Socialist Worker

Hedge fund boss Mitt Romney launches new hostile takeover

Issue No. 2319


Mitt Romney is now the US Republican party’s official nominee to take on Obama in the presidential election. But just who is Mitt Romney anyway?

Well, he’s just an ordinary all-American down-home rootin-tootin apple-pie hedge fund vulture with a fortune of £150 million.

Willard Mitt Romney, to give him his full name, made his cash from Bain Capital. Bain specialises in buying companies using “leverage”—debt—and then making the firms pay its interest.

Romney even has his own equivalent of the Tories’ Bullingdon Club photo—a picture of him and the Bain partners waving dollar bills.

Mike Earnest, a former employee at a company called American Pad and Paper that shut in 1994, has talked about Bain’s methods.

“Out of the blue one day, we were told to build a 30-foot stage,” he said. “Gathered the guys, and we built that 30-foot stage, not knowing what it was for.

“Just days later, all three shifts were told to assemble in the warehouse. A group of people walked out on that stage, and told us that the plant is now closed, and all of you are fired. Turns out that when we built that stage, it was like building my own coffin.”

Mitt Romney’s firm made over £60 million by shutting the paper company. Romney says it’s all part of the “creative destruction inherent in a free economy”.

And though it perhaps isn’t the worst of his crimes, this one is still worth noting. In the summer of 1983, Mitt Romney went for a 12-hour drive from Boston to Ontario. He took the family dog, Seamus—by strapping his dog carrier to the roof.


Fox of tricks

Mitt Romney has at least one friend this side of the Atlantic—disgraced former Tory minister Liam Fox. Fox has reportedly been “feeding ideas” to Romney’s circle of advisers. He is linked to them through the “Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom”.


Drones on phones

Apple has banned an app that tracks US drone strikes in Afghanistan, putting up on-screen notifications as they happen. The iPhone firm at first said the Drones+ app was not “entertaining” enough to be on the device.

Then Apple decided it was in fact “objectionable”. The app, that is, not the drone strikes themselves.


Currie’s record of bigotry

Edwina Currie showed what Tories think of disabled people last week, saying Paralympic athletes looked good “even in wheelchairs”. It’s not the first time she’s let their real views slip through.

In the 1980s she claimed that “good Christian people” don’t get Aids. She also once said northerners die of “ignorance and chips”.


Cameron’s always got time to quaff

David Cameron snuck off to sip wine during an official trip to Australia—costing us £13,000. The summit trip cost £821,000.

But Cameron turned up late, and then spent an hour and a half visiting the Sandalford Winery. He enjoyed a private tour of the vineyard.

Cameron skipped the summit’s final day. Asked why, he said there were “a lot of pressures” on his time.


Bed bugs in Bolton

Health bosses have closed wards in Bolton—because they won’t buy new doors to stop hospital superbugs spreading.

There have been 30 cases of C Difficile at the Royal Bolton hospital in eight months. To stop it spreading the hospital would need to put in doors between wards.

But the bosses claim the hospital can’t afford the £40,000 the doors would cost—so they’ve just been closing the wards instead.

An investigation was launched this month after it was discovered that £3.8 million of the hospital’s budget had somehow disappeared “unaccounted for”.


Barclays’ new chief is no Mr Nice Guy

New Barclays boss Antony Jenkins will pocket £8.6 million a year to replace fallen banker Bob Diamond. The press are calling Jenkins a “safe pair of hands” and even “the nice guy of banking”.

But when Jenkins ran Barclaycard he sacked 630 people from a Manchester call centre. Then he closed a Northampton card printing site, firing another 160. Nice.

And just how did Barclays manage to get billions of pounds of emergency funding from Middle Eastern regimes instead of taking a British government bailout during the 2008 banking collapse? The question has been often asked, but never answered.

But a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) inquiry into payments the bank made to Qatar Holding for “advisory services” will reopen it. The bank paid the firm £66 million for helping to “arrange” the deal. Hmm.

Still, nice guy Jenkins will sort it all out.


Millions on free schools that won’t open

At least £2.3 million of public money has been spent on free schools that are now not going to open, it has been revealed.

Many free school projects have collapsed after a lack of interest from parents or a failure to find suitable buildings.

The cash was spent on the One In A Million Free School in Bradford, the Chorley Career and Sixth Form Academy and Riverdale Primary School in London, among others. All have been scrapped.


Another victim of Atos benefit tests has died

A woman with cancer who had her benefits cut after an Atos test has died. Cecilia Burns from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, was assessed by the government contractor. It told her she was “fit to?work”.

Her benefits were cut by £30 a week even though she was being treated for breast cancer. She won an appeal a few weeks ago, but then sadly died.

Cecilia was one of the 2.6 million people on incapacity benefit that the government plans to “reassess” over the next two years.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 4 Sep 2012, 17:52 BST
Issue No. 2319
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.