Fast news

    Big oil failure

    NOTWITHSTANDING THE oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which followed a fatal explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig in April, the UK government has refused to impose a moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the North Sea.

    This refusal is despite offshore inspection records showing that five out of six BP North Sea installations failed to comply with emergency regulations on oil spills. Shell was also cited for breaking rules regarding oil spill training preparedness in five out of 27 inspections in the last five years.

    In fact the North Sea safety record of ‘big oil’ has deteriorated with the number of accidental oil and gas leaks increasing by 40% in 2009-10 compared to the previous year. Serious injuries to oil workers also shot up by 70% in the same period.

    Sack the boss

    MICHAEL O’LEARY, the £700,000 a year chief executive of Ryanair, is no stranger to spouting reactionary tosh. When he’s not dismissing the idea that climate change is caused by capitalist industrial activity as “horseshit”, his latest missive is to stop using co-pilots on Ryanair flights to save money.

    O’Leary dismissed the crucial safety role of co-pilots saying: “They just sit back, press a button and put it on autopilot. They then read newspapers or just do nothing.”

    But the potty-mouth multimillionaire received a witty riposte from one of his most senior pilots, captain Morgan Fischer: “I would propose that Ryanair replace the chief executive with a probationary cabin crew member currently earning €13,200 (£11,000) net per annum.

    “Ryanair would benefit by saving millions of euros in salary, benefits and stock options.”

    Captain Fischer delivered the coup de grace by suggesting O’Leary’s dismissal could even generate cash for the airline by charging the new chief executive just over £2,000 to retrain – the figure he said new cabin crew recruits have to pay for their own training.

    Tax avoidance

    WHILE SCREWING low income benefit claimants in order to cut the UK’s budget deficit, the Con-Dem government is choosing to ignore the £42 billion in uncollected taxes – including nearly £7 billion in corporation tax.

    The total tax gap grew to £42 billion from £38 billion last year and represents 39% of this year’s estimated £155 billion budget deficit. The burgeoning tax gap doesn’t include the legal tax avoidance schemes of big corporations and ‘non-dom’ tax dodgers.

    Support Tommy and Gail

    FORMER SCOTTISH socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan and his partner Gail begin their trial on charges of perjury on Monday 4 October at the High Court in Glasgow.

    This case, brought by the Scottish Crown Office, follows Tommy Sheridan’s famous defamation victory over the Rupert Murdoch owned News of the World in 2006 (see

    Please send messages of support to Tommy and Gail at [email protected]