Thursday, May 06, 2010

Punish the guilty bankers - starting with where you put your cross

THREE innocent bank workers have been killed in Greece, by firebombs. This tragedy came as hundreds of thousands of people were striking and demonstrating against the threat to their living standards and services by the banking system demanding its pound of flesh, and it was totally unnecessary. When such things happen we are tempted to blame agent provocateurs, out to discredit and derail legitimate protest, though sadly there are those stupid enough to carry out such actions without thought. Whatever the truth, such attacks are not the way.

Fellow-workers are not our enemy, the rich and powerful are, and above all it is their system we must hit.
Today, in Britain, we have a chance to do that in a small way, without throwing anything or even marching, just by where you put your cross. We have no illusions that the three main parties will do anything against big business and the banks. Where you have a decent socialist standing, whether a left-wing Labourite or one of the alternatives (and the picture is still too complicated, differing from one place to another, to go into here) you can have the satisfaction of voting for someone to fight for a planet fit to live in, and fair do's for the working class.

But everywhere you can cast your vote against the Party favoured by the billionaire Rupert Murdoch, and others who do well for themselves in this country and expect their say in running it without even paying tax; and against the bankers ripping us off.

Take Goldman Sachs. As my fellow bloggers at The Source point out, the firm is being investigated for fraud in the United States, "and is heavily implicated in the complex derivatives trading which brought the global economy to the brink of collapse.

"The 'morally bankrupt' firm advised the former Greek government on how to hide Euro 1 billion debt which led to its almost bankruptsy - and is now making a few quid advising the current politicians on how to get out of the crisis".

Like the men from Lehman Brothers, brokers and former directors at Goldmans are putting their (or our?) money where Murdoch's mouth is, by making significant donations to the Tory party, nationally and locally.

"Richard Sharp was a leading director until 2006 has since that date donated £220,000 to the Tories nationally with thousands handed over in Kensington and Chelsea. Readers of The Sauce may remember Richard's sister Mrs Justice Sharp broke the signal workers strike - and his father privatised Cable and Wireless for Margaret Thatcher.

"Simon Robertson, a Goldman Sachs banker until 2005 has given £325,000 to the party in the last six years. Christopher French, head of wealth management, donated £50,000 in 2008. Huge Sloane and George Robinson make a packet from running the Slone Robinson hedge fund - including in partnership with Goldman - gave £317,000 and £150,000 to the Conservatives".

Whatever Tory spokesmen say (exploiting the confusion caused by Gordon Brown and Mandelson in sucking up to the super-rich), these bankers are not old-fashioned sentimental types giving big money to the Tories for tradition's sake. They expect a Tory government to look after them and provide opportunities for them to get even richer.

And guess at who's expense?

Putting a cross on a bit of paper won't change much. Whoever gets in, we have been promised cuts and more cuts. Britain is in at least as much debt as Greece, and many British people more indebted than anyone in Europe. Whoever gets in there's a struggle coming up. By voting against the Tories and bankers you are putting down your marker. First step in the struggle ahead.

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