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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 May 2012

Them & Us


iPads for MPs

Up to 660. That's how much the gadget of the moment, the iPad, will set you back. Months of hard saving for most of us - but not if you're an MP. 70 MPs have already claimed expenses for an iPad and now they're all going to be given one free of charge! Any MP sitting on a select committee will get one immediately, and the rest will be asked to trade in an old laptop or PC in exchange for one. Good to know the exposure of the expenses scandal had such an effect on them!


Fig trees

What would you get for 30,000? A university education? A deposit on a house? Replacing lost wages for a year you can't work? Or one year's rent for 12 fig trees? Portcullis House, the Westminster building used by MPs for meetings with constituents and other visitors, has been doing just that for the last eleven years - that's 330,000 of our money... on fig trees.


Build your own

Finally, a select committee of MPs has agreed with the Socialist. We are in the midst of a housing crisis, demand has outstripped supply of new-build houses for decades, 230,000 new households are forming each year but only 110,000 new houses were built in 2011. But did they come to the conclusion we have - that we need a mass house building programme of affordable publicly owned homes? No. Apparently the problem is that it is too difficult for people to build their own homes. Because of all those people currently struggling to find a house who have the time, money and skills to build their own. Obviously.


Pensioner debt

The number of pensioners in debt has more than doubled in the last year. There are 427,000 households where people over 70 are in financial difficulty. Combined with the number of tragedies every year where elderly people die because they can't afford to heat their homes, you would hope that the government would act. But instead they are insisting on attacks on public sector pensions which will force even more pensioners into poverty by reducing the pension public sector workers receive.


Up, up and away

In light of the local election results, politicians are scrambling to assure the public of their capabilities and continuing commitment to 'dealing with the deficit'. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they want us to believe that their policies will lead to economic growth and jobs. But the Centre for Economic and Business Research has said that unemployment will continue to rise in most areas of the country for at least the next five years. We can expect unemployment levels not seen for more than a decade. The coalition would probably claim a success even if growth didn't return for another 50 years!


Wet, wet, wet

Britain's wettest April since records began led to a 5,000% rise in umbrella sales. But that was about all we were spending our money on in April - there was a 1.9% fall in household spending compared to the previous month and a 6.9% reduction on high street spending compared to April 2011.

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In The Socialist 9 May 2012:


Socialist Party election analysis

Legitimacy of Cameron and Clegg further shattered

Election results: How did TUSC do?

Con-Dems battered in Scottish local elections

Labour's best Wales result in 21 years will not stop cuts

London elections - TUSC: A marker for future struggles

Coventry: Socialist campaigner Dave Nellist narrowly loses

4,792 mayoral vote for Liverpool 47 candidate

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition local election reports

Unison attacks TUSC candidate


International socialist news and analysis

France: A weekend that shocked Europe

Greece: Political earthquake sees pro-austerity parties' support collapse


Socialist Party news and analysis

Water waste of money!

MPs find Murdoch "not fit" to run media empire

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Good result for Socialist Students candidates in NUS elections

Health services at risk in Cardiff and Vale

Privatisation pushes up transport costs in Yorkshire

Care home closures in Sheffield

Police restrict anti-racist protesters in Luton


Socialist Party workplace news

Come to the NSSN conference!

Greenwich libraries - fighting back can win

Exposed: the dirty world of NHS privatisation

Duncan Smith throws insults at Remploy workers

Workplace news in brief


Reviews and comments

Film review: 'Cocaine Unwrapped'

Turning anger into action


 

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