Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of progressive news...

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1. Exclusive: Influential UK net-zero sceptics funded by US oil ‘dark money’ –openDemocracy

OpenDemocracy has an exclusive story about how a Tory linked climate sceptic group, The Global Warming Policy Foundation which has been leading the fight against Net Zero policies, has received ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars from an oil-rich foundation with huge investments in energy firms’.

It states that the ‘Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which also campaigns as Net Zero Watch, has also received more than half a million dollars through a fund linked to the controversial billionaire Koch brothers.’

The GWPF, which counts former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson among its trustees, has been opaque about where it gets its money from.

Tax documents seen by openDemocracy reveal the ‘network of dark money behind it for the first time – including the $30m shares in 22 companies working in coal, oil and gas that are held by one of its donors’.

2. Labour can pitch Starmer as “antidote to the chaos” of Johnson, report suggests-LabourList

A new report called ‘Lessons from a Landslide’ and published on the 25th anniversary of the 1997 general election result, says that Labour’s task before the next general election is to “offer a new approach to politics”.

A LabourList roundup of the report, which is introduced with a foreword from former Labour director of communications and strategy Alastair Campbell, says that Labour leader Keir Starmer should pitch himself as an ‘antidote to the chaos of the Johnson years’.

“The 12-page document….argues that the success of the Labour leader will “rest upon whether he can neutralise the inevitable criticism that the party is still part of the London Remainer elite”.

3. Big Pharma’s Pandemic Profiteering Isn’t Over-Tribune Magazine

Tribune features a piece on how big pharma has profiteered from the pandemic, after Pfizer told investors that it expected to ‘make more than $50 billion off its Covid-19 medicines this year’.

Nick Dearden writes: “Its vaccine is the most lucrative medicine in history, accruing $37 billion in 2021, and has sent its corporate revenues into the stratosphere. By the end of this year the company hopes to bring in $100 billion—a sum that exceeds the GDP of most countries on earth.”

Dearden highlights that while Pfizer claims that the cost price of its vaccine ‘is just under £5 per dose, experts say that doses could be made for as little as 76p.

‘Either way, the UK government paid £18 a shot for its first order, £22 for later purchases. Even taking Pfizer at its word, that would mean the NHS has paid a mark-up of at least £2 billion—six times the cost of the pay rise the government agreed to give nurses last year.’

4. 1.8 million people in Britain estimated to be living with long Covid, new figures suggest-Morning Star

New figures show that 1.8 million people in Britain are living with long-Covid, which is an increase of 6% from 1.7 million a month earlier, the Morning Star reports.

It comes after criticism that the government had failed to understand the true scale of long-Covid and the challenges it poses to the health of the population as well as to businesses and public services.

“The government should be under no illusions about the enormity of the challenge this country now faces to deal with long Covid,” said Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus.

“Without action, the workforce challenges impacting businesses and public services will only get worse.

“It is essential that ministers take control by urgently increasing research funding to develop effective treatments and providing advice to employers.”

5. Social Media Giants Get a Failing Grade on Climate Disinformation-DeSmog

DeSmog reports how tech giants are failing to communicate clearly about the spread of climate disinformation on their platforms and what they intend to do about it.

Drawing on the findings of a report from Friends of the Earth, Avaaz and Greenpeace, entitled ‘How social media companies’ climate disinformation problem is hidden from public’, the report states that:

“Social media companies are largely leaving the public in the dark about their efforts to combat the problem. There is a gross lack of transparency, as these companies conceal much of the data about the prevalence of digital climate dis/misinformation and any internal measures taken to address its spread.

“Pinterest and YouTube have taken notable steps to address climate dis/ misinformation, while Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter trail behind in their efforts.”

Julia Masters, campaign manager of the Climate Disinformation Coalition at Friends of the Earth said: “None of the social media companies got more than half of the points available, failing miserably to protect users from harmful climate disinformation.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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