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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 August 2012

Them & Us

One person's tragedy...

In issue 730 of the Socialist, Iain Dalton reported on the world food crisis. But evidently, crops failing and the resulting unaffordable food prices and potential starvation isn't such a tragedy for everyone. The director of agriculture at commodity trading company Glencore, Chris Mahoney, said: "The environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities [taking advantage of differences in prices in different markets]. We will be able to provide the world with solutions... and that should also be good for Glencore." As Iain said in his article "While the food industry is controlled by private companies for profit and speculators control prices, millions will continue to starve or suffer malnutrition."

Top up

£65,738 a year just isn't enough for some MPs - dozens are subsidising their parliamentary salary with money from consultancy, legal work, public speaking or company directorships. For some this means they end up with 13 times their official pay packet! 68 MPs get more than £100,000 a year from outside earnings. The top earners in the last year were Gordon Brown (£900,286 from speeches, academia and charity) and David Miliband (£410,171 from consultancy and public speaking). Not so hard to see why they seem so disconnected from the 99% and the problems we're facing!

Snail's pace

The Labour Party attacked the Tories recently for their plans (or lack thereof) for building social housing for the poorest. Disgracefully Tory councils only plan to build an average of 20 each over the next three years! But Labour shouldn't criticise too much - their councils are only planning to build an average of 100 - less than 34 a year. Considering there are millions of people waiting on council house waiting lists and millions of others desperately struggling to survive in the private rented sector, all three parties' plans are vastly insufficient. We need investment in a mass building programme of good quality, publicly owned, affordable homes in every area of the country.

A Laws unto himself

David Laws has been welcomed back into the fold of the Liberal Democrat front benchers. You may have been surprised to see him back after only a little over two years. Laws infamously held his post as chief secretary to the treasury for only 17 days in 2010 when it was revealed that he had over-claimed £40,000 in parliamentary expenses for second home costs when he was renting from his partner. But all that is forgotten now. Not like the benefit claimants caught living with a partner without declaring it who face huge fines or even jail.

Dirty money

You can tell a lot about a person by who their friends are. And the same is true of parties. The Tories received £440,000 from business interests of crook Asil Nadir between 1985 and 1990. Nadir then left Britain in 1993 to avoid being charged with theft but has now been jailed for ten years for stealing nearly £29 million from his company Polly Peck. Even Lord McAlpine, former Tory treasurer, recognised that the money should be returned. In fact he correctly said it should have been given back in 1993! As yet nobody seems to have acted on his suggestions...

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In The Socialist 29 August 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Paralympics, Atos scandal, Remploy closures... Con-Dems win gold for hypocrisy!

Build for a 24-hour general strike!

The Julian Assange case

Galloway's ignorant comments

Gove stole our exam grades!

Crisis services handed over to charity food banks

Them & Us

Socialist Party workplace news

Building workers fight pay cut threat

Sparks protest at London Crown House site

Local government pension scheme

Sheffield recycling workers to resume strike action

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike

Jobs and homes, not racism

East Midlands: Save our ambulance service

NHS: Unions must defend national pay bargaining

TUSC councillor rejects Walsall cuts 'consultation'


Prison work - 3 a day is exploitation for profit

Women's prisons - Con-Dems' 'reforms' mean cuts and privatisation

International socialist news and analysis

Norway: Mass murderer Anders Breivik gets life sentence

Kazakhstan: Human rights campaigner Vadim Kuramshin freed

Reviews and comments

Leon Trotsky: A revolutionary's life

Fight council tax benefit cuts

The 'madness' of building homes

Socialist Party news

Notting Hill carnival-goers support Lonmin miners

Socialist Party summer camp

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Save our computer server!


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