Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 November 2011

Them & Us

Rock bottom

Northern Rock, the failed bank rescued by the previous Labour government, has been sold off on the cheap to Virgin Money by the Con-Dems.

The government will receive 747 million from the sale of Northern Rock despite 1.4 billion of public funds injected into it since 2007. In other words the government has lost up to 650 million in this deal.

Northern Rock was the first UK casualty of the global financial meltdown and was nationalised in February 2008 to prevent its collapse. However, instead of being run democratically in the interest of ordinary people, the bank was split between one with 'good assets' - now sold off to Virgin - and another part holding the 'toxic assets'. The latter still owes the Treasury up to 21 billion!

Tory chancellor George Osborne described the sale as "value for money".

During its 'reorganisation' the government owned Northern Rock shed 3,000 jobs. Virgin Money says that it won't compulsorily sack any more workers 'for three years' but did not rule out 'natural wastage' job cuts.

St Paul's Occupation defies City Corporation

Despite legal threats from the City of London Corporation, the mood at Occupy London, outside St Paul's cathedral, remains defiant.

The direct response of occupiers to potentially lengthy legal proceedings and eviction has been to expand the occupation. Campaigners have taken over a huge abandoned office block owned by investment bank UBS. Renamed the 'Bank of Ideas', the building will be opened up to groups who have lost their community centres and youth clubs in the government's savage spending cuts.

This is only one of many empty properties in the City and raises the possibility of more widespread action as banks begin to repossess thousands of people's homes. Plus, many occupiers welcome the prospect of moving indoors if it starts to snow this winter!

The UBS building has also been opened up to unions on strike on 30 November. A conference and rally at the weekend brought together representatives of occupations across Britain and Ireland and fully backed the public sector strikes. Speakers from the trade union movement also pledged support to the occupation movement.

Duncan Money

Government benefits

As the Socialist warned last week, the government has now decided to end the uprating of benefits in line with inflation (5.2% in September). Instead, ministers will use a lower inflation rate (4.5%), saving the Con-Dem government 1 billion.

As a result, millions of disabled and unemployed people and their dependents will now lose hundreds of pounds a year. This savage cut is on top of other reductions in benefits in the past 18 months, including those benefits relating to housing costs.

The move is a cynical exercise by the government to cancel the proposed 3p a litre rise in fuel duty expected in January by getting the poorest and most vulnerable to make up the shortfall in government revenues - a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Education: profits, profits, profits!

A letter released to the Stock Exchange last week from Wey Education plc, a company headed by Zenna Atkins, ex-chair of Ofsted, speaks volumes for the government's education privatisation agenda.

"Wey is responding to the English market opportunity brought about by the transfer of state-run schools to independent charitable entities and the deconstruction of the education function within local authorities.

Within the 53 billion English education system, the standards achieved by pupils and the rounded quality of the education they receive need to be significantly improved. Additionally the evidential efficiencies that can be made in the operation of schools combine to make a clear opportunity to make a substantial return to investors and improve education in the UK."

Fuelling anger

I have just received my winter fuel allowance which has been cut by 50! For the past three years the over 60s have been getting 250 and over 80s 400. I am now getting 200 and the over 80s will be getting 300 - a 100 cut! I can only afford to put my heating on in the evening and with prices going up all the time even that is becoming a luxury.

I live in Maesteg, an ex-mining town in South Wales and all my pensioner friends are in the same situation, freezing in their own homes because we can't afford to keep warm. Age Concern Cymru has estimated that 12 pensioners a day will die in Wales because of cold homes and yet this government still cuts our winter fuel allowance.

As a 74 year old member of the Socialist Party I still put some change aside in my money jar every week so I can help our party get rid of a system that in the 21st century is legally murdering old people every winter.

Vi John, Socialist Party Wales

Fat Cat pay rockets

A year long inquiry into boardroom pay by the High Pay Commission think tank has revealed that the pay of top executives at a number of FTSE companies had risen by more than 4,000% on average in the last 30 years.

The report cites Barclays boss John Varley's pay of 4,365,636, which is 169 times more than the average worker in Britain today - a 4,899.4% increase since 1980.

This hike in fat cat salaries is in stark contrast to the shrinking pay packets of many workers, suffering a third year of pay freezes and soaring prices for heating, housing, transport and food.

What We Heard....

"Our whole lives are in this bag"

While selling the Socialist I met a young homeless couple. Their dedication to one another was endearing but their desperate plight was heartbreaking.

The girl was Asian, estranged from her family for being in a mixed relationship. He had been brought up in care; they had no family. They said they couldn't save up enough money for a deposit to rent a flat (in London that's over 1,000). They said they couldn't get work because they didn't have an address and they had waited for days at the local housing office only to be turned away.

The boy pointed to the bag he was carrying: "Our whole lives are in this bag".

After talking to them I can imagine the symbolic tents of the 'occupy' movement to becoming actual tent cities if we don't stop these attacks.

The smashing of the public sector is the removal of the safety net for workers. 30 November represents crucial steps of the organised working class moving to defend it.

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest

Get organised

Unite union members were out in force in Greenwich on Saturday campaigning against the cuts.

One of the highlights of the day was when a local shop worker came out from a major department store and asked how long we would be outside the shop. Initially I thought that we were going to be asked to move on.

She in fact wanted application forms so that she and her friends could all join the union. She had heard, from her grandmother, about what a great union branch we have and wanted to get organised.

Kaz, Greenwich Unite

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 23 November 2011:

Pensions' strike, N30

Enough is enough! Make N30 the start of a fight to stop all cuts

Reasons to be on strike

Socialist Party feature

Capitalism is crisis - there is an alternative - fight for socialism!

Socialist Party news and analysis

Con-Dems worsen the housing crisis

Massive job cuts undermining NHS

Millions unemployed - workers and students must unite and fight!

Them & Us

The Socialist - Readers' comments

Tragic effect of recession

Why I became a socialist

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Jarrow marchers put forward an alternative

No answers from politicians on Newsnight

Save Coventry Sure Start

Update: Occupy

Support the anti-cuts election challenge

State intimidation of young protesters

Tories and Labour fail to give 'Any Answers'

Women: sick of sexism, discrimination and cuts?

Mansfield - build houses, create jobs

Pensions protest in Maude's constituency

International socialist news and analysis

Why Europe's capitalist leaders cannot save the floundering eurozone project

Ruling PSOE battered in Spanish general election

Syria: Eight months of mass protests met with bloody brutality

Egyptian masses fight for real change

Socialist Party workplace news

Greece and Italy get unelected technocrats - Southampton gets chief executives!

Construction workers fight pay cuts

Fire service cuts

Bus drivers strike over pay

Workplace In brief


Obituary - Geoff Atkins


Home   |   The Socialist 23 November 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Northern Rock:

triangleTories flog bank assets to hellhound US profiteers

triangleThem & Us

triangleNationalise the banks

triangleTories and Labour fail to give 'Any Answers'

triangleNorthern Rock and Branson's present


triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleStudent occupation at Chelsea College of Arts

trianglePalestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike protest


triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleMajor attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

triangleFight expansion of disastrous 'Universal Credit' welfare system


triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


triangleNasty party out the Tories


triangleSt Austell: STPs attacked


triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Hundreds of torture victims wrongly detained



Tories torn - bin them now


What we saw

What we saw



Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy



Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!



Young people being strangled by debts



The end of the Tories?



Nasty party out the Tories


Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity



Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right


Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty


Them & Us

Them & Us



NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts



IMF helps cause inequality it slams



Tories wreck our NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice