Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/649/10710
News in brief
DID THE newly appointed Tory peer, Howard Flight, confuse EU farm subsidies with child benefit when he said such payments will encourage "breeding"? If not, then the millionaire banker, recently elevated to the House of Lords by prime minister David Cameron, is yet another ermine-clad, state subsidised, Tory bigot.
Flight - who has long advocated slashing spending on public services - ignoring the plight of 3.9 million children living in poverty, attacked child benefits with the following reactionary nonsense: "We're going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it's jolly expensive, but for those on benefit there is every incentive."
SPEAKING OF Tory bigots, London fire boss Brian Coleman continues to spew political bile on the capital's firefighters.
His latest outburst against the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), whose members were threatened with mass sackings unless they agreed to unacceptable changes in working practices, hypocritically accused the FBU of 'thuggish' behaviour.
Coleman, a Tory councillor and London Assembly member for Barnet who was appointed fire boss by Mayor Boris Johnson, said: "Most of the union officials... are thick, can't string a sentence together and frankly are incoherent. We have to break the FBU... They will fail in the end because neither I nor the fire authority, nor the Mayor of London nor this government is going to give way to this kind of intimidation."
Beyond the Palin
WHO DO Republicans in the USA back in the conflict on the Korean peninsula? That's right, North Korea! Well, at least if failed presidential candidate and Tea Party favourite Sarah Palin has anything to do with US foreign policy.
When asked about the escalating tensions by Glenn Beck, the right-wing Fox News presenter, the 'pit bull in lipstick' told listeners: "Obviously we gotta stand with our North Korean allies."
Can we expect Kim Jong-il to be her running mate in the 2012 US presidential elections?
NHS vultures circle
THE PRIVATE hospital company, Circle, has been given a ten-year contract to run the 389-bed Hitchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. This is the first time that an entire NHS hospital has been privatised. Under the deal the NHS will retain the hospital's assets but the workers will be transferred to the new owners.
The CBI bosses' organisation described the deal as "trailblazing", with private operators licking their lips at the prospect of tucking into the NHS's multi-billion pound annual budget.
Within the NHS's 'internal market' the hospital, which has a £90 million turnover, has accumulated a £38.8 million 'debt'. How a private company can make a profit given the hospital's size of debt, raises the nightmare prospect of large-scale cuts in jobs and services being made.
In The Socialist 1 December 2010:
Youth Fight for Education
Socialist Party editorial
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis