Billionaire Jim gets knighthood
Jim Ratcliffe, the UK's richest man, has been named in the honours list, to widespread criticism. Ratcliffe is the owner of INEOS, the petrochemical giant, and earlier this year was named the richest man in the UK.
Ratcliffe and INEOS have most recently been in the news for taking the Scottish Government to court over their fracking 'ban', in a bid to have the move overturned and allow fracking to go forward. The case is still ongoing, though did see a humiliating climbdown from the Scottish Government, after they were forced to clarify that the ban was not a real 'ban' at all, but an extension of the moratorium and a stating of the government's 'preferred position' for the conclusion of the consultation.
Ratcliffe also lives on in infamy in Grangemouth. After targeting union organisers in the plant, he locked workers out of the INEOS oil refinery, and forced them to take massive pay cuts, job cuts, and reductions to their pensions. Even more shockingly he forced the union to abandon their right to strike. Ratcliffe later claimed that he had 'done his bit for Britain'.
In 2016, Ratcliffe's manager added insult to injury with the decision to axe the tea break for workers at Grangemouth, in order to 'increase productivity.'
Responding to the news, Labour MSP Neil Findlay told the Daily Record:
“Here is evidence of why some people are very critical of the honours’ system.
“Ratcliffe is a man who has a desire to frack the entire central belt of Scotland with no regard to the environmental consequences.
“He is the man who singlehandedly sought to hold the country to ransom with his outrageous behaviour at Grangemouth.
“Ratcliffe’s knighthood has been awarded for ripping up the rights of the workforce who, let us never forget, are the ones who made his millions for him.”
The decision to knight Ratcliffe will result in even more cynicism towards an already decrepit honours system. There has also been an outcry over the decision to give a CBE to the head of Network Rail - just as the British rail system suffers one of its biggest catastrophes in years, with thousands of cancelled trains all across the North of England.