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

A roundup of news from progressive outlets...

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1.Truss’s Chief of Staff Lobbied for Company Powering ‘Green’ North Sea Oil Rigs-DeSmog

DeSmog has a brilliant piece on how Liz Truss’s chief of staff has been providing lobbying services to a wind energy company accused of “greenwashing” new North Sea oil and gas production.

The site reports that Mark Fullbrook, who ran Truss’s leadership campaign, launched a political consultancy – Fullbrook Strategies – in March, with clients including Cerulean Winds. The company specialises in floating wind power infrastructure and has called increased North Sea fossil fuel production “vital”, received public funding in January to back its plans to power drilling rigs with offshore wind turbines.

DeSmog reports: “Climate groups say the wind turbines will merely serve as window-dressing to justify increased fossil fuel production, since the vast majority of the industry’s emissions are released when its products are used in power stations, vehicles and buildings.”

2. Conservative MP Given £25,000 Loan to Cover Housing Costs by Big Brexit Donor-Byline Times

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen accepted a £25,000 loan from a multi-millionaire Brexit donor who has donated almost £8 million to various right-wing political parties and campaigns since 2005.

Byline Times reports that Bridgen accepted the interest-free loan from Jeremy Hosking in August to cover “accommodation costs of my constituency home”.

Bridgen was recently evicted from his £1.5 million five-bedroom home by a High Court judge following a legal dispute with his family vegetable business, AB Produce.

Hosking told Byline Times that he was “just helping a mate”. Bridgen did not respond to a request for comment. Hosking gave more than £1.7 million to the official Vote Leave campaign, and more than £1 million to the Brexit Express campaign he founded.

3.Revealed: BA owner pressured government to hide emissions data-openDemocracy

A brilliant story on openDemocracy highlights how the owner of British Airways ‘is seeking to conceal the environmental impact of its flights by lobbying against a UK government proposal to require airlines to inform passengers of every trip’s carbon emissions when booking’.

The site reports that BA has been involved in intense lobbying efforts given that it would have the most to lose from such a proposal as it ‘had the highest emissions per passenger on transatlantic routes’.

When responding to the Department for Transport’s 2021 consultation on its ‘Jet Zero strategy’, IAG, the parent company of British Airways, argued against the proposal of giving passengers more information on every trip’s carbon emissions, Freedom of Information requests reveal.

Responding to the DfT’s proposal, IAG said: “Overall, we disagree with the focus outlined on influencing customers… We also believe that there is already significant information enabling customers to make informed decisions regarding the carbon impact of their flying.

“UK airlines already complete multiple emissions reports and also provide direct information to their customers, so adding an extra requirement to provide information would create an additional administrative burden with no incremental benefit to customers.”

4. Austerity Is a Political Choice – And We Reject It-Tribune

With Jeremy Hunt clearly setting out the case for a new round of austerity after a disastrous mini-budget left the UK economy in a perilous state, Grace Blakeley has written a piece for Tribune on why austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity, as Hunt would have us believe.

Blakeley claims that Hunt will find it hard to push the argument for austerity, given how disastrous it has been since the 2008 financial crisis which led to widening inequalities.

She writes: “The Cameron/Osborne austerity agenda eviscerated investment and growth while crippling public services and impoverishing millions of the poorest people in the country.

“Since 2010, it has been hard to miss the reports of people dying in their homes after having their benefits cut. Most people will also have experienced first-hand the impact of the cuts on the NHS, social care, our schools, and the public realm in general.

“In other words, Hunt has a steep climb ahead—because in both political and material terms, there isn’t much left to cut.”

5. A Labour government will make Britain work for working people-LabourList

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has written a piece for LabourList on how a Labour government will strengthen workers’ rights and ‘make Britain work for working people’.

Rayner pledges to bring forward the party’s new deal for working people within the first 100 days of the next Labour government, as well as vowing to oversee the rollout of fair pay agreements to drive up pay and conditions for workers, starting in social care.

She writes: “Labour will strengthen the protections afforded to all workers by banning zero-hours contracts, stopping fire and rehire, outlawing bogus self-employment and ending qualifying periods for basic rights, which leave working people waiting up to two years for basic protections. This will include unfair dismissal, sick pay and parental leave. A Labour government will secure your rights at work from day one.”

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