Monthly Archives: December 2010

Flies wide open

The Con Dem coalition has persuaded us that it is working very unconvincingly. The antics of Vince Cable, formerly a respected and credible politician as Lib Dems go, is starting the unravelling. Having lead on the tuition fees debacle trying to face in both directions he has now confided in Daily Telegraph hacks his deep dissatisfaction. It is drawing out other Lib Dems. “The student fees saga is a ‘train wreck'” says one.
Cable was not considered to have an outsize ego but his comments to his supposed young mother constituents suggests otherwise. The Independent points to other eminent and respected politicians whose over-sized egos have clouded their judgement at a crucial time. Clare Short’s posturing over Iraq and failing to follow up her threat of resignation at the key moment necessary, as Robin Cook did is cited as a recent example. Vince claimed he had the power to bring the coalition down, Now he’s gone and apologised. For saying what he really thinks? Credibility is ebbing away as he joins the ranks of opportunist politicians of all hues.
Of course such an eventuality as this is, or should be, gift to the opposition. Problem is that the opposition does not sit in parliament or lead the trades unions. The present need for unity in fighting a class-based attack on working people is not being led from places supposedly representing them. A younger generation have seen the need for protest and it is they who have taken a lead both on the streets and taking part in a new form of defence in cyber space. Those wanting to support them are presently either outside or on the margins of the Labour Party and Unions. The mention of strike action sends Ed Milibilly scuttling for cover. What the Union leader said in his tete-a-tete at no 10 was uninspired according to his own account after the event.

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BAE in Tanzania. More from Wikileaks

The BAE Tanzania arms deal came under scrutiny but was fiercely defended by Tony Blair. Was this highly sophisticated and hugely over-priced “defence” system necessary for the country which was facing many other demands on its economy. It was claimed that the radar system could be used for civilian air traffic control as Tanzania lacked an airforce! A little more on the secretive tendering has come to light from Wikileaks reports the Guardian as the prosecuter with the job if investigating the matter reports that he “feared for his life”. This was because it appears that politicians at the highest level may be involved.

Cuba brings hope to Haiti

Fidel Castro reports the success of the medical brigades working in earthquake, hurricane, and now, cholera ridden and tormented society. The news is astounding. Cuba, small and restricted as it is, is able to treat cholera patients and prevent deaths occurring.
Cholera, it has been reported, was introduced from outside from among the legions who turned up to give aid. Haiti’s people have suffered from years of exploitation leaving poverty while surrounded by unparalleled wealth creation.
While Castro reports Cuba’s achievements in his low key article in Granma are his claims substantiated elsewhere? According to a Reuters Report, on the ground it is the Cubans that others turn to first, although this is not made known widely. The world of wealth is not about to admit that it might just have some things like it’s values and ideology all wrong. Keep up the profits by exploiting the likes of Haiti (which Cuba has successfully resisted for over 50 years and inspired others in the southern parts of the Americas) while these lives, the poor, are expendable.
Those Haitians who have encountered Cuban care recognise who their carers are.

Canada and neutrality

Canada has long been thought of as the epitome of a fair society, an honest broker which will temper the excesses of its powerful neighbour in a world short, and in desperate need of fairness and justice. Over the past decade it has become increasingly apparent that this is a myth as human rights are consigned to the dustbin. Ask those who make up what Canada termed “the First Nation” intending to give some sort of dignity and status to the indigenous population. Does this stand up to scrutiny? With the sort of land grabbing for minerals associated with African countries we see land supposedly owned by those communities raped and pillaged as multinationals move in to exploit valuable resources. Whether coal or diamonds the indigenous people far from benefitting find themselves living in environmental degradation of a high order.
On the question of Middle Eastern peace where even the new administration in the USA has singularly failed to make an impact can we expect Canada to step in? Watch this if you believe that.

Battered Birmingham is the template for the “Big Society”

Already facing sweeping job losses Birmingham City Council hasn’t yet begun to divest itself of a workforce essential in supporting Birmingham citizens and Council Tax payers. According to the Birmingham Post this is seen as the template, the goal and achievement of the ConDem administration. The Liberal Democrats have already demonstrated in Birmingham their willingness to throw over all their policies, promises and principles if they can smell the slightest whiff of power. What power is left them is difficult to see. We have full blown Tory doctrine dropped on us because they have allowed themselves to follow like sheep to the slaughter.
The idea or wish is for services to transfer to volunteers, neighbours or whoever is out there to pick up the pieces, a hit and miss idea if ever there was one. If this was a socialist based society with an ideology different to the individualism, selfishness and greed which Thatcher and her followers propagated then it might stand a chance of working. The money saved from withholding services will end up in the bulging pockets of those who have already seized vast amounts of our wealth for their own well being. Where is the “big society” for them? Are they part of it? Maybe they’ll spare a few coppers in the charity box to assuage their conscience and carry on regardless.

Once more the European Union shows it is about protecting corporations not people

India produces cheap drugs which are life savers to vulnerable people. They can’t afford the prices imposed by the drug industry in western countries -as is the case with many living there. The European Union is about to stop all this by getting India to agree to stop supplying cheap copies and to accept licensing which helps the giant pharmaceutical industry amass their huge profits.
Industry revenues (Wikipedia)
For the first time ever, in 2006, global spending on prescription drugs topped $643 billion, even as growth slowed somewhat in Europe and North America. The United States accounts for almost half of the global pharmaceutical market, with $289 billion in annual sales followed by the EU and Japan.(pdf) Emerging markets such as China, Russia, South Korea and Mexico outpaced that market, growing a huge 81 percent.
US profit growth was maintained even whilst other top industries saw little or no growth.[18] Despite this, “..the pharmaceutical industry is — and has been for years — the most profitable of all businesses in the U.S. In the annual Fortune 500 survey, the pharmaceutical industry topped the list of the most profitable industries, with a return of 17% on revenue.”
Pfizer’s cholesterol pill Lipitor remains a best-selling drug world wide. Its annual sales were $12.9 billion, more than twice as much as its closest competitors: Plavix, the blood thinner from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis; Nexium, the heartburn pill from AstraZeneca; and Advair, the asthma inhaler from GlaxoSmithKline.
IMS Health publishes an analysis of trends expected in the pharmaceutical industry in 2007, including increasing profits in most sectors despite loss of some patents, and new ‘blockbuster’ drugs on the horizon.
Teradata Magazine predicted that by 2007, $40 billion in U.S. sales could be lost at the top 10 pharmaceutical companies as a result of slowdown in R&D innovation and the expiry of patents on major products, with 19 blockbuster drugs losing patent.