Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/702/13582
Them & Us
What a banker
Cameron's rhetoric about clamping down on bankers' bonuses is becoming more and more farcical. RBS chief executive, Stephen Hester, looks set to receive a bonus of up to £1.6 million. A sweetener in anyone's books, especially as it would come on top of his £1.2 million annual salary. It's not really clear what he is being rewarded for either - shares at RBS have slumped by over 40% in the past year and the bank has cut thousands of jobs. RBS is 84% state-owned (owned by us, that is) so Cameron could step in and do what he does best - veto. But somehow we doubt he will. He does promise though that Hester's bonus will be "less than last year" - that's less than £2 million - hard times for all.
Not up to scratch
In the Socialist issue 700, Them and Us reported on the bargain offers on food and drink available in the bars and restaurants of Parliament at a cost of £5.8 million to the taxpayer. We should probably apologise for complaining as it seems our poor MPs are having to put up with sub-standard service. The salami, for example, is far too thickly sliced: "It makes it a bit tricky to eat because the rinds are so sturdy." Most outrageously of all, in a dish of kedgeree: "The boiled egg had been cut into THREE quarters - no sign of the fourth...Petty and insulting way to save a buck." Clearly they expect more for our tax money.
The real rip-off
Trade unions are dastardly things. Always costing the taxpayer money by taking their members out on 'pointless' strikes for the fun of it. Even Labour, which relies on unions for much of its funding, insists that their power has to be limited because they're such a bad thing. But research shows that trade unions actually save us money! For every pound spent on union reps in public sector workplaces, £9 is saved as a result of lower staff turnover, fewer workplace-related injuries and sickness and fewer employment tribunals. We're yet to see any evidence of the money we spend on MPs' wages and expenses saving us money - quite the opposite in fact, they seem to see it as carte blanche to steal our jobs and services.
Poverty for the 99%
A recent piece in the Coventry Evening Telegraph highlighted the devastating poverty tens of thousands of children across Coventry and Warwickshire currently face. In the St Michael's area of Coventry, which Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist represents, four out of every nine children are growing up below the poverty line.
Dave said: "This report paints a disturbing picture of family life, and children's poverty, in Coventry in general and in St Michael's in particular, where children start their lives with all the odds stacked against them. Children are the victims. They haven't caused the banking crisis. These shocking figures are an indictment of all politicians who want merely to manage or 'better manage' the crisis back to 'business as usual'! Our country has become much more unequal with directors of the top 100 companies last year getting a 49% rise, while ordinary wages and benefits are cut. That's a country being run for the 1%, not the 99%."
In The Socialist 25 January 2012:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news