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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 June 2011

News in brief

A 'good dictatorship'

While pro-democracy opponents of Bahrain's monarchy languish in the country's notorious police cells, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone (23rd richest person in the UK) has given the green light to restage the cancelled Bahrain grand prix later this year.

This should come as no surprise from a man who once said: "A good dictator is better for a country than a democracy."

"Good" is not a term that applies to Bahrain's despots. The feudal monarchy of the al-Khalifa family has crushed internal dissent using 1,200 Saudi soldiers.

Anyone deemed a conspirator has been 'disappeared' into windowless police dungeons. Some dissenters face ludicrous show trials, charged with crimes that carry the death penalty.

Many have been persecuted and driven out of the country by the Sunni ruling class, who are now increasing sectarian repression against the country's Shia majority population.

Shia protesters who attended pro-democracy rallies before the regime's crackdown in March are now considered by the monarchy to be 'treasonous pawns' of Iran's rulers.

So why has Ecclestone reinstated the grand prix? 'Nothing to do with money,' he says. But it has.

The restaged event will guarantee F1 its $40 million fee from the Bahrain government.

A few F1 drivers have voiced concerns about holding the event in a violently dictatorial country. None of the racing teams were in favour of going back to Bahrain, but only because of personal safety concerns and the lengthening of the race season.

Simon Carter

Pensions opt-out

The Treasury expects tens of thousands of low paid public sector workers to opt out of their pension schemes if the government increases their contributions.

If this happens then it will be a spectacular own goal for the government as the so-called pensions gap between money being paid into the schemes and money paid out will widen as fewer people contribute.

The Treasury contends that staying in the schemes would be "economically rational". But not when most public sector workers face a third year of pay freezes while inflation is running at 5%.

In fact, having to stump up more money, for additional years, and then to receive a lower pension is completely irrational!


Fuel not food

As soaring world food prices drive millions more people into absolute poverty and increase hunger, more and more agricultural land, especially in Africa, is being used to produce profitable biofuel crops.

Some of the biggest culprits are UK companies. And biofuels are far from being the 'green alternative' to fossil based fuels.

In fact, the destruction of forests to clear land for planting such crops actually increases the release of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. According to the Institute of European Environmental Policy carbon released from deforestation linked to biofuels could exceed carbon savings by 35% in 2011 rising to 60% in 2018.

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In The Socialist 8 June 2011:


Socialist Party editorial

Economic crisis in 'them and us' Britain


Anti-cuts action

Cuts in jobs and services: We are fighting back!

Birmingham: city of a thousand cuts

Human rights service staff defend jobs


Socialist Party workplace news

CWU conference - unanimous call for 24-hour general strike

Strike action against pensions attack at Sheffield university

Mood for action among Unison members in Waltham Forest

Saltend dispute: lessons for future struggles


Socialist Party feature

Fighting the anti-strike legislation


Socialist Party women

'Slutwalk' protests

Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is possible


International socialist news and analysis

'Butcher of Bosnia' faces trial

Tamil Solidarity: important resolution agreed at the European Parliament


Young people fighting back

Protests grow as young people say: 'We want a future!'


Socialist Party news and analysis

Southern Cross - Social care on the brink

Vulnerable patients abused at privately run Bristol hospital

End the 'insane' pursuit of oil profit

Fight Welsh universities' fees hike

NHS: Lansley must resign!

News in brief


 

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Related links:

Bahrain:

triangleBan this trade in death

triangleThem & Us

triangleBahrain repression: Muted criticism of West's ally

triangleSaudi troops to suppress Bahrain protesters

Pensions:

triangleBosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangleUni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

triangleRoyal Mail forced back under threat of action

triangleUniversity workers' walkout for decent pensions

Democracy:

triangleOutrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case

triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Carbon:

triangleCarbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

triangle47,000 kids exposed to illegal toxic air

Biofuels:

triangleCan biomass energy be part of a socialist plan of production?

Forests:

triangleBangladesh: 'Hartal' protest against destructive power plant

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