Capitalists acting in combination with the helping hand of servile government officials are always keen for profits… whether they be derived from creating toxic waste, or through tidying it up. A good example of this cynical profiteering is provided by the unfolding controversy surrounding UK’s Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site, a site which acts as a poorly managed deposit for tens of thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste.
To recap, in 2008 a 17-year contract was awarded to Nuclear Management Partners to reap the financial rewards of managing this waste — a consortium composed of US engineering group URS Corporation, British firm Amec and French energy company Areva. Just last week, after years of union officials raising their serious concerns about this consortium’s mismanagement of Britain’s radioactive legacy, the critical work undertaken at Sellafield has finally been renationalised by the Government.
This raises the obvious question of why other vital public services have not been taken into public ownership, like for example the NHS, so they are safe from the hands of leech-like capitalists. This being a key demand that is being raised by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in their bid to oust the mainstream political parties of cuts and austerity.
That the corporate members of Nuclear Management Partners should have proved so monumentally incompetent in their overseeing such a lucrative contract provides yet more evidence for the urgent need to promote the idea of renationalisation of vital public services. Yet this is an issue that no mainstream political party wishes to talk about, be they blue, red, or UKIP purple.
Take for instance, Richard Caborn a former Labour politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central from 1983 to 2010. While serving as a Labour MP, Mr Cabon went so far as to provide advice to the corporations that formed the Nuclear Management Partners that just so happened to gain the lucrative waste-management contract at Sellafield. Indeed even before retiring from his work as a Labour MP, Mr Cabon was acting as a non-executive board member for Nuclear Management Partners. Talking to an undercover journalist, in 2010 Mr Cabon was reported as saying:
“I, I, I advise, there was a bid, a consortium bid to get the contract to clean up and to look at all reprocessing of the fuel….because I’d known AMEC for many, many years and AMEC said to me,… he came to me and he said would I advise them what to do, with a consortium, so I said fine, yeah I advised them, I did it. I worked with Areva, I worked with Washington and we won it, we won the contract and it was then they said would I go on and I went on as a non-executive.“
The people running the three corporations making up Sellafield’s unwholesome nuclear consortium are not the type of individuals that normal folk would entrust with their library books, let alone their countries nuclear waste. One example of such an individual is provided by URS Corporation’s influential board member Joseph W. Ralston, a man who served as the Vice Chairman of the US Government’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (1996-2000) and is now a director of global war-profiteer Lockheed Martin.
Or take another example in the form of Amec’s chairman John Connolly, who in addition to his charitable work for children at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, has, for some years now, also been the chairman of the infamous G4S. One should not forget the disgusting role that Amec also played in blacklisting construction workers in recent years, which is something that the 10,000 workers formerly employed by Nuclear Management Partners certainly never forgot.
If this disgusts you then join TUSC in campaigning for an alternative to the madness of the status quo. Help us fight to renationalise vital public services, and work towards creating a socialist society where the future is controlled by us the workers, not the fat-cat profiteers who are destroying our lives.