Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1069/30103
Them & Us
Fat Cat Monday
The average FTSE 100 boss had 'earnt' more on 6 January than the typical worker does in a year. Top chief execs get an average £3.5 million - 117 times the median salary - says the High Pay Centre.
Rail fare rip-off
Rail bosses gave themselves a New Year's gift on 2 January and hiked fares by an average of 2.7%. They protest that they're allowed to raise them by more, and didn't. But they've been hiking fares for years - while wages stagnate.
The Trade Union Congress calculates a season ticket from Chelmsford to London costs 16% of the average worker's salary. Equivalent commutes in France cost just 2%.
Rail robbers' rescue
Meanwhile, having run the service into the ground, South Western Railway is warning the state could have to step in. The failed private operator got only 54% of its trains home on time last year.
The East Coast Main Line had to return to the public after collapse, and Northern Rail might too. Nationalisation is very welcome - but the profiteer bosses should be billed for their mess.
Fake apprenticeships - which earn employers a public funding bonus - account for half of all schemes, reports thinktank EDSK. Many are really just normal jobs, relabelled to get bosses a 10% 'top-up' from the exchequer. There's even an 'apprenticeship' for chief executives!
School strike 'extremism'
Counter-terrorism police targeted school student strikes in a guide circulated last November, the Guardian has discovered. Those who "participate in planned school walkouts" and peaceful protests were listed as prone to "ideological extremism."
After press scrutiny, the police announced the guide was being recalled. But it seems that as far as the capitalist state is concerned, there is little difference between student climate strikers and far-right thugs or Islamist terrorists.
Kids cause poverty?
The Tory leader of Walsall council, Mike Bird, said working-class families suffer food poverty because they have too many kids. Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe answered him on LBC radio. There is huge wealth and plenty of healthy food in the world, but capitalism and austerity mean the poor can't get it.
Now, Tory MP Desmond Swayne has said "the poorest are among the fattest." Claimants just need to learn "how to shop more cost-effectively and healthily" - nothing to do with poverty pay and low benefits then!
Capitalism cuts cures
The proportion of NHS consultant doctors participating in research for new cures halved from 7.5% in 2004 to 4.2% in 2017, reports the Academy of Medical Sciences. Austerity means stretched staff don't have the time. Meanwhile, private pharmaceutical firms have cut their research budgets.
Bank jobs binned
HSBC has announced a further 10,000 redundancies, including 1,000 in the UK. Having made off like bandits after crashing the world economy, now the banksters are coming for even more local branches and jobs. You can bet the axe won't fall too hard on the casino capitalists behind the credit crunch.
In The Socialist 15 January 2020:
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