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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2021

News in Brief

Monopoly man with axe dancing on money bags, 1% super-rich austerity inequality, photo torbakhopper (Creative Commons)

Monopoly man with axe dancing on money bags, 1% super-rich austerity inequality, photo torbakhopper (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Idle rich

At the same time as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published its 2020 report showing that Britain's poor got poorer due to furloughing and job losses, etc, while the rich prospered - Boris Johnson reshuffled his government and appointed Kwasi Kwarteng as the new business secretary.

Kwarteng is notorious for co-authoring a 2012 pamphlet - 'Britannia Unchained' - along with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Home Secretary Priti Patel and International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, which accused British workers of being "among the worst idlers in the world" and said that "too many people in Britain prefer a lie-in to hard work". In 2013 he argued for lowering the minimum wage in some areas and for regional public sector pay because they were 'crowding out' private employers.

Kwarteng has tried to allay workers' fears by saying he'll protect workers rights post-Brexit. But already its reported that the government is looking to end the weak 48-hour maximum working week law. All part of its 'Singapore on Thames' cheap labour vision for the country.

Brexit Broadcasting Corporation

It's a case of Lucifer replacing Satan. The previously flagged-up frontrunner to become BBC Chairman - ex-editor of the Daily 'Torygraph' Charles Moore - is standing aside for 'family reasons' and instead, Boris Johnson has appointed former Goldman Sachs banker and Tory donor Richard Sharp to oversee the Beeb's output.

Appointing Sharp - a right-wing Brexiteer who was chums with current Chancellor Rishi Sunak at Goldman Sachs - will undoubtedly cheer members of the reactionary European Research Group of Tory MPs. Already, he has referred to the apparent 'Remainer bias' of panellists of the BBC's Question Time during the 2016 EU Referendum campaign. This is an odd example to illustrate the liberal-lefty BBC, as leading xenophobe Nigel Farage seemed to have a permanent seat on the programme!

Profitable flight path

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has fined giant US aircraft manufacturer Boeing $2.5 billion for "fraudulent and deceptive conduct" ie lying and covering-up, to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US air safety regulator. This follows two fatal crashes of Boeing's 737 Max 8 plane, the first in October 2018 and the second five months later, killing 346 passengers and crew.

Crash investigations revealed that central to these disasters was the 737 Max's flawed anti-stall software device that the flight crew were unaware of, and which pitched the aircraft into fatal nosedives.

Boeing blamed two former employees for deceiving the FAA over the safety of its anti-stall software. However, the DoJ found Boeing had chosen "the path of profit over candour by concealing material information."

Lawyers representing victims families of the Ethiopian Airlines crash expressed anger that "a corporation pays billions of dollars to avoid liability while stonewalling and fighting the families in court."

But why isn't the FAA in the dock too? Its decade-long policy allowed Boeing and other airline manufacturers to self-certify compliance with safety regulations. Astonishingly, the FAAs 53-page report that formed the basis of the 737 Max training guidelines for pilots noted "no specific flight characteristics", despite the plane's novel anti-stall software. It illustrates the cosy relationship between government and corporate capitalism.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 20 January 2021:


News

Make the super-rich pay, not the poorest

Bosses profit out of 'starvation' food parcels

Teachers: On the front line, in their own words

Peace and Justice Project - no way forward for socialism

Millionaire tendency regains control of Scottish Labour

News in Brief


Covid-19

The Tory blame game: scapegoating the working class - 100% pay for all now

Covid: Bosses chase profit and put workers in danger

Vaccine confidence - a worker's response

Life in lockdown - being home from school when you're poor is hard


NHS

On the NHS front line


Black Lives Matter

Justice for Mohamud Hassan!

Police use Covid laws to intimidate BLM protesters

New Cross Gate fire 40 years ago


International News

USA in crisis - the need for a socialist alternative

Trump Twitter ban: only independent workers' voice can defeat right


Workplace

PCS Broad Left Network conference

Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick factory future secured following strike action

Morrisons - £10/hr headline hides divisive pay offer

A day in the life of an agency worker

British Gas strike continues


Students

Refund student rent and fees

Plymouth rent strike continues

Scrap fees, refund rents and pay a living grant


Campaigns

London's May elections: Tories and Labour's Khan both vying to slash public services

Socialist Party national women's meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Christmas Crossword Competition


Readers' Opinion

Books that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier


Obituary

Obituary - Jeff Edwards


 

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