London’s mayor Ken Livingstone is ready to sign an agreement with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez which will see London providing friendly propaganda for the Latin American country in return for cheap oil.
The Guardian reports:
Details of the deal under discussion emerged in a memo seen by the Guardian that described the progress of meetings between the mayor’s most senior officials, embassy officials and figures from PDV UK, the Venezuelan state oil company.
It said London would receive an unspecified amount of oil as part of the 1.3m barrels needed to run the buses each year. In return the mayor’s aides would promise to “actively and efficiently promote Venezuela’s image in the UK” by highlighting the oil deal’s benefits for London’s poor and by boosting tourism with advertisements on buses.
Not everyone’s happy though:
Mike Tuffrey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in London, said the deal smacked of aid, not trade. “This reduces us to the status of a third-world barter economy. We should be weaning ourselves off fossil fuels, not trying to get them at subsidised prices from Venezuela.”
London is also to give advice to Venezuela as part of the deal:
Among those who could go to Caracas to give advice are Mr Livingstone’s economics director, John Ross, who has been involved in the talks, and John Duffy, London’s waste disposal and environment tsar.
Let’s hope Ross doesn’t start to contradict Chavez on the correct path to socialism while he’s out there enjoying the hospitality of the ex-career officer who came to power through the ballot box:
Among Ross’s more colourful views at the time was a belief that union members should be allowed to form militia units. “This is the only peaceful road to socialism. The ruling class must know that they will be killed if they do not allow a takeover by the workers. If we aren’t armed there will be a bloodbath.”
He might want to keep that opinion out of the official advice for obvious reasons.