Labour Party will boycott G4S security services over repression of Palestinians


It has emerged that the Labour Party decided at its national executive meeting on Tuesday to boycott the private security company, G4S, that has provided its conference security in recent years because it helps Israel run prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture. Protests have taken place both outside Labour’s conferences in recent years about the issue.

G4S provides equipment and services to Israeli prisons at which political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture. In October alone, Israel arrested over 1,000 Palestinians as a means to stifle Palestinian popular resistance. Many of these people will be held in Israeli prisons that G4S is helping to run. By helping Israel to run such prisons and “interrogation centres”, G4S is participating in Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration of more than 6,000 Palestinians as a way to discourage any action to resist its occupation. Continue reading

G4S, Serco, Rotherham all bang to rights, but still carry on business as usual

G4S_bloody_logo-e1394110080578The Commons spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, has uncovered that G4S has been allowed to bid for further government contracts while being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office regarding £110m contracts for cheating the taxpayer over payments for tagging prisoners on probation and for its improper management of invoicing, delivery and performance reporting. Serco is also being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office as well as by the City of London police over two contracts worth nearly £100m, especially in regard to payments claimed for prisoner escorts.

Grayling, the justice secretary, had written in September last year that “we should not award new contracts for the two companies until we have established the facts about both their performance and their corporate behaviour”. The facts have been established: they grossly over-charged for the work done, yet despite Grayling’s denials they are still being allowed to apply for further lucrative government contracts. In today’s culture, driven by this government’s fundamentalist market values, there’s no accountability – it’s always business usual whatever executives or officials have done. Continue reading

Why Labour should boycott G4S as a provider of security to its conference

G4S_bloody_logoG4S is mired in scandal, but the company will provide security at Labour Party conference in September. Stop G4S campaigners Greg Dropkin and John Nicholson ask trade unionists and party members to demand Labour withhold contracts until, at least, the company pulls out of Israeli prisons and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

During the recent UNITE Policy Conference in Liverpool, campaigners received confirmation that Labour intend to use G4S for security at Conference, as in Brighton last year and Manchester in 2012. The company’s involvement in fraud and human rights abuse is a matter of public record, sketched below. G4S is also a prime contractor for public services, with privatisation the real agenda behind the Coalition’s austerity programme. Ignoring the danger signals is an unforced error, and flies in the face of policy commitments from unions supporting Labour. Continue reading

The political class won’t “reconnect” until markets are drastically reformed

the-sopranos HERE TO SERVE‘Reconnecting’ is the buzz word for the political class. They all agree it’s necessary, but very few have any serious ideas about how it might be achieved, and through force of inertia they easily slip back into the old ways. What they don’t realise is that it’s more about their constituents feeling able to reconnect as it is for them.

At present, and it’s been true for a long time, ordinary people have been feeling they no longer have control over key aspects of their lives. If they believe they didn’t receive the healthcare they needed, they are unsure how to make their complaint effective. If they need a house, they don’t know how to get one. If they think there’s a significant problem at the local school, they’re uncertain how to get it dealt with if the head teacher is unsympathetic. If they’re angry that the big banks have shortchanged the country out of billions and should pay the price for it, who do they go to to make sure this happens when the governing party gets half its annual income from those same banks? Continue reading

Private oligarchs have it all stitched up in Whitehall outsourcing

G4S_bloody_logoOnce upon a time we had nationalised industries; now we have Capita, G4S, Serco, A4E, and the rest of a small coterie of private conglomerates who dominate the service world. Unlike the nationalised industries they have no specialist focus, but merely bid for anything going, much of which they handle poorly or badly as we have seen with G4S over the Olympics, A4E over the Work Programme, and Serco over medical services in Cornwall. Continue reading