Socialist Worker

Slick partners in government

Issue No. 1716

inside the system

Slick partners in government

PRIVATE EYE has revealed more links between New Labour and the oil companies. Blair appointed Shell chairman Mark Moody-Stuart to chair the Renewable Energy Task Force in July.

The only thing Shell has "renewed" in recent years is its headquarters. Environment minister Michael Meacher made Shell's company secretary, Jyoti Munsiff, a member of the Sustainable Development Education Panel.

Education secretary David Blunkett thinks the people who brought us the Piper Alpha disaster, destruction of Ogoni land in Nigeria, obscene profits, global warming and expensive petrol should dictate our children's education.

He put Shell boss Stella Earnshaw on the Funding Agency for Schools and approved Shell's role in the Education Action Zone in Lambeth, south London. Blunkett's junior, Estelle Morris, addressed Esso's "numeracy conference".

A month later Home Office minister Charles Clarke launched a schools pack made by Esso and other firms to "help young people understand the responsibilities of business within the community".

To cap it all Bryan Grote, executive vice-president of BP, was put on the business panel New Labour set up to lecture public sector workers on efficiency and quality of service.


Bosses back euro

SOME SUPPORTERS of joining the European single currency claim it will benefit workers. But the main pro-euro organisation, Britain in Europe, is just as dominated by big business as the rival anti-euro Business for Sterling campaign.

The 23 biggest financial backers of Britain in Europe include tobacco giant BAT, British Telecom Communications, Kellogg's, KPMG, Reuters, Unilever, Dyson Appliances, ICL, BAE Systems and General Utilities.

Colombian local authorities have begun court proceedings against BAT for tobacco smuggling. A BBC Newsnight investigation last week showed footage of BAT employees in West Africa deliberately targeting young people with free tobacco to get them hooked.


  • FIRMS running housing benefits across Britain are proof of the madness of privatisation.

Complaints over late payments of housing benefit soared by 73 percent in the last year.

Four London boroughs' privatised housing benefit services account for 60 percent of all the complaints received in London. They are Southwark, run by CSL; Lambeth, run by Capita; and Hackney and Islington, both run by ITNet.


Dome troubles

  • THE TORY press has turned against the Dome, conveniently forgetting it was a

Tory idea which they backed. But, the Sun, Mail and Telegraph refuse to put the Dome's directors in the firing line alongside New Labour ministers.

The guilty Dome directors include: David Quarmby, chairman of the British Tourist Authority; Ian Ash, a director of BT; Sir Alan Cockshaw, chairman of English Partnerships; Sue Whittaker, chairman of Northgate and Prudhoe NHS Trust; Michael Grade, chairman of Pinewood Studios; and Sir Brian Jenkins, chairman of the Woolwich.

The Sun particularly avoided going for Sam Chisholm. He is a former chief executive of BSkyB-the satellite TV company of Sun owner Rupert Murdoch.

  • NEW LIGHT has been cast on the Tories' chief Dome basher, their culture spokesperson Peter Ainsworth.

A letter from the archive of the Oxford Union (the University's posh debating club) reveals his sympathy for the Nazi National Front in the 1970s.

Ainsworth was a member of the far right Monday Club while he was a student at Oxford University. His letter, dated 18 April 1978, complains he has been denied permission to hold a meeting at the Oxford Union with National Front leader John Tyndall as guest speaker.


GM war on coca

BLAIR WANTS Britain to lead in the production of genetically modified organisms. Yet the Foreign Office gave �100,000 to develop fungi for use in biological warfare, according to leaked US State Department documents.

The fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, is for use in Colombia's rainforests, supposedly to destroy its coca crops-source of 80 percent of the world's cocaine. But it will also destroy vital food crops.


Mail let off jail

A DAILY Mail reporter who posed as a begging Romanian refugee will escape prosecution for vagrancy. Journalist Lesley Saunders wrapped a doll to look like a child and begged for money in March. It was part of the Mail's hate campaign against "Eastern European beggars".

Police arrested her, but last week court proceedings against her were dropped. Refugees arrested for begging face a �25 fine or a day in jail.


  • The Liberal Democrats-can you trust them? Their leader, Charles Kennedy, declared last week he was against raising fuel tax.

A day later his book The Future of Politics was published. On page 62 he calls for steadily increasing taxes on fuel.

  • NEW Labour is so vindictive that it is copying the methods of the Russian dictator Stalin to deal with its opponents.

Ken Livingstone was due to address several fringe meetings at the Labour Party conference.

But the conference guide makes no mention of him speaking. The RMT union says the wording advertising a meeting it is sponsoring was mysteriously changed. Livingstone's name was deleted and replaced with "and other speakers".

THINGS THEY SAY

"WE GO forward! If we doggedly carry out the battle plan we will gain significant improvements. Persistence is needed because staff have to be constantly told what to do. Some of the most charming, helpful people are the most ineffective workers."

  • Internal ROYAL MAIL management memo from Exeter

"IT HAS 1,000 pairs of �800 diamond earrings"

  • Jeweller ERIK VAN PETERSON on the �800,000 dress by designer Maria Grachvogel

"IT'S TIME to stop the self indulgence over the pensions issue and get behind the prime minister and the chancellor by telling the public what Labour has done for working people."

  • Ultra-Blairite KEN JACKSON, leader of the AEEU engineers' and electricians' union

"GPs ARE the gatekeepers of the National Health Service. The survey shows that they are not as confident in the health service as they were just a few years ago."

  • ADELE WATERS of the medical newspaper GP, after a survey finding one in three doctors have turned to private healthcare over the last few years

"THE interiors are beginning to look like charter jets off to Majorca."

  • THE QUEEN complaining about the condition of her private planes. They were duly polished, costing �5,000

"IF YOU'VE got Virgin that has made its name in opening up new services, and the health service that is great but you know there's a problem in the way sometimes patients are treated, I think it's fine to look at that."

  • TONY BLAIR defending the Public-Private Partnership

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Article information

News
Sat 30 Sep 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1716
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