Them & Us

Inspire a generation?

Politicians were crawling all over the Olympics – desperate to be seen taking part in an event enjoyed by so many. That’s why many of us took it as a not-so-surprising stab in the back when it was revealed how seriously (or not) those same politicians take giving young people the chance to develop their interests and skills in sport.

Since 2010 the sale of 31 school playing fields has been approved. Tory councils have approved the most but New Labour is no friend of the Olympic legacy either – between 1997 and 2010 200 playing fields were sold off.

No recession for 1%

FTSE 100 chief executives reached a new milestone in 2011 – an average pay package of £3 million a year. That’s 8.5% up on the previous year. Meanwhile the average pay rise for workers was 1.6% – less than half the rate of inflation – while many are in the middle of pay freezes. So workers can afford less and less while the bosses can afford more and more.

Unhealthy and dangerous

If you were thinking of a list of people not to invite to join the Health and Safety Executive’s board, Howard Shiplee would be pretty near the top. Shiplee was an executive director of construction giant Laing O’Rourke – one of the companies which took part in blacklisting trade unionists for, among other things, highlighting health and safety issues. And yet, Shiplee has indeed been appointed to the board. This decision must be challenged.


Five ‘young gun’ Tories have written a book, Britannia Unchained: Global Growth and Prosperity (health warning: do not read if you suffer from high blood pressure). In it they helpfully outline the root of all our problems. Billions spent bailing out the banks? Growing inequality? The careless quest for profit? No. Idleness.

Yes, we’re all just too lazy. “Too many people in Britain prefer a lie-in to hard work.” We quite agree – all those bosses sitting around counting the money made for them by low-paid workers, often having to work two or three jobs to get by – they’re a real blight on society.

Worse and worse

“Tony Blair once explained his priority in three words: education, education, education. I can do it in three letters. NHS.” That’s what Cameron told us in 2006. But since he became prime minister things are even worse than they were under New Labour! An extra 2,000 patients a month are on hospital waiting lists – that’s an extra 60,000 since May 2010.

And now NHS chiefs are claiming it would be a great idea for hospitals to ‘expand abroad’ to make a profit. But introducing the profit motive to the NHS is the main factor causing the problems!