A roundup of progressive news…
1.Steve Baker Reboots Libertarian Bloc With Funding From Head of Climate Denial Group-DeSmog
DeSmog features a piece on how Tory MP Steve Baker is ‘reviving a Thatcherite pressure group with financial support from the chair of the UK’s principal climate science denial group, raising fears the organisation will serve as a new hub of opposition to green policies’.
Baker, who has also played an instrumental role in setting up and running the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of Tory MPs, which opposes the government’s net zero policies, is due to relaunch Conservative Way Forward.
DeSmog states: “Neil Record, a currency trader and chair of the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), donated £5,000 to Baker in February for a “media and strategic campaign consultant”, understood to be Barker, to work on the Conservative Way Forward relaunch, according to parliament’s register of interests.
“Record is also chair of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) think tank, which has a record of opposing government climate policies and has received funding from oil giant BP since the 1960s.”
2. Rishi Sunak could become PM. Here’s what he doesn’t want you to know-openDemocracy
Rishi Sunak might currently be the frontrunner among the Tory MPs to replace Boris Johnson, but openDemocracy have written a brilliant piece on just how damaging his premiership would be for Britain, with tax justice campaigners warning it would be a boon for the financial lobby.
Sunak, the richest MP in Parliament, has been accused of not being transparent with his finances and concerns have also been raised about his hedge fund background which could hamper his ability to combat tax avoidance.
The article sets out all the things Sunak doesn’t want you to know as he carefully tip toes around his privileged upbringing.
3. Good riddance Boris Johnson is gone –Tribune Magazine
Tribune Magazine has a write up by Zarah Sultana MP on how Boris Johnson has been a prime minister who exemplified Britain’s self-serving ruling class and on how he was helped to the top job by the corporate media.
Sultana writes: “Responsibility for Johnson’s ability to rise as far as he has lies not with some personal quality, but with a political class that allowed him to get away with it. The Conservative MPs that now denounce him—claiming their ‘honour’ demands they resign from his Cabinet—knew what he was like when they campaigned to make him Prime Minister. What has changed is that now he is a busted flush, an electoral liability for the Conservatives and a threat to their political careers.
“The same goes for many of the journalists who now express shock at Johnson’s reluctance to bow to convention and leave Downing Street in a timely fashion. Anyone paying attention knew he was a self-interested megalomanic, but many of these courtiers were happy to turn a blind eye so long as they got their inside scoops.”
4. Conservative Leadership Hopefuls have Raked in £300,000 Over Last Year-Byline Times
As the Tory party leadership battle gets underway, Byline Times looks at how much money the main contenders have raked in since July 2021.
Byline reports that Home Secretary Priti Patel has received the lion’s share of the donations, pocketing £140,000 in the 12 month period. ‘All the funds have been donated since February, when whispers of an upcoming no confidence vote in the Prime Minister first began. Patel’s income has included a £100,000 donation from leading oil trade Pierre Andurand.’
Tom Tugendhat, raked in £65,000 in donations, with more than a third coming in from Tory donor Lord Michael Spencer of Alresford – the chairman of right-wing think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies and a shareholder in the controversial TV network GB News.
Byline adds: “This £300,000 donated to Conservative leadership hopefuls rivals the total figure donated to the Labour Party by private donors during the entire 2019 General Election campaign.”
5. The Conservatives should back a real windfall tax on oil and gas giants-LabourList
LabourList features an op-ed from Richard Burgon MP on how it’s time for the government to back a real windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies. Although the government announced a temporary tax, Burgon claims that the measures don’t go far enough and leave most of their profits untouched.
Burgon wants the tax rate to be set at 45% on top of normal tax rates – and not at the current proposed of an 25% additional rate. This would mean the total tax rate on oil companies would be 85%.
He writes: “More importantly, my proposal would raise another £4bn in tax revenues this year alone. This could provide an extra £1,000 payment to the most vulnerable four million households. Surely that is more important than boosting oil and gas company profits?”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward