Socialist Worker

Why do the Tories bail out banks but not flood victims?

Issue No. 2310


The Tories seem to think the “Big Society” can deal with the floods sweeping swathes of Britain. But it doesn’t look like it.

They slashed spending on flood defences by 27 percent in their first year in office.

Now large parts of the country are underwater after being hit by storms and torrential rain.

The chaos left thousands without power. Hundreds more were evacuated from their homes.

One man, Mike Ellis, died after he was swept away while trying to escape floods in Shropshire.

And many are stuck with damage they can’t afford to repair.

You might think the government would at be least pretending to be taking action to protect people.

But you’d be wrong. Instead the government seems to be going out of its way to put us in even more danger.

Instead of increasing spending on flood defences they are going around private firms and councils with a begging bowl, trying to raise £70 million to pay for them. Who knows whether this money will actually show up.

A spokesperson said the changes gave “local people greater choice and control over protecting their community from flooding”. It might be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

Some five million homes are at risk of flooding. But it is the poorest who suffer the most from it—and presumably that’s why it’s not a priority for the Tories.


Israel's 'Red Cross' wants Palestinians dead

Israeli rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu has called for the deaths of a million Palestinians.

Palestinians have fought Israel’s occupation of their land since 1947.

Now Eliyahu has been chosen to head a supervisory committee for Magen David Adom—Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross.

How reassuring for people in Palestine.


Olympic fever... or not

Olympic fever is sweeping Britain… or it is? Hotel owners in London had licked their lips at the thought of making mega‑profits from Olympic visitors.

Now, with less than a month to go before the games begin, they are scrabbling to fill still empty rooms. Room prices have dropped 25 percent in the past fortnight.


Need work? Look in Iain’s imagination

Can’t find a job? You can’t be looking hard enough.

According to Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory minister for hounding the poor, 500,000 new job vacancies appear in job centres every week.

Unfortunately the reality is somewhat different.

Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions later confirmed, “On average Jobcentre Plus continues to add 10,000 jobs to its books every working day”.

That works out at 50,000 a week—somewhat fewer than Duncan Smith’s half a million.

What’s more, jobs are vanishing as bosses and Tories make cuts. Some 400 jobs go a week in Scotland alone.


People will lose thousands

New government statistics show that an average family will lose £7,100 between 2011 and 2015.

Without a hint of irony the Tories blamed low wages and high unemployment.

This is the same government that is freezing pay for millions of public sector workers and sacking thousands.


Pollution: not as important as profit

Not content with taking over the NHS, Virgin’s Richard Branson is looking to make money out of climate change.

In an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine Branson said, “The fight against greenhouse gases offers huge opportunities for profit.”

But as the owner of a polluting airline, Branson’s concern for the planet only goes so far.

Cutting flights would “lead humanity back into the dark ages” he added.


Who fuels the Tories?

Air pollution cuts life expectancy in Britain by up to eight months. But the government wants to delay European directives forcing it to tackle the problem.

Could this have anything to do with the fact that most pollution comes from vehicles—and vehicle firms are Tory donors?

John Griffin, chair of minicab firm Addison Lee, met the transport minister last year. That came after Addison Lee donated £250,000 to the Tories.


Private schools kick out poor but keep cash

Posh private schools subsidise a handful of places for poorer children—in return for charitable status that saves them millions of pounds in tax.

But now they’ve come up with a ruse that will let them dump the hoi polloi and still hold onto their tax breaks.

The Charity Commission now says “sharing” a few playing fields or sports facilities is enough.

This comes after private schools complained that being forced to educate poorer children is too “narrow” a way of defining them as charities.

What philanthropists.


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The Troublemaker
Tue 3 Jul 2012, 17:54 BST
Issue No. 2310
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