Huw ‘gravy train’ Lewis makes the news

Huw Lewis: knight in shining armour?

Huw Lewis: knight in shining armour or hypocrite?

Huw ‘gravy train’ Lewis, labour arsembly member for Merthyr Tydfil (even though he lives in Penarth with fellow Labour AM Lynne Neagle) has recently been heard criticising US firm Covanta over plans to build a huge waste incinerator in his constituency. Lewis is right to express his concerns. Covanta was found guilty of violating employment laws in the US and has been fined hundreds of thousands of pounds after exceeding emission levels of carcinogenic chemicals from its American incinerators.

‘Frankly, I find it a little surprising that the assembly government has been courting a company that has a string of environmental breaches and seems to also engage in union-bashing,’ said a perturbed Lewis.

Perhaps Huw might like to respond to South Wales Anarchists’ revelations last month that taxpayers’ money, set aside to provide for his generous pension, is being invested by Baillie Gifford Life Ltd in companies that, er, destroy the environment and abuse workers’ rights!

Alun 'greasy wops' Cairns

Alun 'greasy wops' Cairns

And whilst we’re on the subject of our arsembly members’ pension fund scam, we’re wondering why Alun ‘greasy wops’ Cairns hasn’t quite managed to remove an entry in the Welsh assembly register of members’ interests which still has him as chair of the pension fund trustees even though he was forced to resign from the post on 16 January 2009. Could we remind the diminutive tory that, according to section 36 of the Government of Wales act 2006, standing order 31 requires members to register within 4 weeks any changes to those interests. Oh dear, it looks like Alun has screwed up yet again…

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BAILLIE GIFFORD IN DEEP SH*T

Monday, 19 January 2009

South Wales Anarchists’ revelations about the Welsh arsembly pension fund’s manager, Baillie Gifford Life Ltd, last week can only be adding to the woes of the Edinburgh-based partnership.

Baillie Gifford partners, Alex Callender and Edward Hocknell

Baillie Gifford partners, Alex Callander and Edward Hocknell

            In 2007 the thirty-three partners who own the company were sitting pretty on investments worth £55 billion. By September 2008 that amount had plunged to £46 billion with one of its flagship funds, Scottish Mortgage Fund, losing nearly half its value. Baillie Gifford lost a further £200 million when Northern Rock collapsed. And the international investment markets are only set to get worse.

            While the bankruptcy of such a disreputable organisation could potentially be good news, we think it could spell even more of a disaster for the environment. This is what Edward Hocknell, one of the partners had to say recently:

“We think what will get us out of the hole will be infrastructure spending,” Hocknell said. “It won’t be a consumer recovery but an industrial one.”

This strategy has led Baillie Gifford managers to continue betting on companies such as the Brazilian energy giant Petrobrás and Sweden’s Atlas Copco.

He went on: “We are very overweight in areas that are dirty and smelly-mining and engineering-because emerging markets have huge reserves to spend on their infrastructures.”

What Mr Hocknell means by that is in order to claw back profits for its clients, many of whom are UK local authority pension funds involving billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, Baillie Gifford are going to pump more money into some of the most polluting companies on the planet.

Don’t these people take any responsibility for their actions? Of course they don’t. Profits come before people: “We take a pragmatic and flexible approach to corporate governance,” say Baillie Gifford on its website. “Baillie Gifford recognises that it has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of its clients.” And if that means supporting Robert Mugabe’s murderous regime in Zimbabwe by investing funds in Anglo-American mining corporation then so be it…

We CAN do something to stop these corporate cowboys.

Baillie Gifford is one of the largest managers of local authority pension funds in the UK. Not only does it look after the interests of Welsh arsembly members, Baillie Gifford manages the pension fund of the Scottish parliament and used to look after the pension fund of the Northern Ireland assembly.

If you work in local government, check on your pension fund with your employer. Baillie Gifford is creaming off billions of pounds from Orkney to Sussex.

Contact Baillie Gifford and express your outrage at what they’re doing.

We’re doing our best to track down the 33 partners. So far we’ve come up with:

 Alex Callander –     joint senior partner

Charles Plowden –  joint senior partner

Ken Barker                                                    Elaine Morrison

Peter Hadden                                                Anthony Tait

Edward Hocknell                                           James Anderson

The company also boasts top Tory porker, lord Strathclyde, as one of its directors.

lord Strathclyde

lord Strathclyde

 Head office address:

Baillie Gifford, Calton Square, 1, Greenside Row, Edinburgh EH1 3AN

Tel: 0131 275 2000

Or you can email them on: colin.neilson@bailliegifford.com

I’m sure Colin would love to hear from you…

And if you’ve got any more information on Baillie Gifford please tell us on cardiffanarchists@riseup.net