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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 May 2010

Fast News

Public servants

A GOVERNMENT for the rich, of the rich. Nothing new in that of course, but the Cabinet in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition with its 18 millionaires weighs in at least 15 million richer than it was in the previous Labour government.

Topping the cabinet rich list is property developer turned transport secretary, Philip Hammond. His estimated fortune is 7.1 million. PM David Cameron is only sixth wealthiest with 3.4 million and is ranked behind chancellor George Osborne, who while cheerfully cutting low paid workers' jobs and slashing benefit payments to the poor, scrapes by on 4.6 million.

Although the cabinet is dominated by wealthy Tories, Lib Dem members also contribute to the ranks of the cabinet millionaires. The richest is energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne, whose 3 million wealth is based on property deals.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, while shedding crocodile tears over the billions in cuts to services, gets by on 1.8 million. And David Laws, the chief secretary to the Treasury is sitting on 1.3 million thanks to stints as an investment banker at JP Morgan and Barclays.

Deal, no deal

ANOTHER MILLIONAIRE under the spotlight this week is BT's chief executive Ian Livingston. He scooped a 343,000 bonus payment on top of his salary of 808,000 this year. But at the same time as Livingston is stuffing his pockets with cash, ordinary BT workers have been offered an insulting below-inflation pay offer of just 2%. As a result 60,000 CWU union members in BT are balloting on taking industrial action to secure a living wage.

Meanwhile, a survey reveals that 97% of UK companies will offer below inflation pay rises to their workers, while 16% of workers face a pay freeze - some for a second year running.

It's too late

THE INVASION of Iraq in 2003 by US and UK armies and the subsequent occupation of that country, has proved to be an absolute disaster for the people of Iraq and, to a lesser extent, for people in Britain.

However, it has taken seven bloody years and being booted out of government for Labour Party leadership contender Ed Miliband to admit the conflict had led to a "catastrophic loss of trust" in his party and fellow contender Ed Balls to call the war "a mistake". On that time delay we will have to wait until the end of this century for the Labour leaders to question capitalism.

Driller killer

AS THE BP oil spill disaster continues to devastate vast areas of the Gulf of Mexico another energy giant is threatening the environment with a planned deepwater drilling operation off Alaska's coast. This time it's Shell oil - whose gas flare-offs in Nigeria have wrecked people's health and the local environment over many decades. The flare-offs have also significantly contributed to greenhouse gas emissions and thereby to global warming and climate change.

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In The Socialist 26 May 2010:

Millionaire ministers butcher public services

Con-Dem cuts - 'only the beginning'


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National Shop Stewards Network conference: Time to organise against con/dem attacks

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Socialist Party news and analysis

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Comment

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