Socialist Worker

Do the rich really expect us to stop being angry?

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 2289

Time to reach for the world’s smallest violin. Bankers and their Tory chums are feeling sorry for themselves.

An “anti-business” mood is being whipped up against them, apparently. Public anger at the super-rich is getting out of control.

This whinging follows last week’s decision to strip former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin of his knighthood. Stephen Hester, the bank’s current executive, was also cajoled into turning down a £1 million bonus.

This was all too much for Daily Telegraph’s Jeremy Warner. “The tone of the rhetoric is not just anti-banker, but anti-business, and anti everyone who earns beyond a certain level,” he wailed.

He added, surreally, that ministers were too busy “appeasing the Occupy movement” and wallowing in “deference to the rule of the mob”.

Behind these ludicrous pleas for sympathy lies a distinct sense of unease among Britain’s super-rich. They know the public is furious at their greed and arrogance. So they appeal to their politician friends for protection.

And the anger against them is set to rise this week when Barclays announces its profits. Its chief executive Bob Diamond is set to pocket £11 million.

His lieutenants, Jerry del Missier and the aptly named Rich Ricci, were awarded packages of £14 million each last year.

You’d think that even the Labour Party would manage to tap into a bit of righteous class anger here.

But with its usual timing, the party’s Blairite wing has piped up to warn against being carried away by “banker bashing”.

Defeated leadership contender David Miliband says that the party should be supporting the interests of big business against those of trade unions and working people.

And former home secretary Jacqui Smith used an article in Progress magazine to look back fondly on the days when New Labour ministers “toured the private dining rooms of the City”.

Most Labour voters find it offensive that politicians should go crawling to the bankers and spivs that caused the economic crisis.

Business and political elites need to know something—bashing is what you deserve, and bashing is what you’re going to get.

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Article information

Tue 7 Feb 2012, 18:06 GMT
Issue No. 2289
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