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"Why aren’t the middle classes revolting?" - The phones3U scandal and the UK telegraph's "road to damascus" conversion

category international | anti-capitalism | other press author Saturday September 27, 2014 19:04author by fred Report this post to the editors

The Phones4U scandal has a serious lesson for us all
about how completely amoral capitalism has become
and how at risk we all are from it's predations.
phones4u.gif

The Phones4U scandal has a serious lesson for us all
about how completely amoral capitalism has become
and how at risk we all are from it's predations.

Many of us have been shrieking about this for years
in true Cassandra fashion but we were laughed at and told to go commit suicide or live in North Korea amongst other witty epithets by dyed-in-the wool capitalists.

However when the right wing daily telegraph comes out with a headline like this:
Why aren't the British middle-classes staging a revolution?
Then even hardened capitalists have to finally sit up and take note.

For those of you not familiar with what went down with Phones4U here's a quote:

Why aren’t the middle classes revolting?

Words you probably never thought you’d read in the Telegraph. Words which, as a Gladstonian Liberal, I never thought I’d write. But seriously, why aren’t we seeing scenes reminiscent of Paris in 1968? Moscow in 1917? Boston in 1773?

My current fury is occasioned the Phones4U scandal (and it really is a scandal).

Phones4U was bought by the private equity house, BC Partners, in 2011 for £200m. BC then borrowed £205m and, having saddled the company with vast amounts of debt, paid themselves a dividend of £223m. Crippled by debt, the company has now collapsed into administration.

The people who crippled it have walked away with nearly £20m million, while 5,600 people face losing their jobs. The taxman may also be stiffed on £90m in unpaid VAT and PAYE. It’s like a version of 1987’s Wall Street on steroids, the difference being that Gordon Gecko wins at the end and everyone shrugs and says, “Well, it’s not ideal, but really we need guys like him.”

I’m not financially sophisticated enough to understand the labyrinthine ins and outs of private equity deals. But I don’t think I need to be. Here, my relative ignorance is actually a plus. You took a viable company, ran up ridiculous levels of debt, paid yourselves millions and then walked away, leaving unemployment and unpaid tax bills in your wake. What’s to understand? We should be calling for your heads on a plate.


Now this is from Alex Proud, a right wing UK telegraph journalist and oft defender of the status quo, and not some pinko anarchist radical. Proud even goes further and confesses that "plenty of us" may have been "useful idiots":

if there’s a buck to made jacking up your mortgage, or asset-stripping the company you work for, privatising some local service you rely on or selling a publicly-owned amenity you enjoy, they won’t think twice. In fact, they won’t even think once. If they could figure out a way to sell your body from under you, they would. Then they’d get some business school shill to write an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about how this was inevitable – and how, really, you should be grateful.

If I were a member of the working classes who’d been laid off in the '80s or '90s, I might be laughing at the middle classes right now. Because we’ve duped and screwed by the elite just as the lower orders were. The only differences are that, with us, the con was longer, and in many places we played an active part in our downfall; plenty of us were “useful idiots.”


What can those in control of the Irish economy learn from this. These "financial locusts" will buy up, debt load and sink any vulnerable businesses that they can get their hands on. They will grab up any utility put up for privatisation such as (potentially) parts of the ESB and Irish water, destroy it for their own gain, leaving joblessness and sociialised debt in their wake. And they also love buying up big lots of cheap property, losses on which have been socialised to taxpayers, which they can pay for with 0% interest money printed for them in QE programs by compliant governments, which they can then sell back to those very same citizens at inflated prices in yet another property bubble.

Or for that matter thousands of packaged mortgages. Example here:
The Government is about to throw 13,000 Irish families to the vultures.- Stephen Donnelly

More from Alex Proud:
We thought the elite had our interests at heart. The 0.1% must have found this pretty cute. They knew the truth. We weren’t their pals, we were just at the end of the line for the financial blood-letting.

We had plenty of other distractions too. Booming house prices meant we felt rich while our incomes stagnated. Ditto easy credit and cheap consumer goods.

And the super-rich are much cleverer than they once were. No longer are they Mr Burns types. Rather, they have an army of people doing PR for them in various guises. Perhaps you’re one of them. For years there have been plenty of well-paying middle class jobs, helping the rich asset strip the world while pretending this is for everyone’s benefit.

The reckoning has been a long time coming too. And even now, when we can see the swarm of financial locusts on the horizon, the sun is still shining and we can still (just about) afford the nanny. But for how much longer? The locusts are already well into the middle middle classes – you know, those poor schmucks who make, say, 40K a year. They may not have reached you yet, in your tastefully decorated detached Victorian house, but they will.


Is this the point where those on the right who support the failed ideology of neoliberalism realise that they have been had and that they are on the menu too.

Is it finally time now to begin the process of remoulding our morally bankrupt capitalist society into something more humane where the needs of the people outweigh the profit motive of financial locusts?

Full Article here:
Why aren't the British middle-classes staging a revolution? - Telegraph

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