Archive for ‘UK Elections 2010’

March 17, 2011

The UK: oilier than ever

Daniel Elton writes:

The Cameron administration has a firm aspiration to be the ‘greenest government ever‘, but the reality is turning out to be quite different. Alongside having a transport secretary who advocates gas-guzzling changes to public policy, and continuing to encourage road-building in a time of austerity, it turns out that the person almost certain to head up the coalition’s environment and energy policy is a former BP policy advisor.


Ben Moxham is currently working at the Riverstone private equity group which focuses on energy investment. In line with civil service practice, he has been put forward on a short list of one by civil servants for approval by the prime minister and Nick Clegg.

Moxham was previously director of policy of BP’s alternative energy department and part of the team pledged to move BP  ‘Beyond Petroleum’. However, the initiative concerned environmental campaigners as ineffective. [READ THE REST]

September 19, 2010

Chart of the week: What does progressive austerity look like?

Story here.
June 7, 2010

Chart of the week: what happens when public finances are cut?

Estonia, “poster boy for Austerity”


May 17, 2010

Chart of the week: how do “the markets” respond to bad politics?

How the markets respond to their chosen party taking power in the UK, and how they respond to it starting to mess up its job:

May 5, 2010

Big oil: Nadhmi Auchi and Total (and the Liberal Democrats)

Francis Wade in the Guardian:

The outspoken chief executive of French oil giant Total takes no prisoners in his defence of the company’s controversial investment record. Speaking to the Financial Times earlier this month, he warned oil executives who may buckle when faced with the misery caused in Nigeria by Big Oil to “change their business” and get out of the game.

“Our business is a difficult one, but it is a responsibility of a big company to be able to face those challenges,” he said. Asked if there was any country in the world where the “cost to the environment or to the people” would be too great to operate in, he remained equally defiant.

This stoicism in the face of international condemnation has kept Christophe de Mergerie at the helm of one of the world’s “supermajors” – a term used to describe the six biggest oil companies that dominate global extraction and production. He shares that podium with Shell, BP, Chevron, Exxon and ConocoPhillips, all of which employ battalions of PR staff to top up the whitewash and defend daily attacks from environmental and human rights groups.

But accusations of hypocrisy have plagued Total, which employs early 100,000 people worldwide and last year earned more than $11bn in profit. The company announced in 2008 that it would not venture into Iran because the danger it posed to Total’s image was considered too high. “Today we would be taking too much political risk to invest in Iran because people will say: ‘Total will do anything for money’,” de Margerie told the FT shortly after the decision was made public.

But “do anything for money” is what it appears to be doing. [READ THE REST]

From TheJC, added hyperlinks:

A controversial Iraqi-British billionaire who funds one of the UK’s most strongly anti-Zionist websites organised a banquet in honour of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, and a fundraiser for Susan Kramer, the party’s candidate in the high-profile seat of Richmond Park.

Nadhmi Auchi, 73, was convicted of fraud in the giant French Elf-Aquitaine oil company trial in 2003 and given a suspended sentence, although he is seeking to appeal the verdict.

The Lib Dems told the JC that the connection between the party and the billionaire was limited to the two events and that Mr Auchi was not a donor to the party.

Mr Clegg spoke at a dinner hosted by Mr Auchi’s Anglo-Arab Organisation, set up to promote understanding between Britain and the Arab world last November. The Lib Dems confirmed that the AAO also organised a £60-a-head dinner for Ms Kramer, which raised around £5,000.

Mr Auchi’s Middle East Online site promotes material by well-known anti-Zionists such as musician-activist Gilad Atzmon and Jeff Gates, who runs the anti-Israel “Criminal State” blog. Mr Auchi also helped fund the first of George Galloway’s “Viva Palestina” convoys taking aid to Gaza.

The former Lib Dem leader Lord Steel is a longstanding director of Mr Auchi’s Luxembourg-registered company General Mediterranean Holdings. Other politicians who have worked with Mr Auchi include Lord Lamont and former minister Keith Vaz. At the weekend, the Mail on Sunday revealed that Lord Steel approached Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb to reassure him about Mr Auchi after Mr Lamb asked a series of questions about the billionaire in Parliament.

Mr Auchi is fiercely protective of his reputation and has used libel lawyers Carter-Ruck to force several newspapers and blogs to remove references to his activities. Despite Lord Steel’s approaches, Mr Lamb raised this issue in a Commons debate on libel in December 2008: “It is alleged that Mr Auchi and his lawyers, Carter Ruck, have been making strenuous efforts to close down public debate.”

More links: Modernity, Harry’s Place.

read more »

April 26, 2010

NEWS: From the UK

In this issue, executive payrises despite jobs losses and poor performance at Tomkins and Wimpey, BA and other airlines seek tax hand-out to pay for volcano turmoil, Conservative businessmen who cut jobs oppose “jobs tax”, Britain’s shame over Senegal mining industry, and sub-contracting in the cycle courier industry.

read more »

April 13, 2010

ANALYSIS: Conservative manifesto promises [Channel 4 FactCheck]

FactCheck thought we had a hard day yesterday working on the Labour Manifesto but when 120 pages of the Conservative manifesto dropped in our inboxes we stopped what we were doing and got to work.


April 13, 2010

COMMENT: Help for first-time buyers? [Chris Dillow]

Here’s another example of how the main political parties are ignoring the notion of tax incidence – stamp duty.


April 13, 2010

COMMENT: “Relentless reformers” [Chris Dillow]

Gordon Brown claims that “Labour will be restless and relentless reformers.” This seems an oafish thing to say. Being a relentless reformer is like being a DIY enthusiast who always lives in a mess because he is forever in the middle of a job that he never actually finishes.


April 10, 2010

COMMENT: Party of well, duh [Left Outside]

No one can have believed there wouldn’t be job losses, can they?

The firm I work at has undergone “efficiency savings” and a large portion of it has involved sacking people and making those left work harder. People have noticed.