Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/677/12311
News in brief
Tory education minister Michael Gove attacked the 30 June pensions strike by teachers on the grounds that taking such action would sully the good name of the teaching profession. This is rich coming from an MP whose 'profession' is reviled for ripping-off the public purse with bogus expenses claims, cash for questions, honours and influence, and then claiming a gold-plated pension to boot!
The average pension for a teacher after a lifetime of work is around £10,000 a year - while an MP's pension is over £37,000 a year after 20 years.
Children's homes axed
Tory-run Essex county council has formally decided to close its six remaining residential children's homes leaving 131 staff and 29 children facing an uncertain future.
The council claims that "the best interests of the children" were paramount in the decision but the closures will destroy the accumulated professional knowledge of the children's service, which has been praised for its pioneering approach to child development.
Moreover, as the Socialist previously pointed out, while some children may be found placements in foster care this does not suit every child. One of the children affected wrote to David Cameron and told him he had 15 foster placements before settling in his current home.
The real danger though is that children find themselves in the private residential sector where profit is the main focus.
The government says it hasn't got the cash to fund public services but it seems to have a bottomless purse when it comes to bombing Libya. Since the coalition government joined Nato action in Libya it has spent £250 million in an attempt to oust colonel Gaddafi and bring about regime change. Some estimates suggest the bill could easily rise to £1 billion as the civil war between Gaddafi's regime and the Libyan rebels drags on.
Back in March a sanguine chancellor, George Osborne, told the UK parliament that the costs of the military operation would be in the tens, not the hundreds of millions.
The world's richest individuals have seen their wealth soar nearly 10% last year to reach a staggering $42.7 trillion. Of these 'ultra-high net worth individuals' the top 1% (roughly 103,000 people) control fully some $15 trillion.
However, for ordinary mortals the years since 2008 have been characterised by wage cuts, rising unemployment and massive government austerity measures. According to the Financial Times: "Fork-lift truck drivers in Britain could expect to earn £19,068 in 2010, about 5% lower than in 1978, after adjusting for inflation. Median male real US earnings have not risen since 1975. Average real Japanese household incomes after taxation fell in the decade to mid-2000s. And those in Germany have been falling in the past ten years."
In The Socialist 29 June 2011:
30 June pensions strike
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party features
Socialist Party events