident released last Sunday by a House of Commons committee paints a rather different picture. It reveals that the government's prized map was about as reliable as its dodgy dossiers.

'There is evidence to suggest that the map of the Shatt al-Arab waterway provided by the government was less clear than it ought to have been,' the report concludes. 'The government was fortunate that it was not in Iran's interests to contest the accuracy of the map.'

Is there anything this government says about the war that isn't a bare-faced lie?


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What We Think
Tue 24 Jul 2007, 18:14 BST
Issue No. 2061
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