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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 March 2010

More parliamentary sleaze

'MPs for hire' scandal

"I'M A bit like a cab for hire," said former Blairite government minister Stephen Byers to an undercover reporter who was posing as a company lobbyist.

Dave Carr

And, claiming to be able to influence government legislation, Byers then offered the 'lobbyist' his political services for "up to 5,000 a day".

But this latest nauseating example of parliamentary sleaze didn't stop with Byers. Two other former Blairite cabinet ministers - Patricia Hewitt (see article below) and Geoff Hoon - were also secretly filmed offering to change government policies to suit the interests of big business, but for only 3,000 a day!

As an illustration of how big business buys political influence, Byers boasted to the reporter that he had concocted a deal with the transport secretary, Lord Adonis, to enable National Express to welch on its rail franchise.

He also claimed to have influenced Lord Mandelson to have watered down government food labelling proposals on behalf of Tesco. Both companies deny any dealings with Byers.

All three MPs have now been suspended from the parliamentary Labour Party. Big deal! They were all due to stand down at the general election, expected this May, anyway. Byers, Hewitt and Hoon should face legal proceedings. After all, paid advocacy when the client is not listed on the MPs' register of interests is a breach of rules.

New Labour

The actions of these former ministers speak volumes about New Labour. It's the equivalent of sticking two fingers up to people and saying: "I didn't enter Westminster to serve the public interest; I entered politics to make loads of money"!

It's as if the 'cash for questions' scandal under the previous John Major Tory government, or the cash for honours scandal under Tony Blair's premiership, or the MPs' expenses scandal, never happened!

Is it any wonder then that disillusioned voters are abandoning the main establishment parties and not bothering to vote or looking instead to vote for minor parties?

Unfortunately, at present, there isn't a mass workers' party that fights for the interests of working class people against the sleazy bosses' parties, and whose elected representatives only accept the average wage of a worker.

This is why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which is fielding candidates in the forthcoming general election, is an important new development; in that it has the potential to be a forerunner of a new workers' party.

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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.

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In The Socialist 24 March 2010:

Strikers can beat BA bosses

BA cabin crew can win

Message of support for striking BA workers from Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins:

Striking British Airways cabin crew pickets speak to The Socialist


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Support trade union and socialist alternative: Workers reject main parties

Trade unionist and Socialist Coalition

Salford: The growth of 'Hazel Must Go!'

Woolwich and Greenwich: For a workers' MP on a worker's wage

Stoke Central: Fighting for the millions not the millionaires

Trade unionist and Socialist Coalition general election launch rally


Parliamentary Sleaze

'MPs for hire' scandal

Hewitt's big business alliance

New workers' party needed

MPs: in it for the money


Anti-racism

Far-right EDL outnumbered in Bolton, police try to even the odds!

EDL attend anti-racist meeting

Nottingham anti-EDL anti-BNP conference


Socialist Students

Sussex: Students gain a victory - but fight must go on!

Cuts to higher education announced: Students fight back

Socialist Party youth meeting

On the march against cuts


Marxist analysis: history

March 1990 anti-poll tax demonstration


International socialist news and analysis

Massive rejection of Sarkozy's policies presages a 'third round on the streets'

Obama's neutered health bill limps through


Socialist Party news and analysis

Nottingham council targets the vulnerable

Dickens is back: Implications of poverty revealed in London

Barking council: Late developers

Battling against school academies in Hastings


Socialist Party workplace news

HP workers take further action

Rail safety disputes


 

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Related links:

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Patricia Hewitt:

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Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition:

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