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Voice From the Back

A Money Saver

To mark the retirement, at 92 years of age, of Sir Richard Doll, one of the scientists who helped to propagate the connection between lung cancer and smoking, The Observer Magazine (24 April) ran an article on the subject. It recalls that Doll's report of 1956 met a very unenthusiastic response from the government.  "The Department of Health considered the report for a year. "They set up an interdepartmental  Committee to advise on what should be done", Professor Doll recalls. "This said - and I've seen the report - that it should be very serious if  smoking was reduced, not  because tax would decrease, but because they like people to die off at 65 to save their pensions."

Could the cynicism of the ruling class's lackeys be more obvious? Their idea of the perfect worker is one who left school at 15 years of age, worked for 50 years, two nights and a Sunday overtime and the day he was due to collect his old age pension dropped dead in the Post Office.           

Money Making Kills

A couple of workers, one from Invergowrie and one from Fife died in a horrific "so called" accident. They died trying to get a couple of bob for their wives and kids. They died on an off-shore "accident". Here is what the regional officer of Amicus, the trade union had to say:

"In March 2003 myself and another official put a complaint in about the lack of maintenance on Shell's Brent Charlie and Delta platforms. The Health and Safety Executive then stated in August 2003 that there was no immediate risk. Three weeks later, two guys were killed." The Times (28 April).

We should mention that Shell were fined £900,000 for negligence, although as the TU official mentioned, "In just an hour Shell will have made more than what they were fined." But, what about the guys that died, and what about their families?

Told you, didn't we?

After all the nonsense about "weapons of mass destruction" and "regime change", the real reason for the conflict in Iraq has emerged. It is interesting to note that when Gordon Brown eventually came clean. The Guardian was not shocked or indignant, but could make a feeble joke about the deception. "Speaking on BBC1's Breakfast programme about the war in Iraq, Gordon Brown said the government had done what it thought was best for Britain. 'We believed we were making the right decisions in the British national economic interests,' the Chancellor added. So was Michael Moore right that it was all about oil? Or is the city commodities market going heavily into date and palmnut futures?" The Guardian (4 May).

Our Betters (1)

Here are a couple of examples from the same newspaper of how the owning class live. "In a nation (India) where the average income is still less than £300 a year, Rolls  Royce has opened a dealership to sell its £256,000 Phantom car after an absence of more than half a century."

... "Princess Michael of Kent, the loose cannon of the Royal Family, has fired another embarrassing salvo, this time claiming she may leave Britain and that life is too boring now foxhunting is banned. The news that she dreams of moving to France where hunting is legal, will doubtless delight critics of the gaffe-prone Princess, who once allegedly told a group of noisy black diners in a New York restaurant to "go back to the colonies" The Times (9 May). Off to France are you sweetheart? Bon voyage, Princess.

Our Betters (2)

The owner of British Home Stores has a reason to celebrate - it is his son's bar mitzvah, so he doesn't want to look penny-pinching. "Phillip Green, the wealthiest and quite probably the most flamboyant man in British retailing history, has flown more than 200 guests to the south of France for his son's bar mitzvah"  The Times (14 May). According to their report Mr Green will spend about £4 million on the bash. We reckon that this is considerably more than the salesgirls in British Home Stores will spend on their nights out in a lifetime of toil in his stores, but then Mr Green has a reputed fortune of £3.3 billion. We imagine that this is a great deal more wealth than his minimum, or slightly above it, wage earners have  managed to accumulate. There are many aspects of capitalism that make us vomit, this is one of them. Another is that he has engaged Beyonce and Destiny's Child to perform at the shindig. Serves his son right, at least his daddy's wage slaves would have shown better taste.