Two books are recommended reading for Unite members this month.
Corporate Europe: How big business sets policies on food, climate and war - written by David Cronin
The Origins of the Football League: The First Season 1888/89 - written by Mark Metcalf
, Corporate Europe: How big business sets policies on food, climate and war
This book is about how big business manipulates the European Union with the result th
at the general public, consumers and workers all lose out.
Why did you write this book?
Having written about EU affairs for 18 years, I've become increasingly aware of how policy-making has been captured by unaccountable corporations. This appalling state of affairs is regarded as almost normal by most journalists working in Brussels. With some exceptions, there is almost no serious investigation of the pernicious level of influence wielded by the thousands of corporate lobbyists based here.
What makes you believe the Euro architects always hoped it would erode the welfare state?
Much of the preparatory work for the euro was done the Association for the Monetary Union of Europe, which banded together major banks and corporations around the core idea that there should be a complete liberalisation of the movement of capital in Europe. These goals were adopted by the EU in 1989. Some of the main association figures - like its chief economist Stefan Collignon - have long argued that the Brussels bureaucracy should be able to dictate the contents of budgets at the national level in each EU country. From reading between the lines of Collignon's work it’s clear he wants to be able to restrain spending on social policy.
Why are you very critical of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)?
The EFSA relies almost exclusively on research paid for by the big food industry in making its assessments. If you look at the declarations of interest for the "experts" advising EFSA, you will find that many of them work for large food and pesticides companies. I came across one particularly comical case where an Italian scientist - who runs a think-tank for the pesticides industry and goes around giving the impression that pesticides are safe for honey bees - is advising EFSA on pesticides regulation.
Would firms left aggrieved by tougher environmental standards move out of Europe to other parts of the world?
There's no evidence that would happen in any significant numbers if our politicians decide to fight climate change with more vigour than up to now. Moving is very costly, so it's unlikely to be done simply because a firm doesn't like a particular law. In any event, our politicians should have some backbone and stand up to the bullying and blackmail from corporations opposed to stronger environmental rules.
Why are you so critical of Peter Mandelson’s attempts to break down trade barriers?
When Mandelson was the EU's commissioner for trade, he published a manifesto called Global Europe. It committed the Union to an aggressive campaign against any "barrier" that major firms encountered when doing business anywhere in the world. These "barriers" included social and environmental standards that impeded the maximisation of profits. Mandelson helped take EU trade policies to new and dangerous extremes.
Corporate Europe can be obtained from http://www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745333328
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.Mark Metcalf, The Origins of the Football League: The First Season 1888/89.
League Football kicked off on Saturday 8 September 1888 and the research for this book has finally ended a 125-year-old footballing mystery by being able to confirm that Kenny Davenport of Bolton Wanderers scored the first goal at 3.47pm.
The introduction of professionalism in 1885 had meant clubs needed a guaranteed source of income if they were to have the funds to pay players. Twelve clubs – seven from the North West and five from the Midlands - were persuaded by William McGregor of Aston Villa to combine to play regular fixtures. The result was to revolutionise not only English football but also virtually every sport and nation since then.
The immediate popularity of the League saw other clubs clamour to join and by 1892/93 a second League - featuring Newton Heath (who became Manchester United in 1902) and The (Sheffield) Wednesday - had been formed.
The book tells the story of this historic first season and includes reports on every match and profiles of all those who played. It was one in which Preston were ‘invincible’ and set the standards for other great teams to follow.
The tactics and formations adopted by teams to win matches are analysed and key players and great characters such as John Goodall, Jack Southworth and Billy Bassett are highlighted. Players faced challenges from uneven pitches, unforgiving equipment, and complex refereeing rules, the absence of goal nets and penalties as well as pitch invasions from disgruntled fans. Nevertheless some of the football played was extraordinary. Journalists meanwhile faced difficulties in reporting matches from makeshift press boxes.
The clubs (eleven of which are today playing in either the Premier or Football League, with only Accrington no longer in existence) and their pitches and grounds, as well as the fans that filled them, are explored within the economic circumstances and developments of the era.
The book includes a rare selection of photographs and newspaper cuttings from 1888/89. There are also reports on the 1888/89 FA Cup in which Preston beat Wolves 3-0 in the final as well as the Home International Championship in which Scotland were victorious.
Anyone who loves English football and is interested in the history of the beautiful game should find this book of great interest. The 1888/89 season was a learning experience that ultimately paved the way for the Premier and Football League of today that remains totally unique in world football by its talent and competitive quality.
John Goodall, the best player of his generation
The Origins of the Football League can be obtained from http://amberleybooks.com/
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