Friday, 9 December 2011

Batting for the Bankers

So with great fanfare David Cameron claims he has stood up for Britain's national interests by opposing every single one of the other European Union member states as they attempt to claw their way out of the Euro-crisis. With everyone now acknowledging the arrival of a two-speed Europe - 26 states going at one speed and Britain at the other - the chances of a General Election in the New Year have to have increased. Hoping to ride a wave of mindless xenophobia, "Bulldog" Dave will be watching the polls closely for his hoped-for bigot-bounce over the next few months so that he can call a snap election, pose as John Bull reborn and free himself of the pro-EU Lib Dems, who face oblivion at any polls. Given the long-term economic prognosis, it could be his only-ever chance of forming a majority regime.

And yet, how tragically confused the public mood will be - because the supposed national interests he claims to have stood up for are nothing to do with the interests of ordinary people. What he has vetoed is not any of the daft (though in total relatively few) regulations that emanate from Brussels on standardised food weights or what constitutes Wensleydale cheese, or not. Nor have his efforts done anything the tackle the corruption to be found in the workings of much of the Union's institutions. He has done nothing to stop the EU's ludicrous and damaging pursuit of biofuels, nor anything to challenge the wasteful transportation of goods over huge distances of the Continent. And there is nothing to stop the  dislocation of local communities caused by the single European market (unsurprisingly, that last is the bit that the rich backers of the  Eurosceptics are very, very keen to keep as it is).

Indeed, for ordinary British people, his actions may make things much worse - as Europe faces financial disaster, any economic meltdown across the Channel will inevitably shaft Britain as much as anywhere else, creating unemployment, inflation and misery for millions. By vetoing the proposed international financial regulations, Cameron has at least delayed and probably damaged longer term the struggle to restore economic stability to our key trading partners. Why risk that?

Simple - because for Dave it is worth it.

What Cameron has done is make sure that the City of London remains free of any effective scrutiny. Yep, Bulldog Dave has been out fighting on behalf of the bankers. He has used Britain's veto on this historic occasion to strike a blow against proposed internationally binding regulation of the international finance trade that flows in and out of London banks and City brokers' accounts, fleecing hardworking people of billions in thieved commission and forcing public service cuts through their myriad means of tax avoidance and tax dodging.

He has also put paid to the so-called Robin Hood tax - a tiny levy on bankers transactions that could raise tens of billions of pounds a year to cut deficits and fund public services. Instead, Dave sees it in Britain's interests to let the leeches keep the cash. The rest of Europe may go ahead, but given the importance of the City of London in international finance - a trade with little more than peripheral, trickle-down benefits for Britain - our decision to opt-out will blunt the impact of any transactions tax. This in turn will seriously undermine wider attempts to get the international community to tackle the excesses of the banking and finance cartel that has done so much to bring our world to its knees.

And of course by isolating Britain from absolutely everyone else, he leaves a European Union which will inevitably be dominated by Germany and France - British influence will diminish rapidly in spite (and even because of) all the jingoistic flag waving.

So, I hope Dave is proud of himself. The challenge will be for progressives to expose his claims of fighting for our national interests as a lie and cover for protecting his party financiers and former school chums; yet at the same time to keep advocating for a better, social Europe. The new, more integrated arrangements that every other country seems to be signing up to may not be the right answer either, but at least at its core is an attempt to create some international public control over the currently pretty much unregulated international finance markets which play games with ordinary people's jobs, communities and life chances.

Bulldog Dave? Not likely. Just Bull**** Dave, batting for the bankers.

1946 - and the Eurosceptics mascot calls for a Union of Europe: Winston Churchill's Zurich Speech.


  1. "The United Kingdom consists of 90,060 square miles. David Cameron has fought tooth and nail for one of them."

    Pirate man

  2. Neoliberal doctrine since the early 1980s: the financial institutions *must* be protected at all costs, screw the citizenry!