A regular column in 'Solidarity'
Banking on us
According to Life at the Top: The Labour Market for FTSE-250 Chief Executives by Nick Iles, the median salary of FTSE-100 top pussies has grown by 92% in the last 10 years, to £579,000. In 2001, when the value of top companies fell by 16%, top executives gave themselves a 12% increase in pay, with bonuses up by 34%. Shocking figures, but they won't surprise people who follow the news.
Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian fell for the listening Tony Blair pen-and-notebook-in-hand act. Writing about the first Big Conversation in Newport on Friday 28 November he said: "It is a scene from a daydream. You're having a cup of tea, sounding off about the way the country should be run, when there, suddenly sitting right next to you, is none other than the prime minister."
According to a survey by government regulators, the all-new, competitive, market-marvellous telephone directory inquiry services give wrong answers to up to seven in ten inquiries.
The worst service, 118 355, gave 67% wrong answers to people with the simplest queries, for a British home number. On average over all the services, 38% of inquiries for British numbers got wrong answers, and 63% of inquiries for overseas numbers.
Dodgy Dame caught out
Dame Shirley Porter, the former Tory leader of Westminster council, is in the headlines again. Remember her? She epitomised 80s' Tory values. Westminster was the "flagship" Tory council. Lest we forget how revolting they were, here's a summary
The company he keeps
During the last ESF preparatory meeting in Paris we found out that George Galloway had signed a petition "for the liberation of Tariq Aziz" who was captured in April by the invading US forces. Tariq Aziz was long a member of Saddam Hussein's government, its public face in the west. Why would any socialist expend a second in indignation at the US's extra-judicial treatment of Aziz?
George Bush recently requested an extra $87 billion from the US Congress to pay for the occupation of Iraq. Most of that money will go on reconstruction contracts in Iraq, and most of those will go to American firms. One of the most notable was the $500 million to support troops and extinguish oil field fires for Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, which Vice President Dick Cheney led from 1995 until 2000.
The extent of the cronyism involved in the awarding of contracts - the links between these businesses and the US administration - is quite staggering. Here's the latest revelation.
Something you won't read in the mainstream press...
UK strikes up
You might have thought the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) bleating about a rise in trade union militancy "slowing the pace of public service reform, and jeopardising the UK's economic competitiveness" was just September conference season sabre-rattling. But bosses are genuinely worried.
Limits of No Logo
I have mixed feelings about the following:
In solidarity with our favourite spinmeister, and in protest at his appalling treatment at the hands of the Beeb, Solidarity has given over this column to Comical Ali Campbell to give his spin on the latest News.
Working in a whorehouse
“Working for the fire service is like working in a whorehouse. The better we perform the more often they screw us!” (from 30k rank and file firefighters’ site).
More stopping, searching, jailing
Home Office minister Lord Falconer: "The tragedy of the Lawrence story is not only the horror of Stephen Lawrence's brutal and senseless murder but also the failure of the criminal justice system-the police, the CPS, the courts-to deliver justice to Stephen and his family."
Baghdad to the rescue
Reasons to be cheerful
Not everyone views the prospect of civilian casualties in any assault on Baghdad as bad news.
Leading UK shares rose 1.5% after reports that US forces are closing in on Baghdad. European shares also rose. Reports that US forces were attacking Iraqi Republican Guard positions in the outskirts of Baghdad after intense air strikes dispelled recent gloom about the war effort.
New Labour circular: "Meeting our targets"
New Labour circular: "Meeting our targets"
Weapons of mass destruction
"The Bush administration is planning a secret meeting in August to discuss the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons, including 'mini-nukes', 'bunker-busters' and neutron bombs designed to destroy chemical or biological agents, according to a leaked Pentagon document.
Al-Q & Saddam: permissive coupling
Iraq attack “self defence”?
From Solidarity 3/21, 11 January 2003
Two items in the papers recently released by the Public Records Office interested Solidarity:
Tough on suicide, tough on
Another statistic for our caring Home Secretary to be proud of.
The prison population has risen by 6,840 since the beginning of the year, to a record 72,500, and the number of inmates who have killed themselves has reached 89 since January, compared with 72 self-inflicted deaths in 2001.
the writing on the wall
It's certainly been a week for things turning into their opposite.
Spot the maniac
Fat cat of the month: BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies
Facing accusations of dumbing down, his answer? To put his salary up with a soaraway bonus of £97,000. Clearly the basic £357,000 he gets just doesn't pay the bills.
When Choice is no choice
Tony Blair reckons the "biggest miscarriage of justice in today's system is when the guilty walk away unpunished". An arguable position, especially if like the Birmingham Six you are innocent and lose 16 years of your life (or even die in prison) due to police fit-ups.
"The days of the old hobby horses about the police and how they treated people, the days of believing the whole issue is simply around how we give better protection to defendants - I believe those have changed."