Berlusconi sentencing, Stratford school strikes and more

Here’s a quick breakdown of today’s news, complete with sarcastic comments and angry interjections from yours truly, starting with everyone’s favourite sleazeball:


Berlusconi sentenced, banned from public office for three years.


After a trial which took the best part of a decade, Silvio Berlusconi has finally been sentenced for tax fraud, garnering a sentence of one year in jail, which is likely to be dropped due to his age. He has also been banned from taking public office for the next three years. Hold your cheers, this is a hollow victory, as he was going to leave politics anyway. At least the conviction means he can’t attempt a comeback. One thing to note, however, is that while this sentence has been passed by a Milanese court, it does still need to be ratified by a higher court. On top of this, Berlusconi still has, and will use, the right to appeal.


This isn’t the first time Silvio’s been in trouble with the law. He has been sent to trial several times, though most of these cases were cleared. Some of the trials, though, were closed after running over the judicial time limit. If only we could all afford an army of lawyers to delay court action against us until we won by default….


That’s not the only thing Berlusconi has had in his favour when going against the law; during his 10+ years in office he passed reams of legislation giving immunity to serving public officials like, oh, say, the Prime Minister, preventing them from being investigated and prosecuted. Now that’s good old-fashioned corruption! The thing that astounds me most about the laws he passed is that he was elected as a direct result of almost every Italian politician being prosecuted for widescale corruption. Irony!


Teachers strike over pay dispute


Teachers at the Stratford Academy in Newham, East London, went on strike today after a dozen members of staff had their pay docked for action taken in protest over government cuts to their pay and conditions.


Teachers were stunned to find that they had 15% deducted from their pay packets for taking part in national action organized through their unions: “I was stunned”, said Mrs Faketeacher. What, they probably were stunned. And enraged. I mean, wouldn’t you be pissed off at being paid less for not doing some photocopying?


Here’s what snivelling shitbag Andrew Seager, head teacher of Stratford Academy, had to say (you didn’t think I was going to be neutral did you?):


“The unions are instructing their members to refuse to carry out certain duties and tasks, the effect of which will be that the school will not be able to check and monitor the work of teachers taking action, and we know this will be to the detriment of our pupils,”


In reality, teachers were refusing to do photocopying and attend “excessive meetings” as they felt they should spend their time, y’know, teaching. I can see how focusing on their students instead of bureaucratic nonsense would warrant a reduction in wages. This is what happens when private companies run schools.


Also in the news:


IDS proposes capping child benefit to two children. Because anyone with more than two kids is benefit-scrounging scum and us employed people shouldn’t be expected to bear the burden of peoples’ children, apparently. Obviously an increase in the minimum wage or publicly funded schemes to create quality, long-term jobs in areas with high numbers of unemployed people would be ridiculous. This is just another thinly veiled attempt by the Tories to turn the general population against each other.


There’s also a much more important point here; in the words of Helen Lovejoy “won’t somebody think of the children?!?” People who claim child benefit need that money to feed and clothe their kids, as well as pay their bills and generally cover gaps in their income caused by soaring inflation.


Local council pensions to fund new housing program. This mind-boggling idea is the brainchild of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Whilst I would generally advocate building more social housing (hell, I did it in my last story), this idea is just plain fucking silly. It’s not like the housing market is completely freefalling, or that pensions are already being raided to save the government some dosh; building affordable homes is not an easy money-spinner, especially with the introduction of stricter rules on who can have a mortgage, and if the housing market is flooded with cheaper, higher quality homes then people trying to sell a house they bought in the last 15 years will be stuck in their current properties.


If this is introduced then one of two things will happen: Either the houses won’t be affordable, or will be of an atrocious quality, they won’t sell and as a result will only stand to devalue existing properties, or the council workers whose retirement fund is being ploughed into this will find themselves living off fresh air and warm wishes once they turn 67 (or 75, or 102, whatever the retirement age will be). That’s how economics works right?


Here’s an alternative suggestion for the government: recover some of the billions of pounds of evaded tax by FTSE 100 companies in the last 20 years, reclaim the billions you gave to bail out the banking sector and stop pissing away money on murdering people in the Middle East, then use that to build some decent houses and pay back the money you stole from everyone who works for you. Then go hang yourselves.


Rant over, thanks for reading.

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