Socialist Worker

Luxury self-isolation for the haves and the have-Yachts during corona crisis

Issue No. 2701

David Geffens superyacht The Rising Sun is 453 feet long with eight guest cabins and 30 crew cabins - but apparently it can be claustrophobic

David Geffen's superyacht The Rising Sun is 453 feet long with eight guest cabins and 30 crew cabins - but apparently it can be claustrophobic (Pic: anoldent/Flickr)


Entertainment mogul David Geffen was forced to delete a social media post boasting of isolating on a superyacht.

His talk of self-isolating on a £474 million superyacht made a few too many people angry.

But many other members of the super-rich community have defied travel restrictions to fly by private jet to “quarantine” on their luxury yachts.

Rupert Connor from Luxury Yacht Group LLC said a number of private yacht owners “have elected to ­isolate on their yachts”.

“It is a very wonderful oasis from the madness that is enveloping the world,” he explained. “Many of the larger yachts have supplies for long range cruising, their ­engineering systems can support them for months at a time and most of the crew have medical training.”

Other yacht brokers are offering charters.

Jonathan Beckett of luxury yacht broker Burgess said some people have booked seven-week charters “to see out the pandemic”.

“They will be home ­schooling, but the children will also have cooking lessons with the chef and spend time in the engine room with the engineers learning the more technical sides of yachting,” he explained.

Some stressed the perils of being on a massive luxury boat. Rumble Romagnoli of Relevance, a luxury digital marketing firm, said it can be “quite claustrophobic” .

“It’s not that pleasurable,” he claimed. Yet yacht trading continues, as Connor described how some ­prospective buyers “have already started to sense an opportunity”.


On Fisher Island, which Bloomberg has called the richest postcode in the US, everybody is getting antibody tests for coronavirus.

In the rest of South Florida, it’s not so easy to get the test, which detects antibodies that have been produced as a result of exposure to Covid-19.

Island spokesperson Lisa Worley said it was “not our intent” to create an impression that some people would receive preferential treatment.

In 2015 the average income among Fisher Island residents was £2 million. Apartments sell for up to £32 million.


Lab bosses ‘surprise’ at calls from Gilligan

The Tories have brought in former right wing “journalist” Andrew Gilligan to negotiate with private sector pathology labs.

He has no science or medical background and is now a transport adviser to the Tories.

One lab director said, “He was attempting to negotiate how we might donate key machines to the NHS testing regime and did not know we were already using our resources to carry out Covid-19 screening for NHS staff.”

A lab executive told the Open Democracy website that he was surprised to receive a call from Gilligan.

He said, “I thought to myself at the time, what the fuck is Andrew Gilligan doing making this request on behalf of Number 10?”


Greedy energy firms grab £1.7 billion in overpaid bills

As millions of people struggle with money due to the coronavirus crisis, it’s nice to know energy firms are doing their bit to help.

Some 1.4 million people have now applied for Universal Credit as bosses lay off staff or cut hours due to the crisis.

More and more people worry they can’t afford to buy enough food or pay bills.

But energy firms have grabbed a whopping £1.7 billion from us in overpaid bills.

A survey last week found that nearly 13 million gas and energy customers are owed up to £200 each from overpaid accounts.

The price comparison site uswitch.com discovered the scandal after carrying out a poll of 2,000 people.

People are paying too much in monthly direct debits compared to the energy they actually use.

The survey found that the total owed to gas and electricity customers was £230 million higher than last year—a rise of 13.5 percent.

The average credit due per household was £136.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they didn’t know how to claim a refund.


Row over cops’ Taser targets

A number of groups have left the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) independent Taser advisory group in protest at the lack of action over disproportionate use of Tasers against black and Asian people.

Use of Tasers rose by 39 percent last year. Home Office figures show that black people in England and Wales are nearly eight times more likely to be targeted with them.

Liberty, Inquest, StopWatch and the Open Society, and policing expert Dr Mike Shiner all resigned from the taser advisory group last month.

They said a secret decision in February to absorb a planned assessment of the disproportionate use of guns against ethnic minorities showed concerns weren’t being taken seriously.

In a joint resignation letter they wrote that the advisory group’s “existence is relied on to legitimise current use of Taser”.

They added that cops had not “treated the issues we have raised with the level of seriousness they warrant”.

Shiner said the NPCC was using the group “for decorative purposes, creating a false impression of consultation and engagement”.

“Police powers are being increased without increases in scrutiny and accountability,” he warned. “The rollout of Taser represents a significant escalation in the weaponisation of the police.

“There is a real danger that we’re sleepwalking into military-style policing.”

Last month the Home Office announced that police forces would get a further £6.7 million to buy over 8,000 new Tasers.

It follows £10 million of ringfenced funding handed over last September.

Some 18 people have died after being shot with a Taser, according to Amnesty International. Police used Tasers 22,059 times in 2018-19.


Tory in trouble over buns

A Tory councillor has been forced to deny baking a swastika into a hot cross bun and posting an image of it on Snapchat.

Former city lord mayor Lee Mason denies the allegation, although he admitted baking the words, “Sex,” and, “Fuck” into some buns.

The Tories have suspended Mason, a councillor in Portsmouth.

Mason said, “I have not baked a bun with a Nazi symbol. I baked some cakes, yes, but I haven’t done a Nazi symbol on any of them.”


Over 100,000 Disney workers lose pay

Walt Disney will stop paying more than 100,000 employees from this week.

The Financial Times newspaper said this would save the firm up to £400 million a month.

Disney made an operating income of over £1.1 billion in the last three months of 2019.


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