Monday, 12 December 2011

God Rest Ye Merry Money-Men

A little broadsheet ballad for the 2011 Christmas season :

God rest you merry money-men; let nothing you dismay :
remember that our government will not stand in your way.
However much you foul it up you'll still get bonus pay

. . . so it's tidings of comfort and joy for Bullingdon Boys, (1)
yes it's tidings of comfort and joy!

You've got the politicians tamed like monkeys in a zoo;
Besides, an awful lot of them are wheeler-dealers too!
You're "all in it together" — so there's little we can do.

. . . but it's tidings of comfort and joy for Bullingdon Boys,
yes it's tidings of comfort and joy!

If tax is inconvenient there is no need to shout.
Your Man in Inland Revenue will help you sort it out
with dodgy deals in Switzerland — the tax-avoider's tout.

. . . yes, it's tidings of comfort and joy for Bullingdon Boys,
yes it's tidings of comfort and joy!

You had an anxious moment when an obstacle you dread —
tighter European regulation — raised its head,
but Cuddly Dave has gone and got you off the hook instead

. . . so it's tidings of comfort and joy for Bullingdon Boys,
yes it's tidings of comfort and joy!

So Christmas has come early for financiers one and all.
Mervyn King can fulminate but, safe in marble halls(2)
the one per cent can celebrate; the rest go to the wall

. . . and it's tidings of comfort and joy for Bullingdon Boys
yes it's tidings of comfort and joy!

Dick Wolff

(1) the Bullingdon Club : an élite Oxford University drinking and dining club in which the Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mayor of London were contemporaries

(2) an old music hall ballad : "I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls, with vassals and serfs at my side; and of all who assembled within those walls, that I was the hope and the pride."

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

1930s Appeasement revisited?

So the moment of truth is approaching. Before long we will find out whose side David Cameron is on. Is he on the side of the people of Britain, some of whom sort of elected him? Or is he a puppet of the unaccountable 1% in the City, who bear a large measure of responsibility for the debt-ridden mess we find ourselves in and who are still heads down in the trough?

Europe is a potential economic powerhouse but - for all the fulminations of the little-Englander nationalistic media - it is a political David when facing the Goliath of international finance. Big Mammon has exploited the political weakness of European institutions for its own ends and brought it to its knees. It's a pathetic sight.

Clearly if the EU David is to get to his feet, Goliath is going to have to be reined in somehow. There are going to have to be Europe-wide agreements on fiscal policy, if not a single European fiscal policy and financial regulation régime. Otherwise, Big Mammon just picks off nations one by one, starting with the weakest. The process has long since started. Cameron may think that Britain is more secure because Big Mammon lives here, but it's tosh. With something like 30% of GDP dependent on the City of London, Big Mammon has got us over a barrel. Luke 14 : 31 -

"What will a king do if he has only ten thousand soldiers to defend himself against a king who is about to attack him with twenty thousand soldiers? Before he goes out to battle, won't he first sit down and decide if he can win?"

Britain can't go it alone. Even Europe, united, can't go it alone. To bring Big Mammon under control, global political muscle is needed. OK, with a dysfunctional USA, we're not going to get that, but there's nothing we can do about that. There is something we can do about Europe.

It's beginning to look like Merkel and Sarkozy are bowing to the inevitable : proposing tighter political coordination in the fight against Big Mammon, and as part of that, a Tobin tax.

If Cameron refuses to cooperate in order to protect (the people he thinks are) his chums in the City of London, what he will effectively be doing is refusing to fight for the British people, and capitulating to the malign outside interests of global capital. What's so pathetic is that he will do it claiming some kind of victory over "European domination", when actually he'll be selling us all down the river and capitulating to a far worse enemy that is wrapping its squid-like tentacles over the face of whole nations.

There was a word for that in the 1930s : appeasement. The Conservatives were the appeasers then, and for the same reason - an inability to identify the real enemy because they could only see things from the perspective of the ruling class. They sold the Czechs down the river then — this time it's the Greeks, then the Irish . . The sorry difference is that Labour have joined the right-wing appeasers this time.

"First they came for the Jews, and I did nothing because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, but I did nothing because I wasn't a trade unionist. . . Then they came for me, but there was noone left to fight for me." The rules of subsidiarity suggest to me that you must fight your battles at the level at which the enemy is operating. If the destructive power of international capital is to be brought to heel (only when tamed is there a chance of it bringing blessings rather than a curse) there simply has to be international political cooperation and solidarity.

Whose side are you on, Bullingdon boy?

What Leveson will not reveal

The Observer's Nick Cohen has written strong articles about 'dodgy' Dave Hartnett, the Inland Revenue chief, and what the remit of the Leveson inquiry means it is covering up : "The inquiry they have established under Lord Justice Leveson is a minor scandal in itself. "We will focus primarily on the relationship between the press and the public and the related issue of press regulation," Leveson declares. Not, I hope you notice, the specific relationship between ministers and News Corporation, or on the specific charges now heading to the courts, but on the dangerously nebulous subject of press freedom."

Full article here.