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Them & Us
Conflict of interests
In 2004 Tory Iain Duncan Smith launched the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) - a right-wing lobby group.
Flash forward eight years and Duncan Smith is now minister for work and pensions - a department regularly lobbied by the CSJ. Don't worry though, he cut 'active ties' with the group in 2010.
Unless you count his policy special advisor working for it, that is. Philippa Stroud, who used to be the executive director of the CSJ, is now its co-chair of board of advisors and is paid a wage by the group, while also paid to advise Duncan Smith.
While Osborne continues to protect his rich mates at the top by blocking calls for a mansion tax it's a different story for ordinary people who are being forced out of their homes and communities as housing benefit is stripped to the bone and rents soar.
Already 17 out of 33 London boroughs are sending homeless families outside the capital, and that's before the biggest changes to housing benefit are introduced in April.
They label claimants as 'scroungers' while their brutal cuts and soaring prices actually mean that since 2009 85% of the rise in housing benefit claims was by working families!
David Cameron - prime minister, conservative...salesman? Cameron has been touring the Middle East hoping to "strengthen the UK's defence, security and commercial" ties in the region. Apparently he hopes to sell about 100 Typhoon jets while he's away.
Who will be cheering any success? Workers here in Britain who wonder why the government can't invest in jobs when it can in destructive weapons? Or workers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who suffer regular human rights abuses by their governments? Cameron says we have to respect the "different pathways" of different countries.
Worth every penny?
On Wednesday 31 October the Evening Standard ran two articles. On one page was an article titled "worth every penny".
It glowingly quoted comedian David Walliams who said at the latest Jubilee love-in that this year's festivities had "made everyone realise just how much she [the Queen] does for us" and that she is the "unsung heroine of the nation". Unsung!? Guess the rest of this year's Jubilee celebration has passed him by.
The rank anti-working class prejudice of this paper was bought home by an article on the very next page that carried a report by the Tax Payers (Tax Dodgers?) Alliance.
This article bemoaned the fact that trade union facility time was "costing" the tax payer in London £9 million a year. Meanwhile the ribbon-snipping monarchy comes at a snip - only £202.4 million a year.
27% pay increase
It seems the 'shareholder spring' was short lived. Pay and benefits of top executives in FTSE 100 companies rose by 27% last year to an average of £4 million.
Under massive public and shareholder pressures, basic salary and bonuses have fallen. But they've made up for it with big increases in 'long term incentive plans'.
Obviously the bosses are missing the point that we don't care what scheme they manage to get the cash from. What makes us angry is their ever-growing pay packets while the rest of us suffer pay cuts and freezes and soaring prices as a result of a crisis they caused!
The first round of texts between David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks has been published, exposing again just how close they were.
Brooks gave her approval for a speech by Cameron in 2010: "Brilliant speech. I cried twice. Will love 'working together'." And Cameron expressed his gratitude for Brooks' husband Charlie lending him a horse: "The horse CB put me on. Fast, unpredictable and hard to control but fun. DC" Yuck!
In The Socialist 7 November 2012: