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From: The Socialist issue 691, 26 October 2011: Capitalism IS crisis - Fight for a socialist alternative

Search site for keywords: Tax - Oil - BP - Energy

Them & Us

Coleman gets real

Brian Coleman, Tory councillor and London fire authority boss, is notorious for threatening Fire Brigades Union members with mass sackings and claiming vast expenses on top of his reported 120,000 a year earnings. Coleman's latest outrage has been to contemptuously dismiss an unemployed single mother's plea for help.

Sharada Osman, whose son has learning difficulties, is facing eviction after the landlord increased her rent by 150 a month to 1,100. She wrote to councillor Coleman asking for some help and guidance. Coleman's 'helpful' advice, which arrived nine days later, was to tell Sharada that her only option was to turn to the private sector. Presumably, the same private sector that had just racked up her rent!

When she complained about his lack of empathy Coleman simply reiterated his Tory callousness: "Lack of empathy?????..." he wrote, "I am afraid you have to live in the real world where the country has no money and residents will have to deal with their own issues rather than expect the system to sort out their lives."

What Coleman had, hypocritically, failed to tell Sharada was that he was living in a subsidised housing association flat, where his rent is 546 a month - half that of Sherada's rent.

Protest support

A university opinion poll found two-thirds of voters in New York City agree with the Occupy Wall Street protesters' views. And asked about regulating the financial system 73% agreed laws should be tougher.

Moreover, a Time magazine poll found that public support for the anti-capitalist protest is running higher than that for the right-wing Tea Party Republicans.

In the UK, a Guardian opinion poll found that 88.2% supported the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest with only 11.8% opposed.

Tax evasion

The Tax Justice Network (TJN) says that a newly agreed tax deal between the UK and Switzerland is flawed. TJN says that there are several loopholes that might enable UK tax evaders to maintain their anonymity without paying back taxes by: Moving cash out of Switzerland by May 2013; if money is held in a trading, manufacturing or commercial company; moving assets to another branch of a Swiss bank; if money is held in a discretionary trust where it is not known if there is a British beneficiary.

Big Profits

BP - a byword for environmental pollution and mega-profits - hit the jackpot last week with a new licence to resume oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and third quarter profits of 3.2 billion. Profits for the first nine months of 2011 were 9.9 billion.

The energy giant's reversal in fortunes - following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico 18 months ago when eleven oil rig workers were killed, causing the biggest oil spillage in US history - was helped by Brent crude oil hitting $110 a barrel.

BP has also been given the green light by the Con-Dem government for potentially hazardous deep water drilling operations in the North Sea.

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