You’d need a heart of stone not to shed a tear for outsourcing empire Serco this week.
Its share value plummeted 30 percent after it wrote off £1.5 billion in losses and announced desperate plans to claw back £550 billion from shareholders.
Serco boss Rupert Soames—grandson of anti-semitic warmonger Winston Churchill—laments that it’s a “bitter pill to swallow”.
Serco is one of those companies that’s waiting in the wings whenever a public service is privatised.
But it specialises in those security “services” where tough men get to help locking people up.
In Britain that means things like its prisoner escort service, which was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office last year.
Then there’s its contract housing asylum seekers, in which it was rapped for failing to provide them with adequate homes.
Bosses admit making major “strategic mis-steps” by taking on contracts beyond their expertise.
They failed to cash in on supporting helicopter missions for the navy, and a whopping £150 million maintaining Australian patrol boats.
But luckily for them they can rely on their core business to soften the blow.
Serco has won the right to keep running the Australian militarised prison camps for asylum seekers that boosted its profits by 28 percent over the past four years—and where levels of self harm are rocketing.
If you’ve been on the internet lately, you can’t have missed the smug pundits comparing Russell Brand’s writing style to Blur’s 1994 hit Parklife.
The joke is that the comedian turned revolutionary uses long words despite having a working class Essex accent.
Brand has now got in on the joke on his Youtube channel, with his own Parklife cover attacking the Tories and the rich.
Shifty Osborne and his fake discounts
George Osborne has never been one to let the truth get in the way of a made up number.
Now he’s taking lessons from those adverts that try to make a pricey sofa sound like a good deal by pretending it used to cost twice as much.
Osborne boasted that he brought Britain’s payments to the European Union (EU) down from £1.7 billion to £850 million.
But that’s all it was ever going to be. The higher figure doesn’t count Britain’s EU rebate—which has been in place since 1980.
Luxembourg’s government let nearly 350 companies including Pepsi, Ikea and AIG off paying hundreds of billions of pounds in taxes.
Accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers helped bosses get 548 tax discounts there in just two years.
Some ended up paying just 1 percent tax on the profits they channelled through the tiny tax haven.
Luxembourg’s prime minister at the time, Jean-Claude Juncker, is now president of the European Comm-ission.
Today’s lesson is on being shot by cops
If the friendly local bobbies are down to do a special assembly in your school, better beware.
One cop pepper-sprayed eight four and five year old children in Gwent, South Wales, last week.
He used a real canister instead of a fake one for a demonstration in their school.
The force has had to introduce a “no pepper spray in schools” policy.It’s PC gone mad.
But at least it wasn’t a school trip to meet the firearms officers.
One seven year old girl in Nottinghamshire was hit on the lip by a bullet cartridge after a cop fired live ammunition.
Meanwhile in Bradford one headteacher did her best to create a police state of her very own.
She sent home 215 students in just two days for not fitting her draconian uniform code.
Violations included wearing a coat outdoors.
Labour front benchers in search of a new leader could do worse than Andrew Farmer.
One in six people—and one in five Labour voters—claimed to recognise the fictional shadow minister in a recent poll.
True, he doesn’t really exist. But that can only be an advantage over real life privatisers and warmongers.
War hypocrisy is Top of the Poppies
The right wing media had fun shouting at the BBC last week. Apparently it “refused” to add charity song No Man’s Land to its wall-to-wall coverage of Remembrance Sunday.
The bigger omission is by singer Joss Stone, whose new version lops out half the lyrics. Specifically, the ones songwriter Eric Bogle wanted to make a “strong anti-war statement.”
Meanwhile organisers of the Poppy Rocks fundraising ball were “thrilled” to have arms dealers Lockheed Martin as the event’s sponsors.
Mail in a pickle over Hungary sarnie makers
The Daily Mail had a panic when a low-wage sandwich factory in Northamptonshire placed a job ad in Hungary.
Bosses pointed to low unemployment in the area.
The Mail managed to make the figures say Hungarian workers could boost their income from £184 a week to £254 a week by leaving home and crossing Europe to get the job. Who could resist?
Still, the Mail isn’t going to let its record of blaming immigrants when unemployment goes up stop it blaming immigrants when it goes down too.
Tony Blair’s monthly fee from a Saudi prince’s oil firm for making introductions to Chinese politicians. He also gets 2 percent commission
Blair’s pal Jim Murphy’s donation from property baron Alan Sharr—who previously donated to the Tory Party and to Michael Portillo’s bid to lead it
The Things They Say...
‘A genuine sense that the primary mission has been achieved’
Army boss General Sir Nicholas Houghton hopes long words can cover up the scale of the defeat in Afghanistan
‘David Cameron is arrogant and treats us like worms’
A senior Tory MP, according to the Financial Times
Elle magazine on model Myla Dalbesio, who has been hired to pose by underwear company Calvin Klein despite her waistline. She’s a size ten
‘If all this stuff about an anti-Miliband plot is true, then it is time for Tories to save Miliband’
London mayor Boris Johnson sneers at Labour’s plotters
‘It would be a gesture of disrespect for the innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles—and Bloody Sunday especially’
Derry-born Wigan Athletic footballer James McClean explains why he refused to wear a shirt with a poppy on it