Archive for March, 2014

Jobs not austerity

March 9, 2014
This picture shows a protest in the UK - one of the posters speaks volumes - 'NHS NOT TRIDENT' - it seems there is money for missiles but not for the Health Service... we must be careful we don't move in that direction here!

This picture shows a protest in the UK – one of the posters speaks volumes – ‘NHS NOT TRIDENT’ – it seems there is money for missiles but not for the Health Service… we must be careful we don’t move in that direction here!

In the EU a neo-liberal approach and a politics of austerity has ruined the lives of millions and eroded our democratic fundamentals. We must not be afraid to stand up to policies which put multinationals, banks and the speculative financial markets first, at the cost of common people, workers, SMEs, young entrepreneurs and the vast majority of people.

It is and it will be difficult because people have been fed the mantra that even mildly regulating the giants will lead to some kind of disaster. In fact it is the other way round – unregulated speculative markets have led to a disaster which the EU taxpayer – the vast majority of whom are normal wage-earners – who had to carry the expense of bailing the ‘giants’ out.

They will call us all sorts of names, they will invent stories and keep pushing their failed ‘trickle-down’ economic theories.

They will say that social expenditure is a waste of money, but at the same time they expect to get away with paying no taxes on their financial products.

They will emphasise stories of abuse of the welfare system, yet they do not mind gambling on the markets, risking the wellbeing and jobs of thousands upon thousands of people.

They will claim that a 0.01% tax on speculative transactions/derivatives etc. will scare away ‘investment’, yet they do not mind fluctuating markets with essential commodities changing prices so much that whole economies teeter on the brink of collapse. In the meantime normal consumers pay 18% in VAT (compare that with a proposed 0.01%  Financial Transaction Tax!).

They say that renewable sources of energy are ‘too expensive’, too undeveloped – and at the same time pour money into fossil fuel giants – of course that is where the profit is! They do not mind the ecological problems followed by the huge social problems their money is leading too.

Because of all this, I’m voting Green this May.

Disgraced BP oil executive heading for Maltese waters

March 5, 2014


The ‘tagħna lkoll’ skip is filling up fast. After our previous Nationalist government’s cavalier style of governance, with stories such as the Mater Dei/San Raffaele disaster, cost over runs and stories of corruption. After World Bank blacklisted companies such as Lahmeyer International  were engaged by the pious Nationalists and the smoking gun of the BWSC power station, not to mention the sale of Mid Med to HSBC for peanuts, Joseph Muscat is trying hard to keep up with the Jonses.

The engagement of the Indian consultant Shiv Nair, also debarred by the World Bank for his very upright and ethical business methods is case in point. (

Now, the skip has been topped up with another person who failed to admit responsibility for one of the worst oil drilling disasters – the Gulf of Mexico explosion in April 2010. Tony Hayward failed to admit responsibility for the disaster that killed 11 workers and the damage to the environment. Here is an excerpt from a report in Britain’s Independent:

The BP chief executive had claimed the spill – which could yet end up as the biggest in the history of offshore exploration – was “tiny” by comparison with the amount of water in the area. Yesterday he insisted that it will not stop deep water oil exploration “in the same way as Apollo 13 did not stop the space programme, nor have serious airline accidents from time to time stopped people flying”.

His comments came after President Obama attacked the “ridiculous spectacle” of BP and other oil companies failing to take responsibility during recent congressional hearings into the disaster. Speaking on Friday, Mr Obama said: “I will not tolerate more finger-pointing or irresponsibility… there is enough responsibility to go around. And all parties should be willing to accept it.”

The President vowed: “I’m not going to rest or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of the Gulf are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.”

Mr Hayward is under a fierce attack from campaigners who say his days must be numbered. Speaking to The Independent on Sundayyesterday, John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: “His job is on the line. I’ve never seen the head of an international company come under such a sustained attack from the President of the United States. The buck stops with him and he can duck and weave as much as he wants, but he’s not going to get away with it.” Mr Hayward described the environmental catastrophe as a “transforming event” that would result in significant changes to the oil industry.

Thousands of barrels of oil a day have been gushing from a seabed well since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on 20 April, killing 11 workers. With a relentless stream of into the sea from a broken pipe nearly a mile below the surface, the spill has now grown to cover some 3,650 square miles of ocean.” (

This is the man who is CEO of a company Muscat is giving oil drilling concessions to. Surprise, surprise, he’ll be also a guest speaker at the Economist conference in Malta this week (6-7 March):

The people others have rejected because of misconduct, carelessness and their sheer irresponsibility, get picked up by our government. Great. Excellent. To use the Prime Minister’s own words: what an innovative and positive government!


PS Another direct quote from the Independent:

A British geologist who has been with BP for 28 years, Tony Hayward has tried to clean up a legacy of law suits arising from a major refinery fire in Texas and an oil spill in Alaska, since succeeding Lord Browne as chief executive in 2007. Here are some of the other controversies he has been embroiled in:

2007 Signalled his intention to abandon the “Beyond Petroleum” mantra of his predecessor in a speech at Stanford University in which he said too many people at BP were “trying to save the world”.

2008 Called for the Arctic and other areas to be opened up for oil exploration.

2009 Came under fire from environmentalists over BP’s membership of the American Petroleum Institute (API) – which lobbied against Barack Obama’s energy and climate change bill.

2010 Said BP will press ahead with its controversial tar sands project in Canada, condemned as “dirty oil” by environmentalists that claim it produces far more greenhouse gases than normal oil extraction, and results in large amounts of toxic waste. (

More information about the Gulf of Mexico disaster, BP and Tony Hayward: