Do you want to peek under the stone of how our government operates? The guardian this morning ran the headline; ‘Serco set to take charge of ‘big society’ initiative’
‘Serco, a leading private contractor, is in line to win a multimillion-pound contract to run the National Citizen Service, proposed by the prime minister as a “big society”, non-military version of national service for youngsters aged over 16’
How odd. The big society was Cameron’s big idea to reduce the government’s involvement with charities that work at street level and empower those charities to do more for the people they represent. Only now it seems instead the big society is being privatized. Serco are to be given 100m over 2 years to do this.
So to be clear, the government has stripped the cash from charities that care passionately for the young in their community and have worked tirelessly and have strong trusted links with them built over decades. Instead, they have given millions to a company that will being trying to replicate that but in a way to make profit for it’s shareholders. This is absurd!!
In fact, it so ridiculous, it is such an illogical move on every level that you start to smell a rat. Why would anyone make such a nonsensical decision? To answer that, we need to ‘look under the stone’ and ask some questions like;
Who are Serco?
The guardian called Serco ‘the biggest company you have never heard of’ Here are just some of the things Serco does;
Detention: Supplies electronic tagging devices for offenders and asylum seekers, it runs four prisons, a Young Offenders Institution and a Secure Training Centre. It also operates two Immigration Removal Centres as well as transporting and detaining prisoners at several Law Courts across the country.
Defence: Serco holds defence contracts for the operation and maintenance of the UK Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. Contracts are also held for the operation and maintenance of RAF Brize Norton, RAF Halton and RAF Northolt. Serco also manages many aspects of operations at the Defence College of Management and Technology in Shrivenham. Serco is one of three partners in the consortium which manages the Atomic Weapons Establishment, it also manages nuclear waste and a litany of other such ventures.
Science: Serco manages the UK’s National Physical Laboratory.
Transport: Serco manages the Docklands Light Railway and the Woolwich Ferry. Serco also has a joint venture with NedRailways, the UK arm of Dutch national rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen, to operate passenger trains in the UK: Serco-NedRailways has a 25 year concession for Merseyrail in Liverpool and operates Northern Rail services in the north of England. Serco Rail Operations operates infrastructure monitoring trains in the UK. Serco’s Home Affairs division, run by Tom Riall, also operates speed camera systems throughout the UK and designs, writes and tests the software that controls the matrix message signs, signals, emergency roadside telephones (SOS) and traffic monitoring on England’s motorway network including the National Traffic Control Centre.
Royal Navy: Serco Denholm, a joint venture with the Denholm Group, is responsible for fleet support at the three main UK naval bases, HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport and HMNB Clyde.
Aviation: Serco provides air traffic control services at international airports in many countries as well as scheduling and controlling any flights made by the royal family.
Health: Serco provide facilities management services at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary, and Wishaw General Hospital.
Education: Serco holds a 10-year contract with Bradford City Council to manage and operate the local education authority, providing education support services to the City’s schools, and similarly manages and operates Walsall and Stoke-on-Trent local education authorities. Serco is one of Ofsted’s three Regional Inspection Service Providers, responsible for school inspections in the English Midlands.Serco is also the provider of a Student information system, Facility, used in schools and colleges in several countries.
Faith: Serco operates a number of churches across the UK, and is the United Kingdom’s licensed producer of holy wine and wafers, having bought out the Vatican’s patent in 1999. The Serco Seminaries at York and Canterbury have also produced a number of notable archbishops. Serco’s New Age branch promotes alternative therapies as well as Gaiaist gatherings, and is a regular presence at music festivals in the UK and Holland. Currently, Serco Ecclesiastical Publishing are negotiating for exclusive EU rights to republish definitive translations of the Bible and the Qu’ran.
Leisure: Serco operates a number of leisure centres across the UK including the Manchester Aquatics Centre, the aquatic venue for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Serco also administers a number of publicly funded websites in the UK, including the Business Link website.
I could go on and on…… and this is the UK only, Serco operates at this level all over the world.
Does that make you feel a little afraid? A company with this much power, that controls so many aspects of our daily lives in the UK, that operates and makes huge profits for it’s owners, gets nearly all it’s money from government contracts (our tax money) and most of us have never heard of it? If you were a cynical person you could think people are keeping this company quiet on purpose, but why?
To answer that we would have to ask: who owns Serco? Who will profit from the billions it makes from all these global government contracts? It has done very well for it’s master, the company has increased its size by 1200% since 1994, but who are its masters?
Well, there are many shareholders of Serco. May of them, however are multi-national fund managing companies. These are companies that take money invested by the wealthiest people in the world and invest it in companies that will give them huge returns.
We can see with Serco that it’s the omnipresent fund managers of big business that are doing well from their investments with them, which are; Blackrock, Fidelity, State Street and Vanguard. These funds also are also big investors in Goldman Sachs, Monsanto, Raytheon, and Halliburton etc. If you trace/research the other companies listed on sercos shareholders that aren’t those four, you will find some or all of those four holding them.
So the big question is, who are the big investors in these fund management companies? Who is actually getting the cash from the profits of Serco? Now it is very difficult to find who holds those funds managers, tracing back to individuals and their companies that information can’t be found. Because companies like Vanguard have over 500 funds/investment subsidiaries listed, and they are not classed as ‘stock’ and they have no obligation to reveal.
I would say this is how the richest people on the planet hide or disguise their holdings so that their own names don’t come up on major shareholders lists.
Let’s pick one of them, Vanguard, and see what we do know about them. Vanguard, who holds 40% of Lloyds shares, has some other big names as investors like the Commissioners of her Majesty’s Treasury, who’s amount % holding is 40.56. Also the rather lovely Dick Cheney and his wife who (last year) held between $10 million and $25 million in Vanguard Short-Term Tax-Exempt fund (it’s impossible to be more precise because the disclosure form lists holdings within ranges).
The Cheney’s held another $1 million to $5 million in Vanguard Tax-Exempt Money Market fund, which is practically risk-free and could benefit from continued increases in short-term interest rates. And the couple had between $2 million and $10 million in Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities fund. The principal and interest payments of inflation-protected bonds rise along with consumer prices, making them good inflation hedges. Other names with links are Obama and a whole host of other politicians. I have been unable to find if David Cameron invests with them but I would love to know.
So, massive contracts awarded by governments all over the world to a company whose profits go to politician investors and The Crown and who knows who else? When you think about it, it doesn’t seem dodgy or self -serving at all.
In true Orwellian double speak the big society should really be the big ‘there is no such thing as society so let’s just look after ourselves’.