Them & Us

Hotel nursery

When thousands of people are worrying about paying the bedroom tax, the Grosvenor House hotel in London has shown the way forward for the better off family.

They’ve just done up a suite into a children’s nursery, created to coincide with the birth of the Royal baby.

It has hand-made furniture and a £1,400 dolls house made to look like the outside of the hotel, among other things.

The owner of the design company responsible for it cooed: “Going away to a hotel with a new baby can be such a pain, but every issue has been taken care of so visitors to London can arrive without a care in the word.” So true.

It’s £2,230 a night. An adjoining suite for the nanny is only another £1,100 a night.

Average Bob

Poor, hardworking, vilified Bob Diamond. The former boss of Barclays, who caused uproar with his £2.7 million proposed bonus in 2012, months before he quit, has told the New York Times that he never worked for money and that his wealth was the result of his hard work.

He claims he doesn’t have flash cars and only drives an old Jeep. I suppose when he’s not at his London home a Jeep would be the best way to travel between his New York penthouse and holiday homes in Nantucket and Beaver Creek…

Up in smoke

One government proposal that isn’t in the Queen’s speech is the introduction of plain cigarette packets.

The removal of branding from cigarette packets is to make them less attractive and help prevent the uptake of a health damaging habit. This measure has recently been introduced in Australia.

However, after intense lobbying by Imperial Tobacco, BAT, Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco International – who ‘warned’ David Cameron of significant job losses in the UK – the government has scrapped its proposal.

This is despite plain packaging being supported by the government’s own health advisor. However, it has since emerged that an aide to the PM, Lynton Crosby, runs a PR and lobbying firm whose clients have included cigarette giants.

‘Big baccy’ clearly fears the impact on their profits if they lost such a powerful marketing tool as branding.

Hunger strike

Around 100 of the 166 detainees in Guantánamo bay are on hunger strike. The Economist gives a glimpse of the horrific force-feeding process: “This can cause gagging and bleeding in a compliant patient, and is a lot nastier when done against his will.

“It takes up to two hours, during which time an uncooperative prisoner must be restrained to stop him pulling out the tube.”

In November 2008 Barack Obama, elected on a wave of optimism and hope, wrote an executive order to close the prison camp.

But some inmates have now been incarcerated there for eleven years without ever having been charged. Only seven individuals have been convicted.

All of those convictions are being challenged, two have been overturned and some of those remaining could still be in jeopardy. Shut it now!