Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Business of Evil

It says something about how far to the right the political narrative has been pushed in the UK that the press can try to characterise Ed Miliband as being 'anti business', because he dares to criticise multinationals which evade paying tax in the UK, despite making huge profits here.   Apparently we're now living in a society where suggesting such outrageous things as workplace rights for employees, including the right to strike, job security, sick pay, or even a decent wage is to be 'anti business'.  Indeed, not just 'anti business', but positively treasonous because to demand such things, Cameron and Osborne tell us, is to threaten that economic recovery they keep telling us is underway, but which no one actually feels the benefit of.  But to turn things around - why would it be so bad to be 'anti business'?  Why is it assumed that what's good for business is automatically good for the community?  After all, by their very nature, businesses are interested in pursuing their own private profits rather than the wider interests of society as a whole.  In fact, they are quite willing to subvert the interests of the community where those interests threaten their profits.  Believe me, if they could get away with it, they would have no qualms about using slave labour, as wages for employees eat into their profits.  (Arguably, through their use of South East Asian sweatshops to produce their goods, many multinationals are already doing this).

To argue that privatisation or the out sourcing of public services to private providers is bad is to be 'anti business' as, apparently, it is wrong to try and restrict private businesses from getting their hands on tax payers' money and running public services for profit.  One only has to look at the decline in quality of those services out sourced to realise what poor value to the public that such policies represent.  What these private businesses call 'greater efficiency', I call 'cutting corners'.  The truth is that we're lucky if all they do is 'cut corners' in their pursuit of profit - in reality they'd like to be able to take the money and not fulfil the contract at all.  I mean, just look at G4S's failure to provide the security guards they were contracted to furnish for the 2012 Olympics.  Or the Ministry of Justice being billed by private providers for the tagging of prisoners who didn't exist.   But the idea that calling for corporations to pay their taxes or upholding employees' rights is 'anti business' is just another fabrication that the government, with the assistance of the right wing press, has succeeded in perpetrating.  Another is that there is no alternative to 'austerity'.  Or that 'austerity' is actually working - this Tory government is now borrowing more than the last Labour government and has failed to eliminate the deficit, as it pledged to do by the end of this parliament.   Really, why are you all putting up with it?  Why aren't you all out on the streets rioting?

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