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Government of the rich for the rich backed by Tony Benn?

Issue No. 2453

Going down graphic

Troublemaker is aware readers may be feeling queasy at five more years of government by the Bullingdon club.

That Michael Gove got a promotion is bad enough.  

George Osborne remains chancellor, and Theresa May continues as home secretary.

Iain Duncan Smith will stay put as work and pensions secretary. Which is nice for him and dreadful for everybody else. 

The department for work and pensions moved to examine cutting a scheme that helps disabled people into work—hours after the Tories won the election.

The Access to Work fund helps people and employers cover costs of disabilities that might be a barrier to work. 

Duncan Smith is also set to make swingeing cuts to child benefits and child tax credits and may abolish maternity pay to slice £12 billion from the welfare budget.

Mark Harper is the new chief whip. 

He will be able to remind colleagues in trouble of the merits of a quick resignation, as he quit as immigration minister over his cleaner’s visa in February last year. Isabella Acevedo was deported. Harper, who came up with the racist anti-immigrant vans, has been promoted.

Robert Halfon will become deputy leader of the Conservative Party. 

His election flyer prominently featured Labour’s traditional red colours, focused on immigration, a British “bill of rights” and making St George’s Day a national holiday. He even managed a picture of Tony Benn on the leaflet.

Oliver Letwin has been promoted to full cabinet member and will move from the government’s policy unit to the Cabinet Office.

Letwin wrote a book called Privatising the World. He described Andrew Lansley’s “liberation” of the NHS.

In 2011 he was dumping documents, including the personal information of constituents, into a bin in London’s St James’ Park.

The bloke in charge of culture, John Whittingdale, is against gay equality but then again so is education secretary Nicky Morgan. 

Oh and Boris Johnson is in the cabinet. 

Aaah... Baby Charlotte

A zoo in Japan was in trouble last week after calling a baby monkey Charlotte. 

The name was chosen by public vote. The zoo had to apologise after others complained it was disrespectful because the latest royal scrounger in Britain is called Charlotte too.

But it is only “reconsidering” renaming the animal.

The 'criminals' get younger every day

Police in Derbyshire spent 45 minutes questioning a four year old, a six year old and their mother last week because the children were playing outside.

Mother Andree said, “We’ve always told them to respect the police, and that the police catch baddies, so they were pretty confused.”

Pope might forgive the ‘sin of abortion’

The pope has graciously ordered that women who have had abortions can be pardoned by priests from next year.

This means women can seek forgiveness from the church for having the audacity to control their own bodies.

Doctors who perform the procedures will also be able to ask for absolution.

Apparently the pope has decided that 2016 will be a Holy Year of Mercy. 

But in case you were getting too relaxed cardinal Velasio De Paolis stressed, “This does not cancel the sin of abortion.”

Anti-corruption tsar

Ex-minister Eric Pickles has bagged himself a host of jobs, among them anti-corruption tsar. 

The same Eric Pickles closed down the main public sector anti-corruption unit. One of the new Counter Fraud Centre’s wheezes is a “global risk register” in partnership with arms firm BAE Systems.

Does ‘axis of evil’ now include Texas?

A new US war was closely averted last week—for now. 

A leaked map of military exercises for 1,200 US special forces troops showed Texas marked as “hostile territory”.

Panic ensued. Some claimed the exercise was a secret plot for Washington to invade Texas.

Governor Greg Abbott said it was important that Texans “know their safety, constitutional rights, property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed”.

Defence sources said the map referred to role play. 

But Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said many people don’t believe a government that has been “disrespecting 

the liberties of citizens”.

Tobacco tackles Islam

The tobacco industry has been waging a sort of religious war for decades.

 The companies’ tactics have included portraying religious objections to tobacco as a form of extremism, analysis of years of industry documents reveals.

“The industry has sought to distort and misinterpret the cultural beliefs and to reinterpret them to serve the industry’s interests,” said Kelley Lee, one of the authors of the study. “All to sell a product that kills half of its customers.”

A 1996 British American Tobacco (BAT) document, for instance, described the “Islamic threat,” including rising fundamentalism, as a “real danger” to the industry. “This amounts to us having to prepare to fight a hurricane,” the memo warns.

Cameron goes gardening

David Cameron may have been hankering after a spot of gardening leave after the election.

He applied to the local council for permission to enlarge the garden of his constituency home in leafy Chipping Norton.

He used part of the £300,000 he inherited from his dad to buy the land—previously designated for agricultural use—from his neighbour, the Tory donor Lord Chadlington.

Revolving door

George Osborne will begin his second term as chancellor without his chief of staff, Rupert Harrison, who is leaving government.

The former Eton head boy left to take a job in the city. Which is only fair since he did so much for them. 


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The Troublemaker
Tue 12 May 2015, 18:00 BST
Issue No. 2453
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