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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2012

Chase the sharks out of Toon!

Norman Hall, Newcastle fan

Newcastle United football team has agreed a 24 million sponsorship deal with Wonga.com, the short-term payday loans company.

Wonga, and other legalised loan shark firms, prey on the most down-trodden and vulnerable sections of society.

Wonga's interest rates are 4,214% apr so a 30-day loan from Wonga to buy a 49.99 Newcastle shirt from Mike Ashley's (Newcastle's millionaire owner) Sports Direct, will cost 70.63 - 41% more.

North-east England is under the cosh of unemployment and public sector cuts. Many people, seriously struggling, will now see the name of a company making fortunes from their poverty, splashed across the chests of super-wealthy players.

Wonga also bought the naming rights to the stadium. Using the "spoonful of sugar helps the poison go down" approach, they changed the stadium's name back to the traditional St James' Park.

Some supporters just welcome the 24 million. Others say Wonga shouldn't be touched with a borrowed barge pole.

Others say Wonga are scum but are they that much worse than any other financial institution such as former sponsors Northern Rock and Virgin Money? Look at Barclays, the Libor rate-rigging sponsor of football's top competition, the Premier League.

Local Labour MPs and councillors correctly denounced the deal. However, Wonga was launched under the last Labour government, which did nothing to prevent these vultures setting up. Labour didn't even put in controls to limit their extortionate interest rates.

The finance and banking industry definitely needs to be nationalised under democratic control and management.

And football should be controlled by the fans and their communities and not be the plaything of super-rich individuals or money-grabbing wide boys.

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In The Socialist 17 October 2012:


Fighting the cuts

We want a 24-hour general strike!

Southampton anti-cuts councillors form new council group

Meetings after 20th October TUC demonstration


Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2012


Socialist Party news and analysis

Academies: march to defend education on 20 October

Stop the gas price hike - Nationalise the utilities!

Osborne's 'shares' plan threatens rights

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Unions must build the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)


Socialist history

Who was Malcolm X?

Poll tax: When organised mass action defeated the Tories

Liverpool 1983-87


Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action 13-28 October


International socialist news and analysis

Fight for a socialist and internationalist alternative to the crisis-ridden EU

Solidarity with Miners in South Africa

US elections: And the winner is... Wall Street!

Pakistan: Workers die as profit put before safety

Tamil Solidarity

Campaign Kazakhstan


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Hands off our NHS! - Victory in Gloucestershire

Stop the far right from 'uniting' on 27 October

Stop health robbery in Sherwood Forest

Tough choices

Chase the sharks out of Toon!

Invest in caring - we're worth it!


Socialist Party workplace news

Lecturers fight cuts

Amnesty International staff take strike action

Bus drivers: We need shorter hours!

Hospital staff in Stockton and Hartlepool threatened with worse terms and conditions

Attacks on Bromley workers

Workplace news in brief


The Socialist Party

The Socialist - Help us build it with the 20-20-20 plan!

Fight back against austerity - support the Socialist Party

Why I joined

New sales of the Socialist in Kenilworth


 

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