Hold the coffee… December 3, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Capitalism, Crime, Economy.
…after reading this...
Starbucks is cutting paid lunch breaks, sick leave and maternity benefits for thousands of British workers, sparking fresh anger over its business practices.
On the day the House of Commons’ public accounts committee branded the US coffee chain’s tax avoidance practices “immoral”, baristas arriving for work were told to sign revised employment terms, which include the removal of paid 30-minute lunch breaks and paid sick leave for the first day of illness. Some will also see pay increases frozen.
And what did Starbucks do, or rather not do?
The changes affecting about 7,000 coffee shop staff emerged as the company tried to quell public and political outrage at its use of secretive company structures that has seen it pay just £8.6m in UK tax over the past 13 years on sales of £3.1bn.
Lovely. Just lovely.
The Quinn Issue August 1, 2012Posted by Garibaldy in Capitalism, Crime, Sinn Féin.
I was going to just stick a link to this piece from Sluggerotoole in the Open Thread, but remembered Joe’s point yesterday that if things continued the Quinn issue could do with its own thread. So here we are. Mick Fealty quotes the following from the Irish Times
Mr Quinn’s bluff and bluster attempts to convince a sceptical public that he is more sinned against than sinning have failed to impress. He has sought to cultivate a sense of victimhood in order to exonerate himself and to blame others for mistakes and misjudgments of his own making. In doing so he has managed to sound like a fool while acting like a knave.There can only be one winner in all this. And from what we have seen so far, it will not be Mr Quinn. Speaking truth to power can require moral courage.
Speaking truth to Mr Quinn is the best service that his friends who hold his best interests at heart – not least those in the GAA – can and should now provide.
After the riots… something that smells a bit of class war. August 13, 2011Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Capitalism, Crime, Inequality.
Well, what of the news this evening that:
With the support of David Cameron, Conservative Wandsworth council was the first to attempt to evict tenants who had been caught up in the rioting.
The authority announced on Friday that the first eviction notice had been served – to the mother of an 18-year-old boy accused of violent disorder and attempted theft. The teenager has not yet been convicted but has appeared in court in connection with disturbances on Monday at Clapham Junction.
You don’t have to in any sense condone the actions of the boy to think that evicting his mother is a step too far. He’s an adult in the eyes of the law. That he lives in the same flat/house doesn’t seem to me to be compelling as a reason to evict all others there – collective guilt is never pleasant, particularly when there seems to be no evidence of the guilt of others. That the boy hasn’t been convicted yet merely adds insult to injury.
Sure, there’s this:
Other authorities, including Westminster, Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, Nottingham and Salford, are also considering evicting those found to have taken part in the unrest.
An eviction notice is the first step leading to a final decision made by a judge sitting in a county court.
But that someone who didn’t riot is to suffer because someone else did something seems simply unjust.
And then there’s this gem…
Greater Manchester police had to apologise on Saturday after sending out celebratory comments on sentences from the courts. Commenting on the five-month prison sentence handed down to a young mother who did not take part in the riots but who accepted a pair of shorts a friend of hers had stolen, the force’s Twitter feed stated: “Mum-of-two, not involved in disorder, jailed for FIVE months for accepting shorts looted from shop. There are no excuses!”
Five months for ‘accepting shorts’ looted from a shop? The looting is dismal too, but five months seems hugely excessive. Indeed a custodial sentence seems excessive.
There are apparently some tensions in the Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition, though I can’t see them coming to much. But what of Nick Clegg’s thoughts on all this?
“If you go out and trash other people’s houses, you burn cars, you loot and smash up shops – if you show absolutely no sense of respect to your own community – then questions need to be asked whether the community should support you in living in that community. I think that is a perfectly fair question to ask, but how you apply it needs to be done in a case-by-case way. The principle that if you are getting some support from the community, you are going to have to show some loyalty to it is a really, really important one.”
Well, perhaps so, though wiser heads argue that it may be counterproductive to criminalise overly hastily those who have no previous records. And I’m certainly not in principle, or in general practice, against custodial sentences for those who carry out the acts he describes above. But for those who didn’t carry them out? That stinks – and – apologies for the whataboutery, but in this instance the contradictions seems very stark indeed – this from an UK political class who in the past two years were more than forgiving of their own smash and grabs on the public purse.
But if the idea is to approach this with any degree of sensitivity, not merely as regards potential contributory factors in the genesis of the riots, but also preemptively to ensure they don’t occur again this seems designed almost willfully to achieve the opposite effect.
Bertie: Business Guru July 27, 2011Posted by Garibaldy in Capitalism, Crime, Fianna Fáil.
Perhaps that headline should read Bertie: Business Gubu instead. Today’s Irish Independent brings us news that Bertie Ahern is charging American businesses $40,000 a time for a lecture on how he transformed the Irish economy during the boom times, and is offering tips on how to succeed in business (presumably proper accounting procedures are not high on that list).
In his latest lecture — entitled ‘Prime Minister as CEO’ — he tells listeners to adopt Ireland’s Celtic Tiger as a model of economic growth.
His fee, which is listed as being more than US$40,000, is in the top bracket and shared by just 57 other mostly American speakers, including former US President George W Bush.
But it is his speech on the economy which promises to reveal how Irish citizens accepted “short-term sacrifices to achieve long-term gain”, which has raised most eyebrows.
The outline of the speech reads: “Leading the turnaround of an entire country is akin to the constant evolution companies and organisations must undergo to remain competitive.
“Bertie Ahern dedicated his career to re-inventing his country’s economic and political stakes in global affairs. He persuaded his fellow politicians and citizens to accept short-term sacrifices to achieve long-term gain.
“His ability to persuade his constituents to follow his vision provides lessons for even the most seasoned executives.”
So basically, he gives a speech in which he boasts how he was able to talk round huge numbers of people into believing what he wanted them to believe. True, but shameless.
UPDATE: Speaking of shameless, this speech by Eamon Ryan via Sluggerotoole could probably do with a post of its own, but I’m so annoyed by it (even if some of what he says about political parties north and south is correct) I couldn’t face it.
Fore! January 9, 2011Posted by irishelectionliterature in Business, Capitalism, Crime, Fianna Fáil.
Tags: fianna fail, nama
*photo from irishpublishingnews.com
I happened to read the “revelations” in today’s Sunday Times that a few months before the Bank Guarantee Brian Cowen had a game of Golf and dinner with Seanie at Druids Glen. All at the behest of Anglo who invited Mr Cowen. Seanie, who tells all in his ‘Fitzpatrick Tapes’ book also reveals an earlier phone call to Mr Cowen.
Was I shocked?
(although I was amused to find that Caoimhín O’Caoláin (attending a wedding) bumped into the lads and asked Mr Cowen to join him in meeting the Wedding Party)
Of course Anglo or anything else along those lines wasn’t discussed during the golf or the dinner.
Then from something interesting about the nationally ruinous ties at the top of Irish Society we get to the main bulk of the headline article and the two page spread inside.
We find too that poor Seanie was
“one of the biggest victims” of the banking crisis, having “lost money as well”.
Seanie went on to complain
“My whole Social Circle has diminished”
I’ll stop quoting Seanie, as I’m sure at this stage, that there isn’t a dry eye in the house.
RTE now have the story of the phone call, dinner and game of Golf and the political reaction.
Poor Dan Boyle
has said that his party views the substance of the article ‘very seriously’ and it is ‘concerned’ about the details revealed in it. Mr Boyle said the Green Party is today seeking explanations about the meetings between Mr Cowen and Mr FitzPatrick.
Joan Burton says that
‘It is surely beyond belief that there was no discussion at these encounters of the rapidly deteriorating position of the bank.
The question arises …. is this an issue the Greens could hurry their exit over?
That they weren’t aware of these meetings and were duped over the Bank Guarantee…. or is it all too late.
I should make clear that the title reflects my belief that the Irish state has pretty much always been run in the interests of the form of capitalism known as imperialism, with the wholesale adoption of neo-liberalism in the last decade and a half simply putting an ideological gloss on what was already the case. Having said that, it’s hard not to see the current state of things as marking a significant development of some sort. I take WBS’s point that the surrender of sovereignty involved has been exaggerated. But still. We never saw comments of this type in the Irish Times when the state surrendered its currency
[Is this] what the men of 1916 died for: a bailout from the German chancellor with a few shillings of sympathy from the British chancellor on the side. There is the shame of it all. Having obtained our political independence from Britain to be masters of our own affairs, we have now surrendered our sovereignty to the European commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
The surrender of currency was of course a surrender of a significant amount of sovereignty, one that took the dilution of democracy involved in EU membership to new heights. The joke made in some circles at the time that this represented as big a sell-out of the rights of the Irish people as the Treaty did have an edge to it. It is remarkable now to watch Lenihan and the like backtrack on what they were saying yesterday, after Honahan said he was expecting a loan from the IMF worth tens of billions. Lenihan is now saying the following
The problems do not relate to our budgetary position. Our budgetary strategy this year is front-loading a €6bn adjustment in the budget, has been fully endorsed by all of the ministers in Europe. That’s clear.
The problems we’re addressing here are problems of a structural character in the banking system, there are of a necessity, technical questions that require intensive discussions
which are now under way. The government and its EU partners are still examining options on what shape A package of financial assistance might take.
There is no question of loading onto the Irish sovereign and the Irish state some kind of unspecified burden. That’s why the government has taken great care not to take a formal
application at this stage but engaging in intensive discussion to see exactly what the options are.
So that’s alright then. Anyway, you can watch the final humiliation of the arrogant Fianna Fáil Celtic Tiger generation (the true heirs of the Fianna Fáil An Taca generation mercilessly criticised and exposed by the United Irishman newspaper in the 1960s, some of which can be seen in the CLR’s Left Archive) unfold minute by minute thanks to the Guardian.
To come back to the title of the post – this is the final surrender of the Fianna Fáil/Green coalition. The surrender of the state’s assets and policy to international financial capital will doubtless continue under the McCarthy report mark II on privatisation and the new government, whatever the specific elements of its composition. The crimes of the Irish bourgeoisie against the working class are far from over.
Socialism or Barbarism goes the saying. Looks like we’re in for a hell of a lot of barbarism, doled out at the hands of domestic and foreign callous asset-stripping capitalists.
Eight statistics May 20, 2010Posted by Tomboktu in Crime, Crime, Ethics, Inequality, Inequality, Ireland, Justice, Rights, Uncategorized.
I think the eight numbers in these two lines say so much. They are from an Irish Times story on Monday. The ‘he’ is Fr Peter McVerry.
… there had been 3,183 prosecutions for welfare fraud, worth €43 million. This had led to 48 people being jailed for 12 years in total, he said.
Yet in the same period there were only 39 prosecutions for tax evasion worth €2.25 billion. These led to six people being jailed for a total of 3¾ years.
We need a graph to illustrate that. And I hope they form the basis of lots of submissions to the Department of Justice’s consultation on crime.