Many thanks to my MSP, Marco Biagi (of the SNP), who has obtained, on my behalf, the details of the Scottish Parliament’s pension scheme for MSPs. It makes disturbing reading, with some of the investments seeming to run counter to the will of the Scottish Parliament.
Here is the letter he received from the Parliament’s Presiding Officer, which accompanied the information. You will see from this that the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (far less MSPs) cannot direct the holdings.
You will see that companies in which MSPs indirectly invest include notorious GM-crop and glyphosate(Roundup)-producer, Monsanto, Japan Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco, Barclays Bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, BHP Billiton, Coca Cola, and several oil companies.
Click on the above names (apart from the tobacco- and oil-associated ones – everyone surely knows what they do!) to see why I consider them to be unethical. There are many other dubious investments (such as food giants, huge supermarkets and Big Pharma).
In short, the Scottish Parliament voted for tight anti-tobacco legislation, is supposedly keen to have an ethical foreign policy, is supposedly against GM crops and in favour of renewable energy. However, MSPs have vested interests in the profits of companies whose activities appear to undermine their aims.
Lest I be accused of hypocrisy, I recently looked into my own (supposedly ethical) pension investments and was horrified to see where my own money was going. I transferred the money (little as it is!) to something recommended by this company. Can the Scottish Parliament look into doing the same?
My impression is that pension funds are virtually a law unto themselves, the sinister saboteurs of the decent, fair and environmentally sustainable society most thinking people would like to see. We need to shine a bright light on this and get public bodies, at least, to offer their staff truly ethical pensions.
How can we hope to make the world a better place if most of us, including our political representatives, don’t put our money where our mouths are? What, specifically, should we do about this? Petition, demonstrate, move our own money…? Please comment on this article to make suggestions. (Or below the Facebook post where I shall flag this up.)