Today’s digest opens with more news from Gaza. Although international pressure led to hopes of a possible ceasefire, troubles continued overnight. Gaza faced renewed bombardment from Israel and agreement on a ceasefire to end a week of violence remains elusive; at least 20 Palestinians were reported killed yesterday. After the UK government recognised the Syrian opposition the Middle East continues to remain a tinderbox, it’s now time for the UK government to revise its policy and put pressure on Israel to stop the bombardment.
And pressure also needs to be put on loan sharks as payday firms have also hit the headlines. The Guardian reports that MP Stella Creasy has demanded an apology from the online lender Wonga after the paper uncovered evidence that an employee of the firm has been using an anonymous Twitter account to publicly attack her mental stability. Stella obviously can’t see the benefits that Wonga brings to our debt laden nation…
With ethics in the industry challenged, Unite has called for the regulator to clamp down on the debt collectors, general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The OFT’s warning to payday lenders doesn’t go far enough, quickly enough. Increasingly, ordinary working people are being forced into the clutches of payday vultures just to make ends meet ... we need action now to stop the rogue practices of legal loan sharks and a cap on the extortionate interest rates to put a stop to the debt misery.” Spot on.
From debts to donations and a few of the papers dig into the funding for political parties after the Electoral Commission revealed that Labour received more than £3 million in donations between July and September - £400,000 more than the Tories on £2,613,496, the Liberal Democrats got just £578,08 . Len McCluskey said: "These figures show the Tory party's deepening reliance on a small city elite made up of hedge fund managers and financiers. The money given by their top three donors is about the same as over one million working people, Unite members, donate to Labour in affiliation fees. The figures underline that the Tories are the party for the one per cent and why we have a Tory chancellor happy to give his millionaire chums £40,000 tax cuts while hammering the poor and the vulnerable."
And speaking of chancellor George Osborne he is up before the parliamentary commission on banking standards this morning, no doubt he’ll defend the banking elite despite Libor fixing, PPI, corporate transparency and banking bonuses while ignoring the plight of thousands of ordinary bank staff working ever harder after thousands of their colleagues’ jobs have been cut. Don’t expect any change from Gideon…
But then Gideon – sorry George – Osborne may be fretting about his choice of campaign strategist. Lynton Crosby has been appointed with Osborne’s backing, but Osborne was the one who brought Andy Coulson into the Tory fold. Yesterday both Coulson and ex News International chief Rebekah Brooks were charged over being deeply involved in alleged criminality, plus ca change…
And yesterday also saw the conviction of the UBS trader who lost the bank $2.3 billion, Kweku Adoboli will serve a seven year sentence for the UK’s biggest ever banking fraud, although the amount the government had to pump in to Britain’s banks could perhaps also be considered for that title, sadly the elite don’t pay just ordinary workers. That can be seen from the announcement of further cuts by Premier Foods which is to close a series of bakeries with the loss of 900 jobs, times must be tough when people can’t afford their daily bread.
And that takes me to the final point which is the veto of women bishops in the Church of England. The Church of England was thrown into crisis after lay members rebuffed the church’s leadership possibly kicking the plans into the long grass, so much for equality, but then the incoming new head of the church Justin Welby is an ex oil man having worked in the oil industry for more than a decade, welcome to Con-Dem Britain…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- HP takes $9 billion hit over Autonomy (p1)
- Bond to quit Xstrata (p1)
- UBS trader jailed (p2)
- Brooks and Coulson charged (p3)
- Energy bill puts low rates in doubt (p4)
heads for budget showdown (p6)
- EU budget: The trillion euro split (p11)
and Berlin consider new EADS stake pact (p17)
- Aviva appoints Wilson (p17)
- easyJet lifts payout (p18)
- Premier Foods to slash 900 jobs (p22)
Edited by Mik Sabiers