Newscorp, A4e, Barclays, G4s, HSBC – all in it together!
The Tory Utopia as dreamed of by Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown was a society where the government played as small a part in people’s lives as possible and private companies and institutions would compete to provide the population with better jobs, better living conditions, better banks, better utilities, better transport, better everything. ‘Competition’ was their mantra, in business, just as in sport the human desire to be competitive would result in cheaper and better services and, most importantly, the government could take a back seat and rake in vast personal fortunes for their pals and themselves from privatising national assets.
When Maggie eventually pops her clogs, no doubt many will celebrate and ‘rejoice’ in her demise but in truth she, like The Queen and other totems are merely puppets being manipulated by the shadowy men in the background, getting them to do their dirty work. In post-Gorbachev Russia, the gangsters moved in to snap up gas, oil and other natural resoruces straight away. They were blatant and unrepentant whereas Britain’s secret trillionaires are more adept at hiding behind mirages of national unity, identity and collectivity.
The recent corporate scandals expose the myth of unregulated competition as a force of economic or social progress. Small government doesn’t work and left to their own devices all corporations will put shareholder profits above morality, social responsibility or the law. Newscorp and Murdoch’s empire of dirt proved this most starkly. From murdered schoolgirl’s text messages to support for regime change in Iraq, Libya, Rupert will stop at nothing to make a few bob.
This has always been the way ofcourse, it’s not some new aberation. You can’t apply abstract notions of ‘morality’ to greed. With lucrative multi-billion contracts and slush funds sloshing around the ‘markets’ (who are the fucking ‘markets’ any way? ‘The markets won’t like it!’ these so-called analysts say. Well, fuck the markets and fuck you too braces tit!)
A4e recently won massive contracts to provide ‘work programme’ placements for all those being bumped off incapacity benefits, the unemployed and school leavers. What A4e and other providers do is sub-contract much of this work out to other providers and agencies who then find themsleves tied into ridiculous contracts to find people jobs in a jobless market. So, they bend the rules, break the rules, massage the figures, cheat. They place kids in ‘job’s for a few weeks, days or even hours and then claim it as a real job ‘outcome.’
This happened during New Labour’s ‘New Deal’ programme and is already happening with the Work Programme. Sooner or later as yet another year of schoolkids and degree students join the ever growing dole queue, they’ll admit defeat and re-name it something else and American style ‘workfare’ will be implemented. The League Of Gentleman’s ‘Paulines Pens’ sketch wasn’t too far away from the truth.
Likewise with G4s, they win a huge contract to deliver security personnel for the Olympics and sub-contract it out to other providers who then ‘train’ thousands of people mostly from London’s most impoversihed and racially mixed areas. In the classic Simpsons episode, ‘Mayored To The Mob’ Homer becomes a bodyguard for the mayor after completing a useless training course. The course instructor lines his pupils up and says he wouldn’t even trust any of them to guard the hated president of commy Russia but as their cheques had all cleared, they’d all passed. Again, this isn’t so far removed from the truth. Contractors get weighed in to get people through the course, bums on seats, not quality of provision. No wonder then, that many of these ‘trained and certificated’ security experts go AWOL or are unable to steward an infant school egg and spoon race.
As with all these farces, everyone blames each other because there are that many levels of sub-contractors and Quangos (remember them?) that every can point the finger elsewhere. The government blames Locog, Logog blames G4s, G4s blames the sub-contractor, the sub-contractor blames the Jobcentres and employment agencies, they blame the government and so it goes round and round.
With Barclays and HSBC, the problems are similar but on a much greater scale. Barclays blame the Bank of England for the Libor interest rate fixing scandal, the Bank of England blames the government, the government blame the regualtor, the regulator blames the European Central Bank, the ECV blames the IMF, the IMF blames the Federal Reserve, the Federal Reserve blames Mexican drug gangs, the Mexican drugs gangs blame HSBC, HSBC blame the CIA, the CIA blame the FBI, the FBI blame Mi5 and Mi5 blame that dead tranny in a North Face bag.
What is clear is that far from being a panacea for libertarian ideas of personal responsibility and the cult of the individual, small government only benefits those clever, ruthless, cunning or connected enough to make vast personal fortunes off the backs of billions of ordinary people who then pay the price of this corruption via austerity measures.
The architect for much of this banking de-regulation was former chancellor and alleged ‘socialist,’ Gordon Brown who has recently been appointed the United Nations Special Envoy for Education. This is almost as laughable as his old warmongering, blood soaked pal, Blair who became a Middle East Peace Envoy after personally de-stabilising the entire region with his fellow oil grabbing freddom fighter, George W. Bush.
Is it any wonder that people regard all politicians as self-serving, greedy liars and hypocrites? It is not we who are cynical it is those who masquerade their greed and ambition, who enrich themsleves through privatisation and wars, who turf the sick and the old out of hospital and care homes, who cut pay and pensions, who penalise the poor and the vulnerable whilst handing over trillions to their city pals who are the true cynics. Newscorp, A4e, HSBC, G4s, Barclays and me. We’re all in together.