Labour’s public-private plans are just a return to the dreaded PFI era

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Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves in the shadow of Tony Bliar.

SOLOMON HUGHES warns Reeves’s proposed national wealth fund hands City financiers control over billions in public money for big business — and we get… to pay!

HOW will Keir Starmer’s Labour try to “grow the economy?” The short answer is it is going to try to use public money to persuade international investors to put cash into “growth” industries.

It’s the return of the public-private partnership. The big danger is that, like Labour’s last public-private partnership, the private corporations will get all the growth, while the public sector gets ripped off.

The main economy-grower Starmer is promoting is Rachel Reeves’s proposed national wealth fund. It will invest in key industries like “green energy” and other modern manufacturing sectors.

There is a strong Labour case to run a national bank investing in key industries: the 1945 Labour government set up two such banks, the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation and the Finance Corporation for Industry, which lent growth capital to small- and medium-sized industries or larger manufacturing firms respectively.

Labour argued that the City avoided investing in these crucial sectors, exacerbating the 1930s Depression. Both government-founded investment funds were very successful. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour proposed similar publicly owned national investment banks.

But Reeves’s plan makes public money subordinate to private investment. She told the last Labour conference: “For every pound of investment we put in, we will leverage in three times as much private investment.”

Labour plans to invest £7.3 billion in the fund, and so attract around £22bn private “co-investment.” Reeves says private money will be attracted because the government cash will be “encouraging and derisking investment” from international finance: investors will assume that if the government has a stake in, say, a car battery factory, that it is a “sure thing” and won’t be allowed to go bust or lose money for shareholders.

But what happens if the publicly backed investments hit trouble? Say the car batteries come out too expensive, reducing profits, or need extra investment to fix production problems — will the private investors insist that the public investor take the losses? And if the profits are bigger than expected, will both parties benefit equally?

There are some major signs Reeves’s deals will favour the big private investors. First, because it is putting in more of the money, they can call more of the shots. This is not really a national wealth fund because most of the money will not be national.

Continue ReadingLabour’s public-private plans are just a return to the dreaded PFI era

Journalist shreds Campbell’s denial he derided young people for Gaza outrage

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The Skwawkbox reports on Alastair Campbell lying about a speech he gave. Campbell claims that he didn’t deride young voters over Gaza but unfortunately for Tony Bliar’s liar-in-chief it was filmed.

There are more Alastair Campbell’s lies in the Evening Standard article:

“I know Tony didn’t lie, I know I didn’t lie,” he said. “But when you have made as part of your case, the fact that you have stated in your honest conviction, that this is about tackling Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the inspectors go in and they don’t find them, that’s a pretty obvious trust moment.”

Campbell is trying the “I honestly believed” defence when the truth is that he wrote a whole dodgy dossier full of lies. This cnut’s proper place is rotting in a prison.

Continue ReadingJournalist shreds Campbell’s denial he derided young people for Gaza outrage

Palestine Ambassador warns against Britain’s complicity in Israeli war crimes

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Traitor Tony Blair receives the Congressional Gold Medal of Honour from George 'Dubya' Bush
Traitor Tony Blair receives the Congressional Gold Medal of Honour from George ‘Dubya’ Bush for being a good boy.

BRITAIN must not be complicit in Israel’s ongoing crimes against humanity, Palestine’s ambassador to Britain warned today after reports emerged that Tony Blair may become involved in Israel’s ethnic cleansing.

The former prime minister and warmonger visited Israel last week to discuss a possible role in mediating the relationship between the country and Arab nations after the war on Gaza.

The role would include a part in Israel’s plan of resettling Palestinians in other countries, according to the Times of Israel.

Mr Blair has so far denied the reports.

Palestinian Mission to the UK head Husam Zomlot said the role would help Israel to “implement the mass expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland under the guise of ‘voluntary migration’.”

He said in a statement: “We call on the UK government to ensure that no British figure will in any way take part in Israel’s ongoing crimes against humanity.

“We are adamant that any who do will have to bear the legal consequences of such immoral and criminal acts against the Palestinian people.”

Continue ReadingPalestine Ambassador warns against Britain’s complicity in Israeli war crimes

Reeves’s new book lifts whole Wikipedia sections

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Rachel Reeves engages in a New Labour tradition of plaguarism in her book. Tony ‘c********r’ Blair and Alastair Campbell engaged in huge plaguarism in drafting the Dodgy dossier and were also found out in short order.

Original article republished from the Skwawkbox.

Shadow Chancellor denies plagiarism, but at least twenty sections are identical to Wikipedia entries or slightly reworded

Rachel Reeves  seriously plaguarised wikipedia in her book. Image thanks to the Skwawkbox.
Rachel Reeves seriously plaguarised wikipedia in her book. Image thanks to the Skwawkbox.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves’s new book is littered with examples of text lifted exactly, or very nearly, from Wikipedia, according to the Financial Times.

The paper identified at least twenty examples, with some exact and others only slightly modified, including this lengthy passage:

Rachel Reeves seriously plaguarises wikipedia. Image thanks to The Skwawkbox.
Rachel Reeves seriously plaguarises wikipedia. Image thanks to The Skwawkbox.

Ironically, a theme of the book is others taking credit for the work of women.

The publisher admitted that sections had been included without modification, but ‘allies’ of Reeves denied plagiarism. Her spokesperson said to the FT:

We strongly refute the accusation that has been put to us by this newspaper. These were inadvertent mistakes and will be rectified in future reprints.

Original article republished from the Skwawkbox.

Continue ReadingReeves’s new book lifts whole Wikipedia sections

Starmer has taken more freebies than all Labour leaders since 1997 combined

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Original article by Adam Ramsey republished from Open Democracy.

Labour leader’s 28 junkets include Spurs hospitality, two Coldplay concerts and a £380 dinner from Google at Davos

Image of Keir Starmer and a poor child.
Image of Keir ‘Kid Starver’ Starmer. Image thanks to The Skwawkbox

Keir Starmer has accepted more free tickets to events such as sports matches, concerts and parties than the combined total of every other Labour leader since records began in 1997, openDemocracy analysis has found.

While the Labour leader spent his first year and a half in the role under lockdown, he has quickly made up for it, accepting gifts from donors including multi-millionaires, gambling giants, the online shopping app GETIR and the construction giant Mulalley & Co on 28 separate occasions. The gifts include days at the races, hospitality at Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur matches, an Adele gig, and two separate Coldplay concerts. In total, they are worth nearly £30,000.

In his five years as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn only accepted one such freebie: tickets to Glastonbury, where he spoke on the pyramid stage in 2017. Former Corbyn adviser Andrew Fisher told openDemocracy the Islington North MP had made a point of turning down corporate hospitality.

“Politicians at any level shouldn’t be beholden to corporate interests,” he said. “They’re elected to represent the people, and are well paid for it.”

His predecessor, Ed Miliband, only accepted tickets to the London Olympics and Paralympics opening and closing ceremonies, and a number of the contests during the games. Gordon Brown accepted no such gifts during his time as Labour leader and prime minister.

While Tony Blair led a jet-setting lifestyle – including accepting summer holidays with the regional president of Tuscany and in Cliff Richard’s holiday home in the Caribbean – he accepted fewer gifts than Starmer in his whole time as prime minister, and usually donated the value of any such freebie to a relevant charity.

‘An indulgent retreat’

Companies giving Starmer and his office gifts include the groceries delivery app GETIR, the fast food delivery company Just Eat, and Matthew Moulding, chief exec of the online retail warehouse firm The Hut Group, which has recently expanded into the hotels business.

openDemocracy understands Moulding put Starmer and three others up in his luxury Manchester hotel The King Street Townhouse on the night of 1 June. The boutique hotel has an infinity pool with views over Manchester’s iconic town hall. Its restaurant advertises “a dining experience you’ll remember forever” while The Telegraph has described it as “an indulgent retreat in the city centre”.

A spokesperson for The Hut Group would not comment on why they provided Starmer and others with free accommodation in their hotel.

Meanwhile, GETIR gave Starmer “four tickets with hospitality for Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal,” worth £1,600. The match attended by Starmer, who is an Arsenal fan, took place at the Spurs stadium, where the executive suite advertises “private gourmet dining” and “beautifully crafted menus… crafted by world famous chefs”.

Speaking to openDemocracy, a staff collective of GETIR employees in Germany, where the firm is more established than the UK, said it was “like working in a cartel”, and that employees are often too afraid to speak out against the violation of their rights. GETIR didn’t respond to openDemocracy’s request for comment.

Just Eat handed Starmer two sets of tickets in 2021 – to the British Kebab Awards, and the ‘Taste of London’ event, both of which he gave to staff in his office. The firm is currently facing legal action from lawyers representing thousands of its workers over allegations that it denies them basic rights like holiday pay and minimum wage by categorising them as self-employed.

Recent reports have indicated that Starmer is now considering rolling back on previous commitments to enhance rights for workers in sectors like the online delivery market, where jobs are notoriously precarious.

In total, Starmer has accepted tickets to 11 football matches, in most cases in exclusive executive suites, and also two rugby matches.

Starmer has also attended two glamorous days at the races, including six tickets with hospitality for Doncaster Races in autumn 2022 worth more than £3,000, thanks to the Arena Racing Company. The race course’s fine dining restaurant offers a package which includes a glass of prosecco on arrival, a “three course plated lunch” and exclusive views of the track for the day.

In June this year, Starmer accepted a “private box for four people at Epsom Downs Racecourse, including catering and admission tickets, total value £3,716”, courtesy of the Jockey Club. Epsom Downs’ VIP experience includes a champagne reception, free bar and a four-course meal, as well as exclusive views of the race track.

Speaking to openDemocracy, Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of Clean Up Gambling, said: “The same Labour leader that refuses to meet with climate justice campaigners is selling off his time to the highest bidder. Concerning for gambling reform campaigners is his willingness to accept hospitality from the gambling industry, including racing which has actively lobbied against affordability checks in defence of the operators. Policy drafted by the vested interests that have Starmer’s ear will only benefit corporations at the expense of protecting consumers.”

In January this year, Starmer accepted a meal for himself and an aide worth £380, as a gift from Google while he was in Davos at the World Economic Forum. In June, the Labour Party abandoned plans to introduce a digital tax on big tech firms like Google, which had been estimated to be worth £3bn.

North of Tyne mayor Jamie Driscoll, who quit the Labour Party last month and has spoken out against Starmer’s leadership, said: “I’ve been offered tickets for the executive boxes at [Newcastle United stadium] St James’ Park, expensive dinners by lobbyists, hospitality for sporting events – and I turn them all down. It’s wrong to take perks when you’re elected to do a job.

“Why does an MP need free tickets to the football or Coldplay concerts to do their job? At best it’s a culture of entitlement.”

Starmer is paid £149,682 a year for his work as an MP and as leader of the opposition, and also received an £18,450 advance for a book in 2022 from the Rupert Murdoch-owned publishing house Harper Collins. The Labour Party did not respond to openDemocracy’s request for comment.

Original article by Adam Ramsey republished from Open Democracy.

Continue ReadingStarmer has taken more freebies than all Labour leaders since 1997 combined