What Tony Blair tells the Millionaires

originally posted 2004-12-29

Tony Blair was interviewed on St Valentine's Day this year by Richard C Morais of Forbes, a magazine which advertises itself with the slogan 'enjoy wealth!' Under the heading Prime Minister Blair Aims To Build Pro-Business Britain Blair uttered the words quoted below.

Before reading Blair's words, however, please remember that our prime minister presides over the European nation with the biggest gap between rich and poor, the highest proportion of its population in prison, and the highest rate of child poverty. Our nation also boasts the most dangerous rail network in Europe, a crumbling health service, the worst record on environmental issues, the most reactionary union legislation, a grotesquely xenophobic immigration policy, increasing inequality in educational opportunity, not to mention an agrobusiness sector to have spawned both BSE and foot-and-mouth disease. Things are set to get worse if New Labour is re-elected. Chancelor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Gordon Brown has stated that the National Health Service and our police force will be the only parts of public sector to be protected from the full horrors of the Holy Market: everything else is up for greedy grabs, including education (which in particular pisses the proprietor of this website off). Tony, however, is very proud of New Labour's record and promises worse to come...

Tony's words

  • In terms of business and corporation taxes, we've lowered them to the lowest levels they've ever been. Same with capital gains tax... We cut corporation tax. No Tory government ever cut capital gains tax.

  • Basically, the 1980s produced in the Thatcherite reforms of that period a more flexible labor market in the trade union reform, a commitment to enterprise that we have kept...

  • Over the coming few years, corporation tax revenues as a percentage of national income will fall. We have actually cut corporation tax to its lowest level ever... We instituted a big cut in capital gains tax which has come down from 40% — if you hold the assets for four years — down to 10%, staggered in between.

  • If you look at the Arthur Andersen report that came out last week, we get about the top marks anywhere in Europe on flexibility and regulation... I have made it quite clear that we will retain a flexible labor market here, and it is.

  • My ambition is for Britain to be the best place for business in the world and in Europe in particular. I think for Europe and for Britain it is important we use this time to push forward measures of liberalisation within Europe.

  • We have played a part of reorienting the whole of the economic agenda around economic reform in Europe.... At an international level we push ahead on the WTO, which I think is vitally important. I am a huge believer in the importance of free trade and breaking down trade barriers.

  • We are arguing, amongst other things, for increased liberalisation in public utilities and for a capital market across Europe.

  • I believe Britain's role is to be America's key friend in Europe... We should be stronger with [the] U.S. and stronger with Europe. We are no use to America as an ally if we have no influence in Europe.

  • America is our absolutely crucial ally. We will always have a strong and deep relationship with the U.S. The initial contacts with the Bush Administration have all been very positive in that respect. I have no doubt we will work together at the international level on both economic issues and on security and foreign policy issues in the way that we've worked with them over the past few decades.

  • It's about creating the right enterprise culture in Britain, which we still haven't driven all the way down in our country, by any means at all. I want to see far more emphasis on entrepreneurship in schools, far closer links between universities and business, I want to see us develop a far greater entrepreneurial culture. We have only just gone beneath the surface of this so far.

  • We've reduced enormously the number of benefit claimants. We've introduced tough measures on welfare reform. You know, you lose your benefit if you're not taking the training and job opportunities. So there is a whole series of measures we're putting through, and it's vital we'll carry that on. There's performance-related pay for teachers. There's the whole reorganization of our health system going on, there is a big agenda there for a second term.

If you think "Free Choice" means choosing between Coca Cola and Pepsi, Republicans and Democrats, Nike and Gap, Gore and Bush, Westlife and Boyzone, The Guardian and The Telegraph, Blair and Haig, Top Shop and Next, New Labour and Liberal Democrats, Tesco and Asda, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Tory and New Labour, etc., then you might as well vote for any of the usual mob running in the UK General Election. If you think free choice goes a bit further than what the Holy Market has to offer, then try one of the following alternatives (in recommended order):

  1. Vote for the Socialist Alliance (in England and Wales) or for the Scottish Socialist Party;
  2. Vote for the Green Party;
  3. Go to your local polling station and write "None of these represents my views" on your ballot paper. Returning Officers must report "spoiled ballots". If you can't even be bothered to do that, then you will have given the spin doctors and conventional politicians the go-ahead to use "voter apathy" as an excuse for implementing dangerous policies.

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