The Socialist 15 February 2002 |
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Sleazy Labour Rewards Greedy Bosses
ROGUE TRADER John Rusnak hit the headlines when he gambled away £530 million at a US outpost of Allied Irish Bank. But top businessmen use their wealth to gamble with our futures daily, helped by capitalist politicians.
Last June, international steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal of LNM Group gave a £125,000 gift to New Labour. It wasn't his first donation.
In July Tony Blair wrote to Romania's prime minister Adrian Nastase, enthusiastically backing LNM's multi-million pound bid to buy out state-owned Romanian steel company Sidex.
Last year Brian Moffat, job-destroying boss of Corus steelworks, closed his south Wales plants admitting "I'm interested in making money not steel." Blair didn't intervene then to save steel workers' jobs.
Now Mittal, with the same capitalist attitude, can give New Labour money and get Blair's support for the biggest privatisation in Romania's history. Steel workers in Wales and eastern Europe suffer to keep one millionaire happy. No wonder union members ask: "Why do we keep giving money to New Labour?
When multinational power company Enron went bankrupt recently, many workers lost their jobs and pensions. Enron gave vast gifts of money to Republican and Democrat politicians in the USA and smaller sums to New Labour.
Like gamblers, big businesses expect big returns for their 'investment'. Enron got aid with building a massive gas-fired power station in Teesside, and help in buying Wessex Water.
Companies related to Enron's auditors Arthur Andersen gained contracts for private finance initiative schemes worth over £10 billion. Other accountants had their snouts in the same trough.
The Treasury gave consultancy contracts to accountants from firms such as Ernst and Young and PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC).
Ernst and Young are auditors for two companies in the consortia which bid successfully to run PPP (privatisation) on London's tubes.
Yet they were allowed to produce a nonsensical report for the government saying that PPP was good value for money. So it is - for them!
What else do you expect of capitalist firms? Their first priority is maximising their profits - that's Blair's first priority too. We're campaigning for the nationalisation of such greedy companies under the democratic control and management of the workers.
We're also fighting for a new mass workers' party that represents our interests and not those of money-grabbing capitalist bosses.