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Osborne’s ‘anti-business’ jibe at charities is a cover for eliminating dissent

George-Osborne-naked-263x300Osborne’s latest diatribe at an Institute of Directors meeting against the ‘anti-business views’ of charities, pressure groups and trade unions (he would no doubt include the churches too, but daren’t risk publicly attacking them) is yet another sign of this Tory government’s determination to suppress criticism and squeeze out dissent to ensure the paramountcy of the market beyond all other considerations. He appealed to company bosses to ‘put their head above the parapet’ to argue for ‘a country that is for business, for enterprise, for the free market’ – not for fairness, equal opportunity, public services, accountability of power, or social justice.

Osborne’s sole objective is to consolidate a fundamentalist market system, dominated of course by the extremely narrow elitist group he was addressing, with all other interests marginalised. It’s the same Tory allergy to criticism that has provoked Grayling’s demand to limit political and civil rights by abandoning the ECHR, Cameron’s demand to restrict strikes to a 50% voting threshold of all those eligible to vote (a requirement that would disqualify all MPs if applied to parliamentary elections), May’s demand to override privacy by snooping on the communications of all citizens, the disgraced Newmark’s insulting demand that charities ‘stick to their knitting’, among many other examples.

It’s not as though the business exaltation of the free market has exactly been a roaring success. It has brought the biggest financial crash for a century, the longest period of austerity since the 1870s, the doubling of national debt to £1.4 trillions, the rise in household debt to nearly £2 trillions, the biggest balance of payments deficit in traded goods in Britain’s history, a million people rendered dependent on food banks and a further million deprived of all income by sanctioning of benefits, an unemployment rate still stuck at over 6% (more than twice the post-war rate), and a rise in class and money inequality of Downton Abbey proportions. What’s not to like for the IOD directors?

But the most ugly aspect of Osborne’s paean to wealth and corporate power is the use of the ‘anti-business’ slur to try to gain untrammelled control for those who wield business power. The idea that the marketplace is a partnership between all the shared interests – the workforce and their trade unions, consumers, suppliers, communities – and not just a forum for maximizing the wealth and power of top executives doesn’t enter Osborne’s head. The idea that society embraces a whole range of different values and aspirations – charities, voluntary and community groups – which are every bit as important to people’s lives and to their happiness as business success doesn’t even occur to Osborne. Instead we are treated to an eerie reminder of Thatcher redux in her refrain against the ‘enemy within’.


  1. jeffrey davies says:

    anti-business views’ of charities yet this government have made the charitys a laighing stock by them trading in slaves market getting monies for their bodies yes they now say they aint doing enough to help hum isnt life strange when we new that man named jesus threw the money men out yet heart mind mary so amd so ok forgot but many charitys did take the stacking shelf slave only for that money how in all thats holy did they go down this road paul farmer give his job up because of this but calling themselves charitys they aint
    Osborne and carney rtu ids are all helping to cook the books hiding away the real figures this is all they done is criminal yet being taking down for it oh they have that get out of jail carf jeff3

  2. Ian says:

    Funny this is what Andy Haldane the Chief Economist of the Bank of England says about voluntary action:
    “However you cut this onion, it is clear that the value it creates is eye-watering.” (Economic, Private & Social Multiplier)
    “Whether seen from an economic or social perspective, volunteering is big business, with annual turnover well into three-figure billions. But it is a well-hidden jewel, whose social worth is rarely the subject of a public valuation.”

  3. Robert says:

    The One Nation ideology of both labour and the Tories both are fighting to keep the old One nation free market capitalism alive I cannot under stand why anyone would think labour have a different view.

    We are now going through a labour and Tory fight to keep the market alive and well, the ideology is that without capitalism then we would be in ruins.

    No difference between any of the parties actually the bank are good the banks must be saved.

    Labour attacked the Union because Progress ordered him to act and he did for god sake why should you attack the Tories for doing the same as labour have been doing, if uyou should Osborne up on this article you may as well stick balls up as well.

    The capitalist markets rule man, they always have.

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