Category Archives: privatisation


simon israel, channel 4 newsTwo reports in two days, and each absolutely shaming.

The first is on the Yarl’s Wood detention centre. It has appeared in some of the media and there was a report on it on Channel Four news last night. (links at end of article)

A report has been published in Child Abuse & Neglect: the International Journal by child care specialists who examined 24 children aged between three months and 17 years detained at Yarl’s Wood.

They found that 73% of the children had suffered significant emotional and behavioural problems since being detained. These included weight loss, sleep disturbance, nightmares and bed wetting.

not surprising as they had been effectively imprisoned, many having seen their parents taken away in hand cuffs. Some had been separated from their main carer including a 20 month year old baby.

This report was complied in 2006 and a follow up study urged. nothing has happened since.

The detention of children has continued despite calls by childrens’ charities and MPs for the practice to end. This year 470 children have been detained despite the fact that, as one of the report’s authors states there is “no clear evidence to indicate that detention is necessary in order to prevent families from absconding, more humane alternatives to current practice must be explored”

Yarl’s Wood is run for profit by Serco.

For those outside life maybe freer, but equally tough.

An article in today’s Guardian throws a little light on the life of asylum seeking family in Manchester.

It tells the story of Shakira and Farzana Begum. They somehow have to live on £92 a week benefits. This is 30% less  British claimants get. Shakira cannot wok even if she wanted to, as an asylum seeker she is forbidden to take paid employment.

Living on this kind of money makes life on long pathetic and shaming grind. Every decision about money becomes a desperate choice. The article is an searing indictment of the way people are forced to live in Britain  in 2009 and should be read by anyone with a social conscious.

It is a story that shames this country, as is the story of Yarl’s Wood.

But even more than that it is a story that shames the Labour Party. It is a party that is meant to stand for the poor and the oppressed. And it has been in power for twelve years.

What can be the excuse be? These are not policies inherited from the Tories. These are policies that they have implemented and in the process batted away criticism from charities and their own MPs.

Stories like these make that idea that Labour might still be the “People’s Party” sound like a sick joke.

To watch Simon Israel’s report on Channel 4 News click here.

To read the Guardian article on Shakira and Farzana click here

Leave a comment

Filed under asylum, Labour Party, poverty, privatisation, refugees

“Everything must go!” Brown’s closing down sale

Crypto-communist and creator of The Tote: Winston Churchill

Crypto-communist and creator of The Tote: Winston Churchill

To follow up his conference speech in which he put “clear red water” between him and Cameron, Brown has decided to flog off another whole bunch of public assets.

Just to prove how much more in favour of the state he is than the Tories he is selling off the government’s 33% stake in Urenco, which supplies equipment to enrich uranium for the nuclear industry, the Dartford Crossing, the Channel Tunnel rail link, and a whole load of government land and property.

He will also be selling The Tote. This of course was created as a nationalised company in 1928 by the crypto-communist Winston Churchill.

Of course selling them off in the current depressed market means that whoever buys them will be getting them for a knock down price. So not at all like the privatisations of the 1980s!

And what beckons for the unfortuante workers of these firms? The same as has happened in every other privatised industry: “down-sizing”, wage cuts, the undermining of conditions and the strangling of trade union activity. How they must welcome being freed from the shackels of the state.

At least one trade union leader seems to want to do something about this. Bob Crow stated that “A recent poll showed that over 70% of the public oppose rail privatisation and the voters will be rightly angry at any move to knock down to the highest bidder the last major piece of the rail network still in public hands. This smacks of sheer desperation by the Labour government and dredges up memories of the darkest days of the Thatcherite privatisation mania.”

Leave a comment

Filed under privatisation