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From: The Socialist issue 704, 8 February 2012: Save the NHS!

Search site for keywords: US - Pension - Shell - Olympics

Them & Us


Clever clogs

How many of you have had 'the look'? 'The look' from Tories who pity socialists for 'not understanding' how the world 'really' works. A trait no doubt picked up from the Eton-Oxbridge clique in government who think they're cleverer than the rest of us too.

So we can't help but be just a little bit pleased with results of a Canadian study which suggest that right-wingers are less intelligent than left-wingers. Childhood intelligence was compared to adult political views of more than 15,000 people.

The researchers said: "Cognitive abilities are critical in forming impressions of other people and in being open minded, individuals with lower cognitive abilities may gravitate towards more socially conservative right-wing ideologies that maintain the status quo. It provides a sense of order."


Olympic-sized bonus

There are less than 170 days to go until the 2012 Olympics kick off in London. The event, running over budget, is costing 24 billion. This has understandably raised some eyebrows given the government's continual insistence that there is no money in the pot for our jobs and services.

But lots of people are working very hard to make the games a success. For example, Jeremy Beeton, the director general for the Government Olympic Executive has been working so hard that he was rewarded with a 130,000 bonus on top of his 225,000 salary. He must be a really vital part of the team making sure everything goes smoothly in the summer.

Although we don't quite remember the same being said about DLR drivers getting a comparatively humble 2,000 for working during the games to make sure everyone can actually get there!


Shell of a pension scheme

A month ago Shell closed its final salary pension scheme meaning that future generations of workers will have a much less secure retirement. The same is happening across both the private and public sectors as employers insist the economic crisis combined with an aging population mean these better schemes are unaffordable. And yet a matter of weeks later Shell announced a 54% rise in profits. The company is now making 2 million every hour!

10.5 billion was paid to shareholders last year. Why can't that money be used to continue to provide decent pensions for future Shell workers - the people who do the work that makes the money in the first place?


Equal opportunity?

The American Dream is all about everybody having equal opportunity. Apparently little Johnny Nobody has just as much chance of becoming president as anybody else as long as he's willing to work hard enough. So it's only right that the money individuals can give to campaigns of candidates for the presidential election is limited to $2,500 each.

And yet three hedge fund executives managed to give $1 million each by donating to Restore Our Future, a political action committee supporting Romney which isn't subject to the same rules. Other significant donations came from his former colleagues at Bain Capital who gave $750,000 and senior executives at Goldman Sachs who gave $385,000.

No prizes for guessing what kind of interests his policies will represent should he get elected.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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Article dated 8 February 2012

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