By John Newsinger
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Johnson’s useful idiot

This article is over 2 years, 2 months old
Issue 451

Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, regularly makes reference to his father having been a bus driver, and inevitably this has figured in half-hearted attempts to proclaim the Tories as the new champions of the British working class.

Of course, his father was only briefly a bus driver before opening a shop, but regardless of that Javid can much more accurately be described as an ultra-Thatcherite multi-millionaire international banker. He is reportedly worth £8 million — hardly a man of the people!

In the early 1990s he worked for Chase Manhatten Bank in the US, where he eventually became a vice-president. During this period, he was also an aide to Rudy Giuliani, now Donald Trump’s attorney.

From Chase Manhatten he moved to the Deutsche Bank, where he became a managing director, earning at the end of his time there a modest £3 million a year.

Deutsche Bank was one of the largest banks in the world and was deeply implicated in the scandals that precipitated the 2008 crash. So much so that in 2017 it was fined $7.2 billion in the US for its part in the sale of toxic mortgage securities.

As John McDonnell has pointed out, Javid’s role in alleged tax avoidance and the selling of collateralised debt obligations at Deutsche Bank would normally have barred him from the chancellorship.

Having made a fortune in international banking, Javid determined to enter politics. He had long been an admirer of Ayn Rand — a favourite philosopher of the free markets — although he has more recently tried to play down this particular commitment. Instead of identifying with the US neoconservative right, he has been concerned to highlight his Thatcherite credentials instead. And with considerable success: he has been culture secretary, business secretary, home secretary and is now chancellor in the most right wing government since 1945.

How has Javid achieved this rise in a Conservative Party riddled with Islamophobia? It has involved a continual existential embarrassment, having to routinely ignore this aspect of Conservative Party politics for the sake of his political advancement.

Obviously, it has, of course, been helped by the fact that his only concerns are with money and power, subordinating everything else to that. He has even made clear his support for immigration rules that would have kept his own family out of the country!

Another way in which he has tried to portray himself as a sort of non-Muslim Muslim is by his staunch support for Zionism. He is a strong supporter of the Conservative Friends of Israel to which some 80 percent of Tory MPs belong.

When he was culture secretary he threatened to cut government funding for cultural institutions that supported the boycott campaign and as home secretary he promised closer ties with Israel.

Even so, he has had to put up with continual humiliations and snubs. Unprecedentedly for a home secretary, he was not invited to Trump’s state banquet during his visit to the country; he had a key aide sacked by Dominic Cummings and escorted from his offices by armed police without even being informed let alone consulted; and Cummings is dictating economic policy with a view to the forthcoming general election with Javid having no real say.

Indeed, he has found that all his careerism has resulted in is him having the role of a “useful idiot” in Johnson’s government. He is indeed a total banker.


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