Socialist Worker

No expense is too small for Mr Fox’s fantastic journeys

Issue No. 2374

Former Tory minister Liam Fox really is trying to tighten his belt, if the latest MPs’ expense forms are anything to go. No claim was too small for the right wing skinflint—who even claimed 3p for one car journey of 0.06 miles. That’s about four lengths of the typical swimming pool.

Fox made 15 claims of less than £1, adding up to £38,66.81 in travel last year. That makes up for the £3,000 he had to give back for allowing his friend Adam Werritty to live rent-free at his expenses-funded second home.

The total amount of MPs’ expenses is creeping up again now that the spotlight has moved on. The total amount including wages for MPs’ close relatives went up 7 percent last year to £98 million.

And MPs claimed a total of £23 million in personal allowances—which, if you can milk the system for every metre the way Fox does—would get you all the way to the moon and back.

  • Meanwhile MPs in Australia have clearly been learning from their colleagues in Britain. The Coalition government of new prime minister Tony Abbott is already embroiled in its own expenses scandal. Coalition MPs, including Abbott himself, have claimed thousands in “overseas study” expenses to attend weddings. Three MPs  went in the private jet of mining boss Gina Rinehart to the wedding of her business partner’s granddaughter—and claimed over £7,000 for their flights home.

A month in isolation for growing a beard

There are boys in almost every high school who convince themselves they can grow a beard, and often get a mild telling off for their trouble. But woe betide Muslim boys who don’t shave for religious reasons at Mount Carmel School in Accrington.

Two 14 year olds have been put in isolation all day for almost a month. The school denies singling out Muslims. But a relative of one boy said, “Because these boys cannot shave their beards for religious reasons, they are being put in isolation for six and a half hours every day.

“They are not being allowed to mix with anybody or speak to friends. It is pure discrimination.”


US shutdown hits racists

The shutdown of the US government has thrown 800,000 workers temporarily onto the streets and closed services. 

But every cloud has a silver lining. The racist Ku Klux Klan had to cancel its rally in Maryland as its venue, the site of a bloody civil war battle, was forced to close.


Cheque in post for greedy landlords?

Property developers must be rubbing their hands in glee at Royal Mail’s privatisation plan. Bosses are preparing to flog mail centres and delivery offices in prime London locations for a massive windfall.

Mount Pleasant could get them £1 billion, and Nine Elms another £500 million. There’s a price tag on Paddington too—with other sites lined up as having “potential”. But when putting a price on Royal Mail for privatisation, bosses valued their sites at just £787 million—meaning that we have been massively short-changed.


No escape from Facebook

If you struggle to log out of Facebook long enough for a “digital detox”, spare a thought for the corporation’s staff. 

Facebook is building 400 flats next to its head office in California—so its lucky, lucky workers never get too far away. 


Hospital cuts from maternity to mortuary

No one likes a milk snatcher. But health bosses in Lancashire plan to stop giving formula milk to new mothers for the sake of saving £24,000. They defend the cut at Burnley General Hospital and nearby midwife-led units, saying it will boost breastfeeding rates.

Those who can’t or prefer not to breastfeed are being told to bring enough milk to last their hospital stay. The hospital also wants to close its mortuary next year—forcing bereaved families to do their grieving in Blackburn.


More yachts anyone?

Not every millionaire can afford to keep up with the mega-yachts of the likes of Roman Abramovich.

But for just £1.9 million they can now settle for parking next to the marina in the next best thing - the Elemment Palazzo Land Yacht. This jumped up camper van has three floors and an upper deck that raises with the flick of a button.


Tories no match for protesters

Organisers of the Tory party conference last month had a simple solution to the massive protest of more than 50,000 people against austerity outside.

They hired a lounge pianist to try and drown out the chants of "Tory scum" with popular hits.

It must have been tiring work - as the protest took more than two hours to march past.


KNOW YOUR ENEMY No. 2477

Paul Dacre, Daily Mail editor

  • Gets paid £1.8 million a year for pandering to all the nastiest prejudices
  • Boasts of supporting Lawrence family—but had allegedly planned to smear their supporters until discovering Stephen’s dad had worked for him
  • Made MailOnline a success with its “sidebar of shame” of sleazy photos. It described eight year old Leni Klum as a “leggy beauty” this year

FAULTY FIRM

First Great Western Rubbish rail racketeers

  • Was granted an extra 23 months on its franchise last week—despite a long record of lateness and chronic overcrowding
  • Put fares up 210 percent since privatisation—three times the rate of inflation
  • Boss Mark Hopwood had to apologise to more than 500 passengers in August. They were trapped on a train for nearly six hours

Not every millionaire can afford to keep up with the mega-yachts of the likes of Roman Abramovich. But for just £1.9 million they can now settle for parking next to the marina in the next best thing—the Elemment Palazzo Land Yacht. This jumped up camper van has three floors and an upper deck that raises with the flick of a button.


Organisers of the Tory conference last month had a simple solution to the massive protest of more than 50,000 people against austerity outside. They hired a lounge pianist to try and drown out the chants of “Tory scum” with popular hits. Must have been tiring work, as the protest took more than two hours to march past.


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The Troublemaker
Tue 8 Oct 2013, 16:32 BST
Issue No. 2374
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