On TTIP and the NHS, they are trying to bamboozle us

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Dennis Skinner’s ‘spirit of 45′ manifesto

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We are currently reaping the rewards of Margaret Thatcher’s casino economy with everything from the banking crisis, our public utilities being owned by foreign companies, the selling-off of the NHS, Rupert Murdoch, our largely rightwing press, our diminished manufacturing base, and the horrifying revelations of Jimmy Saville, child abuse and Elm house.

As Dennis Skinner put it at the Durham Miners’ Gala, if the miners had won in 1984, the course of history would have been totally different … and we wouldn’t be living through the last months of this hugely destructive and anti-democratic government.   Another 5y is unthinkable and we need to fight back, if need be, again and again!

First and foremost, we must destroy ‘the mantra of balancing the books’ which was a Ronald Regan invention.  The deception is exposed in that it only applies to public spending.  Why should it be good for private business to borrow and invest for expansion but not for government to invest in jobs for the 8m unemployed and underemployed?

Jobs create income which leads to spending and more jobs are created in response to the increased spending – taxes rise and deficit falls.  “Look after the unemployment, and the budget will look after itself”. (Keynes, January 1933)

 

Dennis Skinner at Durham 2014

Published on Jul 13, 2014  Dennis Skinner MP at Durham Miners Gala July 2014

The Dennis Skinner manifesto:

1.  Put an end to the wage freezes

2.  A living wage across the whole of the UK

3.  Introduce free collective bargaining across the private sector

4.  Get rid of zero hours contracts and use of private companies like Serco, Capita and Atos.

5.  Put an end to the sequestration of Union funds.

6.  Proper decent public ownership of utilities

7.  End the Bedroom Tax

8.  Embark on a 1945-style house building programme – ‘Homes for heroes’

9.  A Robin Hood tax with the proceeds fed straight into the NHS

10.  Remember that Austerity is the biggest lie.

Together let’s start building the manifesto of Tony Benn and Bob Crow!

 

 

Support the Firefighters on 10th July 2014 .. and in perpetuity.

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Who in their right minds would think that Firefighters should be working until 60?  What more needs to be said?  And actually, this government doesn’t either, in spite of what they say.  This is just a cynical ploy to reduce Firefighters’ pensions.

The FBU say:

“Firefighting is a dangerous and physically demanding job which requires specific fitness standards.

“It is obvious to everyone that it is more and more difficult to meet those standards in your 50s compared to your 20s.

”Firefighters in that position face a stark choice of being sacked or losing half their pension.

“This is outrageous and all the claims that the government values our firefighters have been exposed as an utter lie.

“They need to wake up to the fact that we are not going away and we will be continuing our fight for pension justice.”

The government in N Ireland recently offered firefighters a retirement age of 55, and the FBU says this demonstrates that the Westminster government’s position is not justified by evidence or lack of affordability.

The FBU recently launched a legal challenge against the government’s proposals, saying they have received legal advice that reducing the pensions available to firefighters by different amounts depending on when they retire after 55 amounts to age discrimination.

In addition to this scandal, the UK public are seeing fire stations closed and the valuable land on which they stand on being sold off to property developers.

Furthermore, there are draconian cuts both in Firefighters and Appliances.  For example, Nancy Platts, Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven, has been campaigning against local cuts which will see frontline services reduced and, according to the consultation document, will increase the number of fire deaths in the city.

Simon Herbert, a local firefighter and FBU official said,

“I believe that the public have been misled on both the consultation process and also the cost of keeping the fifth fire engine in the City.  Cutting a fire engine that responds to over 1,000 emergency incidents a year and enables firefighters to save lives and protect the public merely to save money that could be saved in other areas, is not acceptable.  The Fire Service’s own documents show that cutting 24 firefighters and removing a fire engine would save approximately £900,000.  This amount of money although large can easily be made in other areas or by looking to share back office resources across the south east region.  I would expect all other avenues to have been explored before public safety is put at risk.”

What effect will this have on the residents of Brighton and Hove?

  • Cut 25% of Firefighter jobs from the City of Brighton and Hove
  • Take away a Fire Engine that attends over 1000 (Hove) or 2000 (Brighton) calls a year
  • Leave high rise properties at risk without sufficient resources to attack high rise fires quickly
  • Replace the City’s Ariel Ladder Platform with an inferior appliance

Support the Firefighters as they fight on all fronts to protect the public and themselves from the actions of this cynical government and their supporters on regional Fire Authorities.

 

Only 3 days left to stop hidden rules within the EU-US trade deal allowing corporates to sue the state

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This film presents some of the dangers of the investor rights within the proposed EU-US trade deal. We need to stop this corporate attack on our democracy and policies to protect the public interest.   The film has been produced by Sourced TV for Corporate Europe Observatory

Just a brief addition as to the details of ISDS… a fuller explanation is given by Corporate Europe Observatory.

This EU-US trade deal (TTIP) is not really about trade or a deal.  It is creating a new piece of international law, the conditions of which will be enforced by a tribunal of three lawyers from private international law firms.  They will meet in secret, there are no observers, the details of their judgements will not be released and there is no appeal system.  Their judgement is final.  Furthermore, the lawyers will financially benefit, the more actions to sue that are brought by corporations.

In the case of the NHS, every private health provider would be able to sue the UK government for their lost profits if a future democratically-elected government attempted to take the NHS back into public ownership.  In addition, the ISDS is lop-sided.  Corporations can take a government straight to arbitration whereas government has to exhaust every level of their domestic courts to bring an action against a corporation.

So that’s what the EU wants us to sign up to .. a charter for corporate kleptocracy.

The closing date for submitting your objection to the TTIP secret corporate courts is the 6th July… but it’s so easy to do.  (It may take you as long as 3 minutes.)  Simply follow the links below provided by the SumOfUs – a worldwide movement of people, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy.

The EU is asking for our views on TTIP secret corporate courts. But they’re making it super hard for citizens to share their views
We built a snazzy digital tool that will help us tell the EU exactly what we think about TTIP secret corporate courts.
Let’s make sure the EU can’t ignore our views and are forced to back down on these secret courts.  Submit a comment

In the next couple of weeks, we’ve got a huge opportunity to stop one of the worst parts of the risky trade deal between Europe and US.
The EU have said they’ll get opinions from anyone in Europe on whether or not the deal should include investor state dispute settlement — rules that will allow corporations to sue our elected governments in secret courts.
The deadline for submissions is really soon, so we’ve not got long to make sure the EU knows what we think about secret corporate courts.
We’ve built a tool that makes it really easy to let the EU know our views. Just click on the link below and follow the instructions. It won’t take more than 3 minutes to complete and this could be our chance to deal a fatal blow to one of the key planks of the dangerous EU-USA trade deal.
Let the EU know what you think about the secret corporate courts proposed in TTIP.
The courts are proposed under something called “Investor-State Arbitration Settlement” or ISDS. This would set up a system of tribunals where corporations could take our governments to court if they didn’t like a particular law that they thought harmed their business.
We’ve seen how this system works already around the world — it’s not good. Ecuador is being sued by Chevron because the country is requiring it to clean up a huge toxic oil spill in the heart of the Ecuadorian rainforest. Australia is being sued by Phillip Morris because it wants to take action on glamourous cigarette packaging. Even Germany is being sued by Swedish energy giant because it wants to phase out nuclear power.
The EU’s consultation is a great first step – and it shows that pressure to drop the deal from all over the EU is starting to work. Now the EU have said they’ll listen, we need to make sure they hear from everyone of us who doesn’t want the deal to include these worrying new rules.
We know our tool will help more people get their views across to the EU. There’s an opportunity for people to fill in every question if they want, but the form also makes it easy to answer just one or two questions. So if you’ve got a busy job, or you have to share a computer at home, or you’ve got little ones to look after, you’ll still be able to have your say.
Can you take 3 minutes to tell the EU to stop the secret corporate courts in TTIP?
Thanks for all you do,
Martin, Hannah, Jon and the rest of us.

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More Information:
EU Commission Trade Public Consultation on Investor-State Dispute Settlement, European Commission, Jun 2014.
Business v state investment disputes in EU spotlight, BBC News, 12 June 2014.

SumOfUs is a worldwide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy. Please help keep SumOfUs strong by chipping in $3.

 

Highly recommended for a historical perspective of why we are where we are:

Noam Chomsky:  America’s Real Foreign Policy – A Corporate Protection Racket