Steeling a living in the name of freedom

We are ruled by the worst kind of ideologues; the type happy to enforce their Free Market dogma undiluted upon those deemed deserving of the full lash while blithely sparing a select few from its wilder excesses.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 4th April 2016, 9:33 am
Updated Monday, 4th April 2016, 9:36 am
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman

The market can NEVER be bucked! Except when it suits the Cult of Thatcher to do so.

Thus it came to pass, for example, that the keepers of her cold blue flame – from Lab to Con to Lib – poured public billions into Britain’s banking sector when it gambled itself and the whole economy to the brink of ruin. Nationalised, in all but name. More or less a total reverse on everything every government since 1979 has spouted by way of politics.

Not for keeps though. Just long enough for us to bear the full brunt of the mayhem and now – as the banks dribble back into private hands – to accept a loss on our ‘investment’ (as sold at the time) likely to run into billions.

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Not, of course, that the bailout was a bad idea. Indeed, had stricter regulation, proper punishment for reckless ‘players’ and a desire not to gift away our stake to pals in the City been part of the package you’d struggle to find a bad word to say about it. As things stand, however, history will likely judge it as the greatest theft from the common weald since the Acts of Enclosure; not least because the raid has also been used as the grounds to dismantle civil society.

Steel, however, is unlikely to receive anything by way of a hand-out or hand-up, just a clenched fist in the puss. By Friday it was clear not only that nationalisation in any form was far beyond the pale, but also that the UK government has long used Free Market doctrine as a tool to thwart EU efforts to stop China dumping all over the beleaguered industry.

European attempts to protect their steel workers from China’s state-sponsored destruction of global rivals have been fought by Britain for three years, and with renewed vigour since the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in October.

This, even as it emerged China has imposed hefty tariffs on EU hi-tech steel of exactly the kind Cameron and co have successfully thwarted. Untold thousands of hard working British citizens energetically betrayed by people paid to work on their behalf. This market they call free appears to have cost them their souls.