Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Let's have a fortress Britain - protected from Global Corporations!


The revelation, yesterday, that ninety eight of the companies comprising the FTSE 100 have subsidiaries located in tax havens has surely put the final nail in the coffin of this government's determination to view these global corporations as the saviours of the UK economy. Not only have corporation and personal tax rates been kept low for these global players, but it is clear these havens are being used to avoid paying tax on all profits earned.

The major issues, where this and the previous government have been out of step with the wishes of the people, are rooted in the desire to have these companies site their EU headquarters in the UK.

Firstly, our membership of the EU itself, supported by successive governments, is necessary if these companies are to use the UK as their base for EU operations.

Secondly, the introduction of more lax immigration rules, by Blair, from both within and outside the EU was to give these companies the freedom to employ, here, anyone they chose from throughout the world - whether this was skilled, but compliant, staff from insecure or unstable regimes like Pakistan, cheap and willing manual labour from Poland or simply the executives who run these corporations.

Thirdly, Osborne's clear desire to keep corporation tax and personal tax rates low for the highest earners is to provide the greatest incentive for these corporations to base their operations, here, and to encourage them to stay.

Fourthly, Cameron's clear objective to privatise as much of the NHS and other key public services as possible and to reduce, as far as he can, the services provided by the State is aimed at providing more commercial opportunities for these global corporations.

In short our membership of the EU, high levels of immigration - that has had a marked impact on unemployment, overcrowding and impossible demands on public services - and low tax receipts from the highest earning companies and individuals are all the result of government's desire to court these most ruthless of global business giants.

It does appear that Osborne's only concerns, as Chancellor, are to create the best conditions, in the UK, for these monsters and to ensure that the maximum taxes are levied on and the most minimal public services are provided to the people of these islands.

Already, there have been a number of instances where those corporations, who provided the greatest campaign funds to the Tories, have benefitted from these policies - as have business groups closely connected to cabinet ministers. It does not seem to be an over-statement to assert that UK politics has become the, virtual, exclusive domain of global capitalism and that the people's interests and wellbeing - incidental issues.

Certainly since WW2, the nature of UK politics has been that the Tories, known to support and be supported by businesses, would be in power for a while and introduce changes that favoured this section of society, however, this would be followed a Labour government who would overturn the most excessive of this legislation and introduce new laws that favoured the those on lower incomes.

The government's of Blair and Brown [New Labour] had shifted the Party closer to the centre as it was believed that this was the only way they could return to office after 18 years of Tory rule. In this process these Labour leaders became just as closely entangled with the world of corporate greed as their opponents and are unable to shake off this connection.

Although Ed Milliband has attempted to return the Party to the left through reconnecting with the Trade Union movement, since the Trade Unions are primarily concerned with their members pay and conditions and that their membership has seriously declined since the '80's - it is unlikely that, should they be returned to power at the next general election, that they will reverse the fundamental changes that have and are being introduced by the Coalition.

There is little doubt that, in the lead up to the nest general election, the Tories will continually remind the electorate that the dreadful state of the UK economy and the austerity measures they were obliged to introduce were all the result of Labour's gross mismanagement of the economy.

Coupled to this will be the new boundary changes that favour the Tories, alongside their plan to require the electorate to register in order to vote, will hit the Labour Party far harder than the Tories or the Liberal Democrats. So, although Labour have a healthy lead in the polls, at present, it is far from certain that they will be returned to power in the foreseeable future - even if they did plan to reverse those laws that fundamentally favour the global corporations.

It is only those who are retired or are in sight of retirement that know what a fine place Britain was, for all, in the years following WW2. This was as a result of the health, education and welfare reforms introduced by Clement Attlee's post war government. It saw the establishment of the NHS and many other welfare programs, also a huge house building program that provided excellent homes for the vast majority.

This was social democracy at its best, a system that has been retained by many European nations, and that has ensured decent lives for the vast majority. However, the corruption of the Labour Party has significantly reduced the likelihood that these advantages will be retained, but instead, the Tories look set to succeed in reversing all of these gains and, if we want to know what this will mean - we need only to see the fate of our American cousins and the hopelessness of the lives of those not needed by Corporate America.