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

A roundup of progressive news…

A pile of newspapers with text overlaid reading "Voices on the Left"

1.Climate Denial Group Criticised For Ties to Pro-Putin Millionaire-DeSmog

A climate science denial group campaigning against the UK’s green policies has close ties to a right-wing businessman who backed Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, DeSmog reveals.

CAR26, a group which has been pushing for a referendum on the UK’s net zero target, is run by Lois Perry, who DeSmog point out is a regular guest on GB News and talkRADIO and who has recently been arguing that Russia’s war on Ukraine should mean the UK should be extracting more fossil fuels.

DeSmog states: “Perry has close ties to John Mappin, a wealthy hotelier and former business associate of Nigel Farage, who tweeted at the start of the war that he stands with the “Russian Bear” and called Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a “gift for the freedom of the world.”

2. The Tories’ big money ‘summer party’ what we know & don’t know-Byline Times

Byline Times features a piece looking at the Tory party’s summer ball earlier this month, where dinner with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his two predecessors, Theresa May and David Cameron, sold for £120,000.

It turns out that Lubov Chernukhin paid £30,000 for wine tasting at last week’s auction.

Sam Bright states: “Chernukhin has been the subject of several media stories in recent months, due to the past proximity of her husband, Vladimir Chernukhin, to the Russian regime – having served as Russia’s deputy finance minister from 2000 to 2002, after which he was appointed by Vladimir Putin as the chair of a state bank.”

Chernukhin is also one of several donors to have been granted access to Downing Street via a secret ‘advisory board’ – a little-known collective of big money donors given exclusive access to senior Downing Street advisors and even the Prime Minister.

3. Rail firm paid shareholders £500m before asking workers to take wage cut-openDemocracy

As the cost of living soars and as rail bosses and Tory politicians condemn the rail strikes, openDemocracy has revealed that CEOs of the six biggest train companies took home a combined salary of more than £5m in 2020, as they urge wage restraint for the rest of their workers.

The UK’s largest train operator, FirstGroup, boasted to investors that profits for this year were “ahead of expectation” and pledged to resume dividend payouts. The company handed its shareholders £500m in December 2021, just months after being awarded government contracts for running the South Western Railway and Transpennine Express.

4. Corporate Courts Are Helping Capital Kill the Planet-Tribune Magazine

‘Fossil fuel giants around the world are suing governments for their climate policies, and winning hundreds of millions of dollars – the result of a system that protects dirty investments over a liveable earth’, Thomas Perrett writes for Tribune Magazine.

Highlighting the dangers from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which allows transnational corporations with significant fossil fuel investments to sue governments for implementing environmental policies which cut into their profit margins, Perrett states that Britain currently faces £11 billion in legal claims from oil and gas companies.

The article takes a deeper look at how corporations are undermining the efforts of governments to tackle climate change.

5.UNISON vote to back PR hailed as “huge boost” by electoral reform campaigners-LabourList

Electoral reform and democracy campaigners have welcomed the move by the trade union Unison, to back proportional representation, LabourList reports.

Delegates at the union’s National Delegate Conference backed a motion calling on UNISON to ‘reject First Past the Post’ and for the adoption of PR for UK general elections.

“UNISON members are sick of Westminster’s distorting first-past-the-post voting system and want a proportional system that properly reflects the voice of working people,” the UNISON national executive committee member said.

UNISON joins a growing number of Labour affiliated trade unions in support of electoral reform alongside Unite, ASLEF, the Musicians Union and the TSSA.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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