Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The CBI's Plan For Scottish Industry - On Your Knees And Beg, Peasants

So previously, we had a little chat about Diageo's brilliant scheme for turning hundreds of their employees' livelihoods into pure-spun gold for their shareholders, but for those who don't fancy trawling through that post, here's a recap...

- Johnnie Walker whisky has been produced in Kilmarnock since 1820, and the factory employs seven hundred people in the town. It's consistently produced a healthy profit. This used to be come under the general umbrella term "industry".

- That's not good enough for Diageo though, who intend to close the factory and build luxury flats on the site, or "maximise their earning potential". They'll employ four hundred more people in Fife, but I'll wager they'll demand twice the graft for two thirds of the pay. This is called "increasing productivity".

- Diageo have agreed to hold off on this until they've looked at a government-backed plan to save the site. Basically, if the plan involves the taxpayer paying Diageo several million pounds, they'll be willing to reconsider. This is called "extortion", and it mirrors similar phenomena in America where firms regularly demand payoffs to stop them shipping jobs to China. The jobs are going to China sooner or later, but a megabucks payoff ensures it's later, i.e. after the politicians who agree the deal have left office.

I can't think of a better metaphor for the last thirty years of UK fuckyounomic policy than Diageo sinking their vampire fangs into the town of Kilmarnock, sucking every penny out of the place and then spitting thick wads of hard cash into the bank accounts of people who haven't lifted a finger to earn it. This is what I like to call "a massive transfer of wealth from low-income families to the very, very wealthy", or "cutting-edge business practice".

Now, I can deal with this kind of vicious economic gangsterism, since it's been the norm my entire life. What I can't deal with is the kind of obfuscatory nu-speak bullshit above.

See, if every Prime Minister since Thatcher had been elected on a platform of promises to put a massive percentage of the populace in direct competition for employment with Chinese slaves, I'd respect their democratic right to do so.

I could get with the program if Tom Friedman's leg-humping, panegyric tomes were titled You Just Paid Me To Lie To Your Face! and You're Fucked Because My Wife Needs Another Learjet.

And I could just about cope if the Centre for British Industry restricted itself to calling the people of Kilmarnock and Glasgow peasants, then ordering them to shut their insolent mouths, get on their knees and beg their mighty overlords for leniency. That would be infinitely preferable to their habit of issuing press releases warning threatened workers to keep quiet and take their imminent redundancy like men, lest they scare off the ever-skittish collossi of international investment.

Hell, I came into this world as clueless as I'm going to leave it, and I hold out no hope for the likes of Diageo's execs being whipped through the streets. I'd settle for a little more honesty and just a little less self-serving gibberish designed to disguise vice as virtue.

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