Channel 4 investigative programme Dispatches exposes what Michael “Groper” Gove and his rich chums are doing to kid’s dinners.
As usual with the ConDems, it’s all about saving money to give to the rich.
After Jamie Oliver’s high-profile campaign to improve school meals, millions of pounds were pumped into improving school canteens and tough minimum standards on food and nutrition were set and enforced. Reporter Tazeen Ahmad examines evidence that strategies to improve the food served in all our schools are fast coming undone.
A hundred and ninety local authorities and 108 Academy schools responded to a survey by the programme, which found massive variations in the amount spent on dinners, with some schools opting out of providing a daily hot meal altogether.
Dispatches visits one English primary school where the only hot food available to children is supplied by volunteers working from the local village hall.
Around half of our children now attend Academy Schools, free from local control. Education Secretary Michael Gove exempted them from nutritional standards introduced by the last government, promising that standards would not deteriorate.
However, the Dispatches survey provides worrying new evidence about previously banned products being made available to pupils. The programme speaks to one catering supplier who says that once again many schools are now looking to source cheap, low-quality products.
One parent did his own detective work to discover out of the £2.10 per meal charged by one council, only 59 pence was being spent on ingredients.
As a consequence many children are voting with their feet, either bringing their own packed lunches or going outside school and eating from take-aways.
Dispatches examines the councils trying to fight back and restrict the growth of fast food outlets near schools, and reveals the national chain reluctant to take no for an answer.
The media in the UK this week have been trumpeting the fact that Vince Cable, the government’s Business Secretary, is supposedly at war with his Conservative colleagues over disagreements about employment legislation and so-called ‘red tape’.
‘Red tape’ is government speak for rules that protect ordinary people from being dismissed for no reason or for health and safety regulations that protect employees in shops, offices and factories across the nation.
A prime example of red tape that was cut by Conservative governments was the regulation that stopped the feeding of mixed up animals to other animals. This led to mad cow disease.
If one is to believe the gutter press, the workers of this country are the most cosseted in the world and cannot be sacked even if they guillotine the managing director. Of course this is nonsense. The health and safety executive whose job it is to monitor these issues never have enough staff to inspect all the businesses, and so are always under pressure.
The Labour Party has been cozying up to Cable showing they couldn’t care less about workers’ rights as well.
There has been a campaign for many decades to paint health and safety legislation as unneeded, intrusive and expensive for our poor beleaguered businesses. As you would expect, the opposite is true. Students of history will know that working conditions were universally awful in the past. The Factory System started in Britain during the time of the Industrial Revolution in the second half of the 18th century. Workers were forced to work up to 16 hours a day for a pittance. Women and children worked in mines and health and safety was nonexistent. This is what William Blake was describing when he wrote about the “dark satanic mills” in his poem Jerusalem.
Individual workers and trade unions battled throughout the 19th century and early 20th century to create a reasonably safe workplace. Sadly, employers care little about their workers and see staff as just another cost of production. What is even more disappointing is that the length and level of propaganda against health and safety is such that many workers echo these calls for fewer regulations as if that would help them in some way.
I’ve worked in a wide variety of workplaces and very few of them take health and safety seriously. Over the last decade I was employed by Jaguar Land Rover at the Solihull plant and can tell those who have never worked in the factory that it was and is a particularly dangerous place.
We take it for granted that everyone strives for safer road safety for instance, so why should factories, offices and shops be any different? Of course it is nonsense, but this message has been hammered home again and again because it saves money for big business. The papers always talk about ‘small companies not being able to cope with all the regulations’ but that is just a smokescreen. As usual it is the bigger businesses that drive the propaganda through the media.
I’ve been injured at work through industrial accidents and can tell you it is not easy to get compensation from an employer. Even when it is obvious that the company was to blame, there are many difficulties for an ordinary person to receive proper compensation. For a start, there has to be witnesses. The company always has lawyers who will lie, cheat and do anything they can go to deny the reality of the situation and reduce the amount of compensation payable.
On top of that there are the trade unions: most ordinary trade union officials are brilliant people who work very hard for their members. However the paid officials are another matter. Often they are in league with the company and work against the interests of the ordinary worker. For a trade union to support one of its members in a claim for an industrial accident the worker has to use the unions preferred solicitors. I have experience of this situation and it was a pretty depressing time. Not only do you have the injuries from the accident but all the odds are stacked against you. You need to be confident, patient, resourceful and thick skinned.
Now we read the Vincent Cable, a former oil company executive, and no friend of the working class. will this week promise to abolish health and safety inspections unless firms are operating in higher risk areas such as construction or energy, or if they have a record of poor performance. The right to compensation is also to be cut back.
Rubbish tabloid newspapers have screamed for years that Britain has a ‘compensation culture’. This, for those who haven’t heard the phrase before, is meant to imply that workers are suing their employers for massive sums every day of the week. As we’ve mentioned before, the truth is obviously nothing like this at all.
I was also a health and safety representative for my area. It was hard enough to get the company to do anything about dangerous situations before, but now the government are planning to cut back on the inspections by the health and safety executive. This is a carte blanche for bad employers to ignore the health of their workers and turn a blind eye to health and safety.
The Conservative Liberal coalition government is planning to turn the clock back to the last century when workers could be hired and fired at the drop of a cloth cap and injuries at work cost the company nothing but the workers their health and prosperity.
Many workers have lost their lives, limbs vision, hearing and livelihoods through accidents at work – but no manager or employer has ever been convicted of manslaughter for these crimes.
Is this the kind of country we want to live in?
A little-known power enjoyed by self-styled queen Elizabeth Windsor (made up name and leader of Anglican Church – an organisation founded ironically on the murder of queens!) and her prat of a son Prince of Wales to alter new laws is due to be exposed after the government lost a legal battle to keep details of its application private.
The information commissioner has ruled that the Cabinet Office must publish an internal Whitehall guide to the way the senior royals are consulted before legislation is introduced to ensure it does not harm their private interests.
The deputy information commissioner, Graham Smith, ruled that the Cabinet Office has until 25 September to release the confidential internal manual. It details how the consent of “The Crown and The Duchy of Cornwall” is obtained before bills are passed into law and what criteria ministers apply before asking the royals to amend draft laws. If it fails to do so it could face high court action.
In the past two parliamentary sessions Charles has been asked to consent to at least 12 draft bills on everything from wreck removals to co-operative societies. Between 2007 and 2009 he was consulted on bills relating to coroners, economic development and construction, marine and coastal access, housing and regeneration, energy and planning.
In Charles’s case, the little-known power stems from his role as the head of the £700m Duchy of Cornwall estate, which provides his £17m-a-year private income.
Nobody ever elected these goons.
There was never a time when the English people were asked if they wanted these spongers.
They take the piss on a grander scale than any other common criminals.
Isn’t time to clamp down on these unwanted parasites?
ATOS – Ministers have outsourced more than £3bn of public services to Atos, the multinational IT firm whose sponsorship of the Paralympics has prompted a nationwide campaign by disability activists.
A series of parliamentary questions from Labour MP Tom Greatrex reveals the value of contracts with Atos is now more than a third higher than the amount outsourced by the last government. The replies expose how far the reach of the company extends in Whitehall.
This video from Britain is called Tara Flood on The Green Paper March 2011.
From Socialist Worker weekly in Britain:
Tue 28 Aug 2012
‘Seven medals but now the Tories want my benefits’
Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder Tara Flood faces a test that could see her lose her disability benefits, she told Socialist Worker.
Tara is a seven-time Paralympic medallist. In 1992 she set a world record for 50 metres breaststroke that still stands today.
But that hasn’t saved her from the Tories’ harsh benefits clampdown.
“I’ve already had my letter,” she said. “At some point next year it will be my turn to be assessed.”
Tara is one of hundreds of thousands of people in the Tories’ sights as they try to slash benefits for sick and disabled people.
She said that receiving…
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Heavy but crucial to understand the state human society’s in. Exactly the argument contained in my novel – DOG Sharon: The Future is Female
It might seem impossible to fund the government when the super-rich pay no taxes. That is accurate. Ryan would actually raise taxes on the bottom 30 percent of earners, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, but that hardly fills the revenue hole he would create. The solution? All but eliminate all government outside of Social Security and defense — a point Derek Thompson has made in incredible chart form.
I’ve an appointment with the crazy ATOS healthcare bozos tomorrow. Yes, those heartless bastards whose evil computer-based health checks have driven thousands to consider suicide and up to 1000 have actually died after being passed fit for work.
Here’s the back of the letter.
They check folk for fitness to work so lots of people are disabled. And guess what? No wheelchair access, no disabled parking, parking restrictions on the road outside and no public carparks nearby. Yet they are supposed to provide these things.
How can this be? I hear you all asking.
The government has to save money needed by poor people to give to its rich friends and backers so they pick on the weakest in society.
It would take me all night to list the problems with this company so I suggest readers who like horror stories check out the Wikipedia page here.
Here’s a passage from a recent Guardian story about a doctor who filmed his ATOS “training”
“For employment support allowance, we talk about mobilising, which means being able to transfer from point A to point B either by walking, walking with aids, which is crutches, walking sticks, Zimmer frame or using a manual wheelchair. So if someone has no legs but they have good hands, they can sit and propel a manual wheelchair, they don’t score anything. This is one of the toughest changes,” she says. “I’ve recently had somebody with prostate cancer, but of course that’s not traditionally treated with chemotherapy so I gave him no points. And I couldn’t do anything else…. Same with breast cancer: the hormonal treatments don’t count. So he was given no points, I felt very uncomfortable doing it and I didn’t like doing it, but I had no way of scoring him.” Guardian
So I’ll post the grisly details after tomorrow’s meeting. Of course, I’ll be typing with my tongue…