Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/552/6499
News in brief
Bankers bailed out...
EUROPEAN LEADERS are following Brown and Darling's policy of big bank bailouts. The total bailout in Europe could total £1.5 trillion while the US government seems likely to inject another £400 billion, largely to get the capitalist banks lending to each other again.
The London Metro free sheet estimates that this £1.9 trillion handout is equal to £288 for every man, woman and child in the world, 36 times the aid sent by the world's wealthiest nations to the poorest each year and 190 times the GDP of Ethiopia.
... but bonuses go on
GORDON BROWN promised recently that the days of "irresponsible behaviour" and excessive bonuses were over for bank executives. He said then that any bank or financial institution that wanted state help would need to curb executive pay. The chief executives of Britain's five biggest banks paid themselves £65 million over the last five years, mostly in bonuses.
But the Financial Services Authority which supposedly regulates the City, seems to have no plans for such a 'code of conduct' or any more guidelines to restrain bonuses. True, the bonuses are nowhere near the £14 billion on offer a year ago but the estimate is that City bonuses will still top £3.5 billion despite the banks' woeful performance.
The government is trying to have an 'arm's length' separation from the seven banks involved, so the fat cats will still try to reward themselves with a substantial fortune.
Fuel hikes push up inflation rate
THE RATE of inflation in Britain hit a 16-year high in September, surging to 5.2%. The main cause of the increase was the massive hike in gas and electricity prices, which rose 49% and 30.3% higher respectively. Food inflation was listed as 12.7% a year.
Energy prices, we are told, are linked to world oil prices. But with a barrel of oil down to under $80 last week compared to a high of $142 in June, where are the price cuts in domestic energy bills?
While living standards are being hammered, Gordon Brown and chancellor Alistair Darling still insist that public sector workers accept below-inflation pay awards. This, they argue, is to stop public sector borrowing spiralling out of control. Of course this concern sounds hollow given the £500 billion that Brown and Darling have just guaranteed from the public purse to Britain's ailing banking system.
Is the Labour government more concerned about finance capitalism than workers? Is the Pope catholic?
In The Socialist 15 October 2008:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party women
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis