Posts Tagged ‘SAB MIller’

Private Eye on the Companies Sponsoring the Tories in 2008

March 5, 2016

Private Eye in their issue for 5th-18th September 2008 printed this piece listing the companies sponsoring the Tory party conference that year.

Meet the Tories’ Brum Chums

The Conservative party conference will see Team Cameron entertaining a plethora of wealthy bedfellows from industry when it kicks off in Birmingham on 28th September …

The Arms trade…
Labour have been too embarrassed to be seen mixing with the weapons makers, but if shadow defence secretary Liam Fox becomes a real minister all that will change. Fox is timetabled to speak for the Defence Industries Council, an arms trade group led by BAE Systems chief executive Mike Turner.

Fox shares the enthusiasm of the “Vulcan” wing of the US Republicans for military reaction to perceived threats, reflected in the title of another meeting he is addressing on “Resurgent threats: Terror, Russia and Iran?” The meeting is sponsored by yet another arms firm, EADS, who hope to sell loads of kit to a future Tory government.

The Greens…
Cameron is fighting to make green a new Tory, colour, but it’s a very pale shade indeed. The Tory Green Initiative’s first meeting at the conference is paid for by the British Cement Association and has cement lobbyist Mike Gilbert on the platform. The link makes the TGI look more like an industry-friendly lobby group than an environmental campaign. Hardly surprising, as the Initiative is run by Nick Wood-Dow, the boss of lobbying firm Chelgate, which assists clients from the construction industry who have problems with “disproportionate response from the community, or from pressure or environmental groups.”

The Poor…
Shadow Treasury minister Mark Hoban is demonstrating the new Conservative interest in poverty with a meeting on the credit crunch, sponsored by Cattles plc, one of the Britain’s leading sub-prime lenders. Cattles makes millions through its “Shopacheck” loans to the low-paid that have APRS as high as 400 per cent.

The Lobbyists…
Last year Tory MP Peter Luff was outraged that the Canary Wharf Group gave £120,000 to Labour while promoting Crossrail, the line that will improve access to Canary Wharf. Boris Johnson also backs Crossrail, and Luff will presumably be horrified that the Canary Wharf Group is paying the London Assembly Conservatives. The group is funding a political “speed dating” lunch, where delegates can meet “the most influential people in London politics, from London Assembly members to deputy mayors.”

Elsewhere, shadow Treasury bod Mark Hoban is advertised as the top speaker at the “invitation-only financial services reception” of lobby firm Lansons, which makes a living from trying to influence politicians on behalf of big-money clients such as HBOS bank. It’s easy to see why Lansons has invited a shadow minister to their party, but harder to see why Hoban would accept.

The list of curious sponsors goes on: shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien is speaking on problem drinking – sponsored by brew SAB Miller. And Frances Maude, a key member of Team Cameron, is speaking on “Preparing for Power” – that to money from management consultants PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

…and the Labour ex-ministers
Of course, the Tories aren’t the only one who know on which side their bread is buttered – three former Labour ministers will address the conference, getting in practice at sucking up to Cameron’s crew. Former trade minister Brian Wilson was once a left-wing MP and enthusiastic supporter of Castro’s Cuba; now he is chairman of the pro-airports lobby group FlyingMatters. Steven Twigg, the man once famous for defeating Portillo, and former Culture secretary Chris Smith complete the trio.

Those were the companies seeking to profit from the Tories gaining power that year. And looking at this, and the way Cameron very swiftly dropped his Green initiative when it appeared to have worked, it’s clear that this always was a sham. His Green Initiative was simply an astroturf organisation to get the Tories and their backers in the very un-Green cement industry back into No. 10. And since then, the Tories have dropped it completely. Cameron took down that windmill from his house, and has put his full support behind fracking, another industry which comprehensively wrecks the environment.

David Cameron is still firmly behind the arms industry. He was up at the BAE systems base the other week in Wharton, boasting about how he’d sold millions of their products to the war criminals and mass murderers in Saudi Arabia. He wasn’t bothered, calling their armaments ‘brilliant things’.

And the hypocrisy and deceit behind their lobbying bill, which shuts out charities and other organisations from influencing government, while leaving the real lobbyists to pursue their sordid trade, should be no surprise given their appearance sponsoring so much of the Tory conference.

And then there’s the matter of the 95 Tory and Lib Dem ministers with links to health care companies, who are hoping to get rich from the privatisation of the NHS.

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Tories: Cuts Can’t Be Savage, Because No-One’s died in the Street

February 15, 2015

Chris-Skidmore_288556k

Chris Skidmore MP: The b*stard responsible for the above quote.

Be warned about this one: it’ll make you really sick and furious. It’s another piece from Private Eye for the 4th to 17th October 2013, this time from the magazine’s ‘HP Sauce’ column. It reports how members of the Tories’ ‘Free Enterprise Group’ dined out at the Conservative conference that year at the largesse of SAB Miller, a beer company eager for avoiding paying tax.

Aren’t they all?

Much more infuriating is the blasé attitude of the Tory diners themselves to the effect of the cuts, and the complete disconnection from the way they were killing people. Here’s the story.

Conference delegates in Manchester frustrated by David Cameron’s coalition compromises could find a more red-blooded Conservatism at the jam-packed fringe meeting of the Tory “Free Enterprise Group”.

MPs Kwasi Kwarteng, Andrew Leadsom, Chris Skidmore and Dominic Raab talked about the really vigorous cuts they want. Skidmore claimed existing cuts weren’t really “savage” because “no one’s lying dead in the street”, while Raab recommended halving the number of government departments ” because existing cuts were only “relatively modest”.

There was some debate about whether proper free marketeers should be tougher on tax-avoiding, monopolist, “too big to fail” corporations that push around governments, but generally MPs and delegates were less keen on this argument. Perhaps this was just as well; the event was sponsored by beer firm SAB Miller, which paid for the room and supplied many bottles of its own Peroni beer to lubricate the free marketeers’ fervour.

PS: SAB Miller is very keen on avoiding tax, with damaging effects – a 2010 report from charity Action Aid accused the brewer of avoiding £20m of tax per year in Africa alone thanks to its offshore subsidiaries.

Skidmore and the rest of the ‘Free Enterprise Group’ clearly don’t know, and worse, don’t want to know, the devastation their nasty views have caused. Stilloaks and numerous other bloggers have put up a list 45 people, who are known to have either starved to death or committed suicide thanks to the government’s benefit cuts.

There has even been an artwork, War Minister, created by an artist to commemorate the victims. This is a portrait of Iain ‘Underpants’ Duncan Smith, composed of photos of the victims. It’s a powerful and moving piece, which Tom Pride has put up on his blog.

Going further, Mike over at Vox Political, Tom Pride and Johnny Void also recorded the deaths of two men after they were sanctioned by Ashton-Under-Lyme jobcentre. One of the men was homeless.

So, Skidmore, people really are lying dead in the street thanks to your policies.

This is the reality of the current Tory government – people who don’t know, and frankly don’t care, how many ordinary people die, so long as enterprise is free and profits are big. For them.

Vote them out at the next election.