Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/790/17802

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 November 2013

Flower power - downfall of a banking boss

Roger Bannister

If the much repeated cliché that the British Labour Party owes more to Methodism than to Marxism is true then it must have got more than it bargained for with the Reverend Paul Flowers.

The traditional image of the stern, moral, teetotal 19th century campaigner is far removed from this latter day Methodist, mired in scandals involving sex, illegal drugs and dubious expense claims.

Flowers' story reminds us that the bankers who brought the UK economy to the brink of disaster have been allowed to carry on in post, and to continue to draw fat bonuses, effectively paid for from the public purse, and funded by working class people via the Con-Dem government's austerity policies.

Given the latest allegations against RBS profiting from bankrupting small companies, the hypocrisy with which the capitalist press and the Tories have jumped on this story is incredible.

But because of the traditional links between the Cooperative movement and the Labour Party, Flowers is subjected to intense scrutiny and pilloried in the press. Who knows what dirt could be dug up on any other top banker if treated in a like manner?

However, the rise of a person like Flowers in both the Labour Party and the Cooperative movement is an indication of how far both organisations have moved from their working class roots.

The Cooperative movement is based on its retail and banking wings, from which is funded the Cooperative Party. By agreement with Labour, it stands 26 Labour/Cooperative candidates in each general election.

Founders

But the Cooperative movement today is little like the vision of its 19th century 'pioneering' founders who were anxious to break away from the grip of their bosses who employed them and owned the shops that sold them poor, adulterated products at high prices.

The 21st century Co-op bank's attempt to ape corporate capitalism collapsed under £1.5 billion of debt, and resulted in its takeover this year by US hedge fund asset strippers. This shows the limits of the cooperative ideal within capitalist society.

Its cooperative structures have become increasingly weakened over the years, producing a massive, largely unaccountable, highly paid bureaucracy (Flowers received in excess of £130,000 a year as chair of the Co-op Bank).

It now benefits from the government's privatisation programme, with agencies that advise local councils on how to "mutualise" public services, promoting this as the soft side of privatisation. Right-wing Labour councils are particularly keen on this approach, sacrificing services and workers' jobs because they are unwilling to fight to defend them.


Flowers was always a Labour Party right winger, even at university in Bristol in the early 1970s, when left-wing politics were common among students. He joined the university Labour Club, but did not attend meetings because of its left wing leadership, (run at the time by Andy Bevan, a supporter of the Militant Tendency, forerunner to the Socialist Party).

After university he combined his position as a Methodist minister with a steady climb through the Labour and Cooperative machineries, albeit not without its occasional setbacks. He 1987 he failed to secure the Labour Party nomination in Coventry by opposing Militant supporting MP Dave Nellist. In the subsequent election Dave retained the seat.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 27 November 2013:


Socialist Party youth and students

No recovery for Britain's young people

Will angry youth turn to Labour?

NUS NEC votes to support education workers strike

Referendum victory for York housing campaign


Socialist Party news and analysis

We need a real living wage!

Nothing achieved by UN climate talks

Flower power - downfall of a banking boss

UK governments approved secret mass surveillance

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Europe - centre of capitalist crisis

Iran nuclear deal reflects changed world relations


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Councillors: Say no to Tory cuts!

TUSC byelection candidates show cuts aren't necessary


Socialist Party workplace news

End the pay freeze: A united fight in post-16 education

Massive campaign planned against Underground cuts

Hull city council unions force cuts climb-down

Anti-blacklisting campaign will not go away

NUT election: Support for national action call

Criminal justice: More privatisation problems

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton: Labour flies the white flag in face of call to fight back

Brazilian socialist councillor speaks in Britain

Bristol: Art and Revolution


Socialist Party review

TV review: Amazon's exploitation exposed


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 November 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Labour:

triangleCardiff Socialist Party: Why Labour and Plaid councils must set no-cuts budgets

triangleCarillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangleOutrage against 'monster block' plan

triangleSustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The state - a warning to the labour movement

Labour Party:

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

University:

triangleUCU members balloting for action on pension cuts

triangleMobilise against rip-off executive pay

triangleHousing victory for Sussex students

Capitalist:

triangleSocialist sales highest in years as mistrust in capitalist media hits record levels

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Militant:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The rise of Militant

Dave Nellist:

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

15/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

10/1/18

Tories

Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

10/1/18

NHS

Sustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

10/1/18

Education

Bigot Toby Young quits - now scrap the new uni regulator driving privatisation

10/1/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

10/1/18

Teachers

Teacher recruitment falls by a third - cut workload, not funding

3/1/18

Fire service

Fire service victory

3/1/18

Fares

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

3/1/18

Higher Education

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

3/1/18

Virgin

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off £1bn

3/1/18

Homes

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

3/1/18

Fat cats

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

1/1/18

Capitalism

2018: more upheavals loom

13/12/17

NHS

Save our NHS

13/12/17

Labour

Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

triangle10 Jan Strike wins biggest pay rise in ten years

triangle10 Jan Movement of workers and youth challenges Iranian regime

triangle10 Jan Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's...

More ...

triangle16 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'Bad Art' - socialist struggle in the arts

triangle16 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: Building socialism in Cardiff in 2018

triangle17 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Planning for 2018

triangle17 Jan Salford Socialist Party: Housing crisis - the socialist solution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2